The last three days of our Lofoten Island rock climbing trip were the most amazing of the trip…
Then it rained! So we went to Svolvaer for coffee, cakes, and ice-cream. Richard wanted to go back every day after that for more Royal ice-cream! 😀
Vestpillaren, take-1 and Store Festvag
Friday’s forecast was awesome, sunny, warm, and no (arctic) wind. Richard and I planned an ascent of Vestpillaren. According to the guidebook, it is the MUST DO route of the Lofoten Islands. Vestpillaren is nearly 500m long – a 12 pitch monster of a rock climb!
The only problem was that everyone else thought the same about the weather. We arrived at 10am (no rush with 24 hours of daylight) and were still waiting in line at 11am. The (British) team in front had taken over an hour for the leader to do the first pitch. When the second then decided to take a pee before starting to climb, followed by falling from the first move of the pitch we realised we were behind a seriously slow team! Plus there were at least ten more people above them on the route already – traffic jams were guaranteed. All that with a minimum of eight hours climbing with a clear route and two hours descending after that looked bad. We decided to come back on Saturday, and join Paul and Laetitia at Store Festvag…
What an awesome place. Perhaps some of the best pitches of climbing of the holiday.
We resolved to get up at 6am to be first on Vestpillaren on our second attempt; our last opportunity before leaving the islands. Unfortunately, Friday night is party night in Henningsvaer! At 10pm we went to bed. At midnight the party started! It was loud! Richard declared that there was no chance of getting up early and climbing a 12 pitch route with no sleep, and a headache. So we turned our alarms off and got what sleep we could.
Vestpillaren, take 2
At 11am on our last day we drove below Vestpillaren to dream of what might have been. Amazingly with the help of Paul’s binoculars we could see that there wasn’t a single party on the whole line! 😛 Game on. 😀 Unfortunately Richard was wasted – his and Paul’s room was directly next to the bar where the party had been the night before. However, luckily for me Laetitia was up for it, and after some fast re-packing we set off…
The crux, the Slanting Corner, was fantastic. And a relief to get behind us as, excepting the long descent walk, was the last difficulty. The corner itself can just be seen as the lower of two features near the top on the right hand side of the mountain shot above.
What a brilliant route! The best end to the holiday! 😉
That night we enjoyed the party atmosphere in the bar ourselves, this time not cursing the noise!
While we climbed Vestpillaren, Paul and Richard went round to Kalle and climbed the Puffrisset… A desperately thin main slab pitch followed by a poor top section. Are those top pitches ever climbed?
… and Finally