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Gloppedalen, South Face, Civil Twilight

There are climbers, and there are climbers. The climber, Johannes, who has honed his skills doing several serious solo climbs on Blamannen, is struggling midway to the great roof on the south face of Gloppedalen. Your humble narrator—the climber—who has lately spent too many hours on his laptop, is munching a chocolate bar 15m away. Johannes stops exhausted, biceps bulging from continuous maximal reaches, and digs out his first aid kit to get some power gel. It occurs to me that I’ll have to bag this pitch as well, it being too steep to clean while jumaring.

I ended up in this miserable situation because of the wettest July in Rogaland in 25 years (this says something) and exceptional routefinding skills of my friend Johannes Karkkainen. The rain wrecked plans for multipitch free-climbing, so we drove between cliffs depicted in Klatring I Rogaland, looking for a dry valley. Eventually, in the parking lot of the mighty Gloppedalsura, Johannes dug out the ancient telescope that once belonged to his girlfriend’s grandfather, and became obsessive about a potential aid route that would pierce the impressive, complex roof system of Gloppedalen south face.

Johannes negotiated the roof, while I hunched on the haulbag, shivering in soaked clothing. Following, I wasted a lot of energy trying to free a stuck Camalot but made it to the edge of the roof easier than expected. From there it was another 30 minutes of struggle with jumars stuck in a deep, narrow crack. We set up the portaledge and collapsed into a well-deserved but broken sleep. It was not the remaining part of the route that kept me awake but the thought of descending with a 40kg sack. The traditional descent involves scrambling down a notoriously slippery slope and finding a tree from which to rappel the last 100m. This, I quickly realized, was not an option, but luckily, after a phone call, a local contact came to our assistance. And before reaching the parking lot, we had to cross the god-forsaken boulder conundrum that probably still hoards the corpses of German soldiers from WWII. Weeks later, as I went climbing back home, I found my rock shoes full of lichen, a reminder that the last two pitches involved more bushwhacking and blueberry eating than climbing.

While the most memorable section was aiding across the big roof, it is at the start of the aid-climbing, where the line deviates from all-free route, Nr. 1, that the technical crux is found. Here a series of thin cracks requires precarious placements (A3) and a pendulum from dubious gear. Above, the next pitch (C1) could be free-climbed when dry.

We called our route Civil Twilight (A3, 11 pitches). It shares its first three pitches with Nr. 1; the last four are easy free-climbing. The rest are generally A2-A3. The route name refers to the time of day when the sun has set, but civil servants are still able to work. It kept appearing in the weather forecasts we checked several times each day, hoping that a dry summer might be on its way.

Juha Evokari, Finland

Editor’s note: there are 10 routes on the south face of Gloppedalan. After climbing the first three pitches of Nr. 1 (6+, 400m, Bjorgen-Price, 1995), Civil Twilight moves right to finish between Slipset (6+ A3, 425m, Basen-Bjorgen, 1993) and Reisen til Ixtalan (7, 425m, Diesen-Ormseth, 1993).