Blokktinden, Northwest Face, Entropi

Norway, Tjongsfjord
Author: Juho Knuuttila. Climb Year: 2022. Publication Year: 2023.

image_2A few years ago, looking at maps, I found a mountain called Blokktinden (1,035m) on the shore of Tjongsfjord. Initially I thought the steep northwest face would be a cool summer objective, but after seeing photos showing a black, wet stripe running down the face, I realized there could be some ice in winter.

I was living in Narvik for the winter, and one of the locals near Tjongsfjord was kind enough to send updates on Blokktinden, as she could see the face from her home. Conditions seemed to get better week after week, and in early March, it was time to give it a go before spring temps melted it. Eivind Jacobsen, a strong skier and climber based in Bodø, was keen to join me. In the evening of March 3, I drove five hours southwest to Bodø to pick up Eivind, and then we continued another three hours south to the village of Tjong, close to the mountain. We spent a restless night.

Next morning, after a two-hour approach, we stood at the base of the face, approximately 350m above sea level. The ice on our line looked much thinner than we’d hoped. To reach the ice, we climbed a ramp system with enjoyable turf climbing for three long pitches. Lots of spindrift was coming down the face.

Once at the ice, we thought about bailing. A vertical section of delaminated ice looked impossible to climb. I climbed higher, though, to see if I could find a weakness, and discovered a very steep, slanting feature of turf and sloping rock, which took me three tries to commit. I downclimbed each time to gather myself, as the protection was horrible. I climbed barehanded, using some crimps, and then turf for my tools.

I felt exhausted at the belay but didn’t have much time to recover for the next pitch of vertical 5cm-thick ice. The temperature was above 0°C, luckily, which made the ice softer. In colder weather, it would have been too dangerous. After an easy pitch, I led a crack that I also climbed barehanded, throwing in hand and finger jams, and still wearing crampons. I eventually changed to dry-tooling and did a wild reach back to the ice.

Pitch eight climbed a 65m vertical ice vein through the headwall. Now it was possible to place screws! Above, the last two pitches of grade 5 ice felt more relaxed after so much tricky climbing.

About 250m of snow led to the summit. The conditions were safe for simul-soloing until the top, but once there the wind was so strong it was hard to stand. Downclimbing the south ridge was very slow in the poor visibility; we needed to check the GPS constantly. We reached the car after 16 and half hours on the move. It was already raining—our weather window had come to its end. We named the line Entropi (685m, WI5+ M6 Norwegian 5 R) and didn ́t leave any gear behind.

— Juho Knuuttila, Finland

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