Kvaloya Island, Blamannen, Frost. From February 21-26, 2007 Anne Grete Nebell and I climbed a new route on the north face of Blamannen, near Tromso. The face is steep, with a big-wall feel, though it is no more than 400m high. We spent six days climbing the nine-pitch route, during mostly beautiful but cold winter weather. The grade is M5 A3.
Our route, Frost, lies immediately right of our 1998 summer line Pishtaco (eight pitches, A2 and Norwegian 6); it is the route farthest right on the wall.
The first five-and-a-half pitches required aid, on mostly excellent rock. The climbing was interesting, with discontinuous icy cracks, though reasonably well protected. We spent time linking features but did so with minimal drilling: a bat-hook move past a dangerous flake and a bolt at the belay, both on the first pitch. The last three-and-a-half pitches ascend less steep terrain, and we climbed them largely free. However, they proved the scariest part of the route. The final 50m or so coincides with Pishtaco.
We camped at the base of the wall while we fixed the first two pitches and then climbed capsule-style. We estimated the temperature to be -15°C, which feels pretty cold so close to the sea. Even at this time of year the days are long enough in northern Norway that it is possible to climb from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Bjarte BØ, Norway