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Rundtinden, South Face, Stay Cool

In 2009 I climbed new routes in Lofoten (see AAJ 2010) and promised to return to Norway the following year. We did, but unfortunately this time we experienced really bad weather, with long periods of rain. Even when the weather improved for a couple of days, the big walls remained desperately wet. We had to amuse ourselves fishing, trekking, kayaking, and scoping new lines.

My younger brother Ondrej and I spent a whole month in the wonderful landscape of northern Norway and finally, on one sunny day, July 1, were rewarded with the opportunity to climb the first ascent of Rundtinden’s south face. This 798m peak is located between Tysfjord and Efjord in Nordland, on the mainland southeast of Lofoten. It forms the east side of a broad massif (with Breidskartinden to the west) and looks like a needle when viewed from the east. The area is surprisingly deserted despite being close to the main E6 highway. Our route is the first on the true south face and possibly the only one climb- able without bolts—our most important consideration when climbing in Norway. The southeast ridge was climbed in 1978 (six pitches, 5+, Soderin-Sundberg).

In common with our other new routes in Norway, this line was extremely compact and slabby, and even after studying with binoculars we were uncertain we could climb it without bolts. We encountered huge monolithic slabs of solid but almost protectionless rock. The crux sections of 6+ and 6+/7- were protected by single pitons, often less than perfectly placed. Runouts above were more than six meters. Most of the easier pitches afforded only two or three points of protection in a full 50m. Therefore, the ascent was more demanding mentally than physically, and discovering a way through the vertical wall on pitch 9 (the crux) was a small miracle. However, all the crux sections appear to be more difficult than they are, so… Stay Cool (450m, 10 pitches, 6+/7-). It is a bold climb and requires a committed party, but offers much fine friction climbing. Pitches 8-10 have some vegetation.

We had a great time in Norway, and it’s highly likely we’ll return to the wild and (from a climber’s perspective) unexplored Nordland.

Jiri Svihalek, Czech Republic