By Andreas Klarstrom, Norway
Kvaloya Island, Blammanen (861m), north face, various free ascents, Peter Pan, and Febris.
Last summer I had to work almost every day to finance my studies, but the sun is up all night, so I was able to climb five routes on Blammanen, all free.
Magnus Eriksson, Thomas Meling, and I began in June with a second free ascent of Ultime Thule (350m, A1/A2, Andersen-Blixt-Nilsen, 1995; FFA Aartun-Alexandersson, 2008, at 7b+; AAJ 2009), after which Per-Harald Barkost, from Tromso, and Pavel Juracek, from the Czech Republic, and I repeated Atlantis (400m, A1, Guldal-Nesheim-Nesheim, 1980, FFA Hustad-Nilsson, 1990, at 7b). I onsighted the crux pitch but found conditions on the climb the toughest I’ve experienced on a multi-pitch route: around 0°C and wet. It seemed harder than Ultime Thule.
Meling and I finished Tingeling to the top of the wall, naming the complete line Peter Pan. Tingeling was put up in 2010 by Hansjorg Auer and Much Mayr. It free-climbs the first two pitches of Bongo Bar, then breaks out left to climb four new pitches to a junction with Atlantis, where Auer and Mayr descended, as the final four pitches of Atlantis were too wet [see AAJ 2011]. It is not a world-class route though a logical line. We clipped the controversial bolt, but it is probably unnecessary, as the climbing on that section is no more than 6b. The crux, the second pitch of Bongo Bar, was overgraded by the first ascensionists at 7c+. We thought it 7b+, a grade confirmed by Dave Macleod.
The first time we tried the route we were tired after work. We climbed two pitches and descended, leaving a rope in place so we could practice this section. A couple of days later we climbed the route with no falls. Thomas led most of it, as I had a bad shoulder. We both climbed every pitch free, though the upper section was partly wet.
Young guns Martin Olslund (18) and Erik Grandelius (20) and I made the third free ascent of Arctandria. (On the second, in 2007, Hansjorg Auer and Markus Haid rated the crux 8b). Each used pre-placed copperheads and a pecker on the second (crux) pitch. Prior to the ascent, although I was working seven consecutive days, I’d hike up to the wall in the evenings, powered by the midnight sun, and attempt to work the first two pitches on a jumar. Then I made phone calls, collected Martin and Erik from the airport at 10:30 p.m., and, with rain forecast for the next day, we ran up to the wall. We climbed through the night, finishing in the rain. Tired and hungry we reached the top after 15 hours on the wall and begged food from passing trekkers. Arctandria is a world-class route, and an onsight would be intense, but not life-threatening, as there is bomber protection five m below the crux.
Martin Olsund and I put up Febris, the only new route on Blammanen to be climbed without a hammer. We used aid only at the crux, which we then cleaned and redpointed. The crux took time, as it is significantly harder than anything on Peter Pan. We originally planned to try a free ascent of the aid route Lost and Found (A3 6a, 335m of climbing, Hentonnen-Karkkainen-Kurki, 2008; AAJ 2009) but once on the wall we saw other free possibilities. We first climbed 10m of Atlantis, then traversed right to Lost and Found. On pitch two we moved to new ground. Our third pitch was runout at the crux, so we cleaned it and worked it on a top-rope before the redpoint. Initially Martin couldn’t do the moves, but I eventually solved the puzzle at around 7c. The next pitch was a nice surprise, a crux slab (7b+) followed by an overhanging thin-hands crack, which turned out to be easy. Above we joined the corner system of Lost and Found for one wonderful pitch (6b).
We had climbed half the wall and expected the remainder to be straightforward. Routefinding and cleaning had proved tiring, so we slept for a couple of hours on a ledge. I awoke at 2 a.m. to the sound of Martin throwing up. He had a fever and didn’t improve, so we went down.
I had to leave the area for Trondheim, but on the way the car broke down, and we were brought back to Tromso. By now I had the same fever, but the weather was good, so we went back up for another try. We climbed the lower part fast and had a lot of energy left for the upper section, which was useful, as the sixth pitch proved much harder than expected—a thin, overhanging traverse leading to an off-width. Martin made an impressive onsight lead, and we finished the route with no falls or hangs, neither for the leader nor second. Pitch grades for Febris are 7b, 7c, 7b+, 6b, 6b, 7c, 6b, and 6c. I wouldn’t have been able to climb this route without Martin, a mentally strong and creative climber.