American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Moskenesøya, Various New Routes

Norway, Lofoten

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Author: Whitney Clark
  • Climb Year: N/A
  • Publication Year: 2018

Catalan climbers Guille Cuadrado, Gerber Cucurell, Jordi Esteve, Pau Gómez, and Felix Queipo established multiple new routes in the Lofoten Islands in the late spring and summer of 2016 and 2017. The team completed all routes in alpine style and followed a strict ethic of no bolts, pins, fixed ropes, or portaledges.

In June 2016, on the west coast of the island of Moskenesøya, Cuadrado, Esteve and Gomez made the first ascent of the east shoulder (Point 551m) of Storskiva. The climbers followed obvious crack and corner systems up to 6- (5.10a) until they were forced into a rightward traverse under a roof before continuing up the wall. They descended to the southeast along a ridge. [One year later, Elise Crison, Adrien Gilbert, and Jonathan Crison from France climbed a nearly identical line, thinking it was a first ascent. They climbed 13 pitches and rated their route Norwegian 6 or F6a+.] The Catalans also climbed two 400–450m new routes on the south face of Marklitinden, near Kirkefjorden. Details of the routes are at Escaladatradicional.com.

In May 2017, Cuadrado, Cucurell, and Esteve returned to Lofoten and attempted the possibly unclimbed southeast face of Moltbaertinden, also above Kirkefjorden. Connecting features up seemingly blank slabs, they encountered an eight-meter vertical step halfway up the wall, which they were unable to protect clean. Above the slab, they could see a crack system, but rather than use bolts, they decided to rappel in hopes of returning stronger—mentally and physically—for a future attempt in clean style.

A few weeks later, the trio established a difficult new route on Merraflestinden. This peak overlooks the northwest side of Kirkefjorden, and at the time they believed it had only two routes: Kor e Hammaren Edvard and Borr i Bekkmortna (both by Storvik-Tetlie, 2002). The Catalans’ new route, Syv Veggen (480m, 7+), follows a crack system for most of its 11 pitches, including a 30m 5.11d offwidth that they climbed without any wide gear. (A number 6 cam would be required for future parties wanting to protect this pitch.) The route has a few other sections of bold climbing, surmounting roofs and on slabs with sparse pro. The last two pitches follow easy but delicate ramps covered in moss to reach the flat-topped summit.

Cuadrado and Esteve also climbed the “North Dihedral” [450m, 7 (5.11) A1] on Moltbaertinden but are uncertain if it was a first ascent—they found a fixed piton halfway up the wall.

– Whitney Clark, with information from Gerber Cucurell, Catalonia

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