Friday, 16 March 2012

Beyond Lyngen

Senja - UPDATED FOR 2013

How do these areas compare to the rest of that covered by this blog?  Very hard to say as we were plagued with terrible weather (we cut our 2012 trip short in the end) and the ice conditions seemed a bit thin compared to past photos.  Generally, for more scottish stuff, head to Senja, and for very long harder routes, head to Spansdalen and Sordalen (though there is plenty of easier stuff too).  By reading this blog alone, you would assume there is much more around Lyngen, that isn't necessarily the case - its just there are already resources out there for these areas so we haven't covered them to the same detail.  Given perfect weather and a month, I reckon (for pure ice climbing) two weeks at Lyngen and a week at each of Senja and then Spansdalen/Sordalen (for WI4/5/6) would be the ideal.


The island of Senja has a very different feel to it that the more ‘pure ice’ areas around Lyngen.  The coast brings more fickle weather and the climbing generally has a more ‘Scottish’ feel to it.  Though there is surely plenty of ice around, Senja excels in mixed climbing on trad gear, where there are probably near endless opportunities to put up new routes.  To say it's 'Scottish' may prompt the question 'so why go all that way?', well more reliable conditions, epic lines and no other climbers is why. 

The guru of climbing on Senja is Bent Vidar Eilertsen  - a Mountain Guide and owner of Senja Lodge.  We won’t go into a load of detail on the climbing here – if you want info check his site: (and indeed stay at the lodge, where he will probably be on hand to offer advice).  There is already a pdf on the site showing climbs and he is working on an expanded version with maps, and after that an actual guidebook.

Rich Cross of Alpine Guides has also visited for the last couple of years (info from 2012, here and here).

2013 UPDATE: Ines Papert visited Senja early in 2013, climbing amongst other things a mega new route with Bent that can be read about here.

Here is some brief info on what is around, from just an ice climbing point of view (note, I doubt we really scratched the surface after being plagued with bad weather).

Bent's place is in Mefjordvaer, at the top of the map

Here are some pics of the routes indicated above:

Tunnel Cuddling

Tunnel Cuddling

Not an Earth shatteringly brilliant route, but not bad at all, and about 3m off the road.

Opposite Tunnel Cuddling, maybe 20mins from the road, and prob a full pitch (at a guess)


A route ending in a pillar on the left (noted as 'WI4' on map), and a route in a cleft with a chock-stone on the right (WI3). 

The aforementioned pillar at Ersfjord

Coming from Senjahopen, as you come out of the tunnel into Ersfjord, there are three routes. The left hand thin ice line is a hard mixed line put up by Rich Cross this year, then the high icefall on the right and the lower pillar further to the right. 

Immediately outside the tunnel at Ersfjord


These, when we tried, had a deceptively long and awkward approach along the edge of the fjord.  I am sure it very much depends on snow conditions though.  The WI6 is reputed to be a truly amazing route.

The WI6 is the left hand of the three lines high on the face, to get to it ascend the ice lower and to the right leading to the snowfield

Here it is close up, approach out of sight on the left

More awkward approach through the mixed ground on the left

To the left of those is this long WI4+ (ie so before you get to the WI6 on the approach)


Visible just before, and from, the switchbacks on the main road through Ersfjord.

Another long WI4


Sordalen is home to the most famous route in the area, Skredbekken (WI5/6).  There is already a guide for this area which can be found here (note, we could not find the 'icecrag' at all!).

The routes at Bergbekken

Rubben (WI5+) centre, the thin Rubbsnyten (WI5 when in) left, and Remember Mi (WI7-, M8) on right


The top of Rubben, the pillar looked complete, it wasn't!

Skredbekken, lots of simulclimbing to get to the route proper

The first main wall is 90m of solid WI4

Here is a comparison of ice conditions against 2006.


Spansdalen is home to the other well-known icefall in the area, Henrikkefossen, a monster of a WI4/5.  Rick McGregor's guide covers this area (and much more besides) so check here for more info:

There are several lines on the cliffs above Tennevoll (shown on map), and also quite a lot on the north side of the Spansdalen valley (not shown above as we didn't get any photos or exact locations).  We didn't do any of these as they looked mostly fairly easy (apart from some VERY high up) and were pretty sun battered, but they are certainly worth checking out and there could be quite a few lines all the way up that side of the valley.  This is a picture from the line called 'Hangover' and is described in the guide linked above.

The main event is Henrikkefossen, on the left below, a six pitch WI4/5.  On the right of it is Soylefossen, a four pitch WI5/6.

For both, just park by the bridge and walk up the road (there is no parking available on the smaller road).

Further up the valley are several more falls, at a guess between WI3 and 4+, and probably much longer than they look (same falls from different angles):

Other climbs around Bardufoss

Flaget Lake

There is a fantastic looking climb above the lake at Flaget, alas it was dripping wet when we tried.  Its a three pitch WI5/6.

Just park up and stroll across the lake.  Around the corner, to the right, is a small fall with several lines of WI3 to 4+, but it's right in the Sun.


Park where the road ends (or at least ceases to be ploughed), walk up the track to the bridge then walk upstream for ten mins and you will find a cracking little set of climbs (that really aren't that little!)

Two pitches believe it or not!

To the left of this are a couple of easier routes and to the right a small pillar.


There looked to be some lines on the headland north of Grov. We didn't bother climbing anything but you may fill a day there with some easier stuff.  See the bottom left of the overview map.