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The Great Pillar) A Lofoten classic - long remote and serious, though less so on all counts, than the routes to the left. The route received its long overdue first free ascent in 2001, though it is still normally done with some aid (6- A1) where needed. Start on the grassy shoulder under the right-hand side of the pillar at a conspicuous groove. The route is best done when completely dry, as the normal top section involves an unprotected slab which would be near impossible when wet, though this can be avoided by some grunge climbing. Carry 2 sets of cams and a full set of wires including micro wires.
1) 5, 45m. Climb up the corner/groove, then up a slab to a belay on the right side of a huge block.
2) 6-, 30m. Move left and down, traversing back up until you reach a stance at the right-hand edge of a ledge at the base of a left-facing groove.
3) 7-, 40m. Move left into the base of the groove (old stance in the base of the chimney on the left). The groove is hard to start then good climbing leads to the top of the corner. Climb the left-hand of two cracks up to a narrow ledge (possible stance). Continue up a short hard groove and the continuation crack system (some loose rock) to the ledge of Storhylla.
4) 7, 40m. Climb the tough diagonal jamming crack into the big groove and continue up a chimney to a tiny ledge. The main corner - the original line - can be climbed at 6- A1.
5) 6, 20m. Start up a wide crack to a ledge, then climb the prominent left-facing corner to a sloping ledge.
6) 7-, 35m. Climb the big chimney, then move up a narrow right-trending ramp to a good belay ledge.
7) 6+, 20m. The sustained left-facing corner leads out under a roof, then up to a stance in a niche.
8) 6-, 40m. Continue up the steep face left of the stance - tricky to protect and to find the easiest line.
9) 5, 55m. Head straight up the face, following the easiest line, then follow an easier groove back to the right to a stance.
10) 5, 50m. Move right into a crack which is just to the left of the a large groove. Continue up broken ground (poor protection) then traverse right for 30m to a stance.
11) 4, 45m. Climb up and right to the groove/gully. At its top, move left around an arete onto the left side of the ridge and climb the face up and to the right to a huge flat ledge.
12) 4, 50m. An easy pitch (BIG loose blocks) up the right side of the ridge leads to a ledge 15m below the top of the ridge. Climb up and left to gain the ridge crest.
13) 3, 40m. Follow the ridge up then down, to a fixed belay.
14) 30m. Abseil then down climb another 20m to reach a gap and bolt belays.
15) 6-, 35m. Climb cracks to a tiny ledge (old peg) then move left onto a blank slab (poor nuts). Now move right and layback an arete (bold) to a ledge with many loose blocks.
16) 5, 45m. Climb around the left side of a pinnacle onto steep grass with loose blocks - from here up is the only way out. Make a hard move at the end onto the flat ridge above, and relief!
15 and 16 alternative) 5. The final two pitches can be avoided by abseiling 20m down to the right and doing two pitches of 'mungy' grade 5 to reach the crest. This is less good than the normal route, but at least it is a fair bit easier.
FA. Arild Meyer, Kjell Skog, Finn Tore Bjørnstad 7.1980. They took 26 hours. ,FFA. Odd-Roar Wiik, Robert Caspersen, Arild Meyer 2001. The young hotshots brought the grand master along because they needed someone to lead them up the last grotty pitches.
We found the third pitch hard for 7-, more like 7. I think it is a good idea to break it in two pitches and make a stance on the narrow ledge mentioned above.
Pitch 6 might be a bit generous for 7-, more like 6+.
Pitch 7 is not 20 m, more like 35 m.
We did the easier alternative on pitch 15 and 16. We rapped off down right and made a (good) belay on top of a boulder jammed in the gulley. Pitch 15 started off with some hard but well protected grass-climbing, 55 m to an acceptable stand in the "dihedral". Pitch 16 joins the original pitch 16 after a while, 40 m.
The decent across Vågakallens South Face was quite difficult for us, we rapped from some slings down towards the South Face and then used a running belay pretty much all the way across the grass ledges.
Jonas Wiklund - 22/Jul/08
This is a climb you won't tell your parents about. Some very good and physical pitches on the pillar, but surrounded by deadly climbing and scrambling both on the approach and in particular on the last two pitches. The arete layback on pitch 15 is neither protected nor trivial. Do not trend leftwards on the last grass pitch. The correct way up (slightly to the right of the pillar)is just a little bit more solid though, according to locals. The descent is long and slightly less dangerous than the approach...
I do not recommend this route - it is dangerous.
Gustaf Leijonhufvud - 04/Aug/08
Be all means this is not the gandalf wall, but 'deadly climbing', no. This route demands good mountaineering-, routefinding skills and good judgement. Regarding the approache an anchor has been set up avoid some exposed terrain.
The exit: well, if you get off route - don't blaim the route.
The descent, count on 1-2 hours. (long?)
But yes, this is a big route. Make up you mind before you go. But for people up for the task, highly recommended.
Oh, by the way - it was done in 8 hours fjord-fjord by some swedes. Not to bad...
jonas - 06/Aug/08
Ok, you are just right, deadly was a bit too much. I just wanted to give a slightly different view than the one presented in the guidebook, preventing inexperienced mountaineers like myself from going up there risking their lives. I understand that it is highly recommended by others, but I will not recommend it...
Is it for real that the descent is 1-2 hours? One hour if you run and know the way (-:
Gustaf Leijonhufvud - 06/Aug/08
Did the route 2 weeks ago, a great day. A few comments: Looking carefully, we found a very good line on the approach making it no more difficult than going to the original start on the Vest Pillar, avoiding both the slab and the rappel.
The line drawn in the topo is very wrong regarding the start of the climb. Rather follow the text.
On the last pitch we climbed the short rock face straight up, probably grade 5.
I've heard very different opinions about the descent. We didn't have any problems. There's a fixed rapell a bit down from the top of the route. Then you keep high. A good idea is to look for big block, almost a tower, and climb the grassy gully leading up behind it.
Magnus - 13/Aug/08
Regarding the descend I think that most partys should count on a little bit more than 1-2 hours the first time they are there....unless you BASE-jump to avoid the last two ugly pitches ;-)
This is not like descending the Priest (or Gandalf wall),the terraine is rather complex and the line drawn/description in the new guidebook is a laugh.
I think Magnus sums it up a lot better!!!
8-hrs amazing...big ups
Nis Vagner - 23/Aug/08
It's question about rack recommendation, assuming we intend to climmb light but not too much runnout.
Is there a need to bring big pieces (like new C4 #4, #5, #6) ?
If so, can you please tell us in which pitches these big pieces are useful ? Need to double them ?
If you have any other special recommendation about pieces used on some pitches, please tell us.
eric.nyssens - 22/Mar/13
The approach is depending on the water. If wet, you might take a rope on 2 places. If it is dry, slightly harder then Vespillaren, but not really dangerous.
The route is obvius an good. Found Pitch 3 very hard for the grade. Take the left Crack, even if in the topo they show the right.
We climbed the exit during rain, what is horrible.
The way down is hard to find. Make sure that you dont go to far left. You even have to climb a small way up, just after the first rapell. Instead of the original way, whitch I couldnt find, we took the very big couloir, what was a good solution. Depending on your downclimbingskills, 1-7 Rappels.
The route is a great alpine experience. But consider less good climbing the on Presten, with a long approach and descent.
Most probably, I will not climb it again.
Bring enough gear, but nothing special is needed. C5 can be helpfull but is not mandatory. We also didn't used Microwires, but a couple of small rocks.
Urs Odermatt - 23/Jul/13
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