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Europe, Norway, Romsdal, Trollvegen (Troll Wall), Suser Gjunnom Harryland, First Quasi-Winter and Third Overall Ascent

Trollvegen (Troll Wall), Suser gjennom Harryland, first quasi-winter and third overall ascent. Rolf Bae, Sigurd Felde, Trym A. Sæland, and I wanted to try a winter ascent of the Franskeruta on the Troll Wall, but poor weather and resulting avalanche danger made this impossible. Instead we opted for Suser gjennom Harryland, which is steep, with compact rock, and lies on the far left side of the wall. Except for a couple of pitches, where the rock is poor, this is probably the safest climb on Trollvegen. Suser gjennom Harryland (18 pitches, Norwegian 6 and A3, Hagen- Ostbo, 1996) ends about half way up the east pillar of Trollvegen, and unlike other routes on the wall, where you walk down from the summit, it has a rappel descent. This is significant in winter, as the roads are closed. However, the route has quite a few traverses on overhanging rock, and to facilitate our descent we brought 6mm rope to fix on the two overhanging sections that involved the most traversing. We were also able to link pitches on the topo, for example rappelling from pitch 12 to 10.

We spent 11 days on the climb from March 15-25, 2007 with portaledge camps at the start of pitches six and eleven. The most difficult pitches involved largely sky- and bat-hooking, which was sometimes hard due to snow/ice on the rock. We also had to deal with poor visibility, due to spindrift and bad weather. In fact, the weather was poor at first, and we had to stay one whole day inside our ledges. However, despite snow, spindrift, and wind, we kept climbing, and for the second half of the climb the weather was good. We estimated temperatures to be between -5 and -10°C the whole time.

Activity on Trollvegen is limited these days, due to rockfall. In the summer of 2006 three teams (including Trym and I) climbed the Swedish route and a Russian team is thought to have climbed the French route.

Sigurd Backe, Norway