Vestpillaren Direct Top 50

3 Stars

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(The West Pillar Direct) Although long called Vestpillaren this popular and brilliant climb only includes four pitches of the original line - see historical details on page 160 - but has become Lofoten's 'must-do' route, and it is worth the effort involved. The normal ascent time is 6 to 8 hours, although an efficient team can do it in less. Begin about 20m to the left of a steep water-washed gully filled with grass and some loose blocks, up the central one of three shallow corners.<br/>Photos on cover and pages 165, 172 and 181.<br/>1) N5+, 45m. Climb up a right-slanting groove for 15m, then traverse left 10m across an easy ledge to a nice crack which leads to a small ledge with a chain to the right.<br/>2) N6-, 40m. Start up a small groove, followed by more broken ground leading to a flake/block on the left. Climb this, then make a hard move up into a thin finger-crack which leads to easier climbing up a crack to a fixed belay.<br/>3) N6, 50m. Climb straight up the narrow groove (hard but safe) by thin finger-jamming and laybacking. At its top, head left up a diagonal ramp which leads to a fixed belay and small stance.<br/>4) N5-, 20m. Head up a short wall and groove then easy slabs to a fixed belay on the right edge of Storhylla - the last fixed gear. <br/>5) N4, 20m. Move right across the ledge, climb cracks up the right side of the huge block to a belay on its top.<br/>6) N6-, 45m. Climb straight up thin cracks/grooves to a good ledge, then traverse 20m left (some rope drag and loose rock) to a belay on a higher ledge below a superb looking groove.<br/>7) N6, 45m. Difficult moves lead up the groove. Follow the flake until it becomes a thin crack, then step left into a parallel crack system. Climb up the sustained crack into a left-facing groove and take a semi-hanging belay above a bulge in the corner.<br/>8) N5+, 40m. Continue laybacking up the groove then head right up an easier slabby groove and belay on either of two ledges at the base of the 'Slanting Corner'.<br/>9) N6, 40m. Layback and jam the right-leaning groove (sustained and awkward, especially with a sack on), to a tiny ledge. Continue up left then back right (or up the thin vertical crack on the right - harder) and belay up right at a block.<br/>10) N4+, 30m. Climb up and left across ledges to a large loose flake jammed in a groove. Climb carefully up and right past the flake, then continue left up a chimney groove to reach a small belay ledge with several blocks.<br/>11) N5, 35m. Follow the open groove up and right to its top, then move down and right for several metres, before traversing horizontally right. Make delicate moves around right into the grassy exit gully. <br/>12) N3, 55m. Scramble up the grassy gully to the top.
FA. Twelve days after doing the Westpillar Original, Arild returned with Finn Tore Bjørnstad and made the first ascent of the Normal avslutning (Normal Exit) 30.6.1978. The Slanting Corner pitch was first climbed by Helge Stokstad and Harald Henden in 1982. Arild and Finn Tore Bjørnstad did the Direct Start used here "sometime in the 1980s'.


Truly a world classic. Perfect rock and lovely moves on most pitches. Pitches 7+9 are the crux ones, 7 is harder technically, but 9 is much more sustained.
Chad Harrison - 12/Mar/08

Absolutely agree with Chad - a world classic with superb positions and beautiful surroundings. Love it!
Heike - 12/Mar/08

Must be one of the best E2 5bs, anywhere ! sustained, varied and comitting. We managed to get it the day before the weather really cleared, but the following day the route was mobbed - be warned ! Don't forget your trainers - its a long walk off.
GrahamD - 12/Mar/08

As Graham (with whom I did the route) says, it's got to be one of the best climbs anywhere of that grade.
C.E. Moreton - 12/Mar/08

Truly great - ticking this thing was a dream fulfilled two years after first seeing the route in profile in the midnight sun from the ferry. Lovely continuous climbing, often interesting but never excessively hard. Non-beardy climbers may find the descent to be the crux ...
tobyfk - 13/Mar/08

Hmm, I am not that beardy, but didn't find the descent a problem. It's a walk, if a longish one. Even got a nice swim in on the way down in the old reservoir.
Heike - 29/May/08

Unlike other Lofoten routes at this grade, I found this one to have continuously good climbing, pitch after pitch. I thought the traversing on pitch 11 was a little bold.

To get the route to yourself, In Henningsvaer, watch the hour-by-hour forecast and wait for a day with crappy weather in the morning and sun in the afternoon. Head to the cliff while it's still cloudy & rainy and start up.
Jim - 17/Jul/10

A great route, some beautiful sustained pitches but there are also a number grotty pitches(i.e 4,5,6,10,12) linking the quality features. Some sort of hybrid with other routes would probably be better. Pitches 4 and 5 are easily combined with 60m ropes.
Richard Gaches - 25/Jul/11

Diagree with Richard. Pitches 4,5,6,and 10 are actually quite good especially pitch 6 which would get 3 stars anywhere else. Route finishes after pitch 11 so number 12 is just the walk to the top.
Pitch 7 is by far the crux with pitch 9 being the easiest of the grade 6 pitches and is more like 6-
Conan Harrod - 26/Jul/11

Maybe good to know that the hard sections are always short and well protected. Only the last pitch can be really nasty if you have to climb it in the rain.
Compared to alpine climbs with this dimensions, the descent is a piece of cake.
Urs Odermatt - 29/May/12

Perfection - wonderful, sustained climbing all the way with only a few short tricky sections, all perfectly protected. Amazed that anyone could think pitch 6 (that beautiful blank groove) was grotty, although it pales in comparison to the run of pitches above it. Descent is fine and the views out over Henningsvaer more than compensate for any discomfort.
Andy Hobson - 13/Jul/12

Just repeated this route (last did it 15 years ago) and found pitch 3 (on the direct start) and pitch 7 the hardest. Slanting Corner (pitch 9) felt distinctly easier thanks to the good slab footholds on the right and generally a good edge in the crack to undercling/layback - though you do have to commit to getting to the next foot- and handholds. Wouldn't like to do pitch 11 in the rain (we almost had to...)
Rick McGregor - 06/Aug/13

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