American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Europe, Norway, Tromso Region, Kvaloya Island, Blamann, Ultima Thule, First Free Ascent

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 2009

Blamann, Ultima Thule, first free ascent. After my previous ascent of Ultima Thule, I had an urge to free it. When Oscar Alexandersson and I stood at the base of the wall in showery weather and a temperature of 4°C, we realized our attempt might end in failure. However, the crux is the first pitch, and the wall is so steep that it is protected from rain. So we decided to start anyway and sort it out. We climbed the crux on our first attempt, benefiting from a strong updraft, which we surfed for the rest of the climb.

On the second pitch we climbed a 10m variation left of the “Nose,” instead of bypassing it on the right. We both climbed every pitch free, using a small haulbag that the leader pulled up using a Tibloc while belaying the second. Because the last pitch was seeping, we rested one hour on the ledge below. The climb took 20 hours car- to-car. It will likely go faster when dry. This proved to be one of my best climbing experiences, because we were surprised by the relative dryness of the rock and our eventual success. The individual pitch grades are as follows: 8; 7-; 7+/8-; 8-; 8-; and 7-. These are Norwegian grades that roughly translate to 5.12c, 5.11b, 5.12a, 5.12b, 5.12b and 5.11b.

BjøRN Eivind Årtun, Norway (translated by Marten Blixt)

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