Photo: Ines Papert

Alpine Climbing in Senja Island, Norway

High up in the Arctic

Words by Anna Pfaff

On Feburary 18, 2018 I travelled to Tromsø, Norway to meet up with Ines Papert, Thomas Senf and Rahel Schelb to climb and explore the island of Senja. I arrived to Senja Lodge owned by Bent Vidar Eilertsen in Mefjordvaer, Troms, Norway in the evening on the very next day. Ines and I made a plan that evening to do an alpine climb as our first objective as the conditions on the island were excellent.

We set out the early the next morning to the frosty looking North Face of Roalden Peak. After scoping the lines from afar we decided to follow a vague chimney system to the upper icy covered slabs that connected the North Face with the summit ridge. Ines set out on the first pitch of mixed climbing through a loose and insecure chimney. We initially thought the climb would only be a few pitches but rope lengths and lots of simul climbing brought us to the ridge around 400 meters later. .

With early sun sets the day light quickly passed and we soon found ourselves in the dark and without headlamps! We rapelled a pitch in the dark and then decided to call our friend Thomas Senf to drop in some head lamps. He came to our resucue with the shining lighs at the summit and we made it down without difficulty except for a few frostbitten fingers on my behalf!

The 400+ meter route on the North Face of Roalden we called “Stumbling Stone“ (M7, AI5). Senja is a magical place and I am so happy to have experienced it with such a wonderful climbing partner like Ines!

Words by Ines Papert

As successful the trip started, as quick it was over for Anna due to the frostbite. It was very unfortunate since the conditions were so amazing and new lines everywhere were waiting to be climbed. After Anna´s departure back home, I teamed up with my long term friend Rahel Schelb from Switzerland. We climbed the classic „Finnkona“ WI 6 and the day after Rahel´s Grandma passed away, we opened a new route in memory of her just behind our home Senjalodge.

The obvious, the thin smear of ice and easy to get there with the snow conditions. The first real pitch seemed tricky to protect, but once I could place a short ice screw and a micro nut, I went for it. Far away from overprotected and nothing you wanted to risk a fall. As I know, how to climb thin ice like this, I moved slowly but as safe as possible forward. Every meter further promised more solid ice. After 7 long pitches we toped out to the ridge of Fjølhaugen 765m right above Melfjord- vaer. We called the Route as Rahel´s Grandma „Rosalinde“, it´s 350 m long on the north-east Face of Fjølhaugen (WI 7, M6).

Our host Bent Eilertsen figured out, that only one team has been attempted before, but they gave up after a few meters. So an other new route appeared on this magic Island…but unfortunately the last Route for the trip, since I was running out of climbing partners. Next time I hope for many more routes with Anna Pfaff. Thanks to Rahel for almost "accidentally" jumping quickly in.

New Route on Roalden (FA by Ines Papert & Anna Pfaff)

New route on Fjølhaugen (FA by Rahel Schelb & Ines Papert)

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