Lofoten Granite – Climbing in Arctic Norway

Lofoten Granite – Climbing in Arctic Norway

Noway’s Lofoten Islands are magical. Lying high in the Arctic circle you can climb here under the midnight sun on magnificent granite. There is something for all tastes here; long alpine ridges (with snow early season) or steep granite crags literally minutes from the road.

The Lofoten Islands of Norway attract superlatives but they are justly given. Lying high in the Arctic circle (68 degrees north) you can experience climbing here under the midnight sun (north faces take on a different ambiance!) – the biggest problem is knowing when to stop! The rock is predominantly granite which lies at a nice angle and is riven by cracks. There are many alpine summits to explore or indeed crags; from roadside (the majority) to a few hour walk ins in some cases.

Access is via Copenhagen or Oslo then on to either Bodo or Evenes where you pick up your hire car (and do a bit of shopping). Accommodation is either camping (it’s worth having a tent if you intend to climb Stetind on the main land) or you can rent cabins at the many campsites.

To get the most out of the trip you should be able to second VS (F5) and have tried to climb a few cracks!

Sample Itinerary

1) Travel day. Meet LHR or similar. On to Oslo then Evenes. Hire car and shop – climbing this evening is not out of the question given that it will be light!

2) Gandalf. This incredibly popular crag (there is free camping here) drys immediately and is reached in about 5 minutes walk. The routes are a bit steeper than elsewhere but well protected. Classics are Gandalf, Gollum and Gamle Rev (VS – HVS)

3) Presten. This is probably Lofoten’s most famous cliff and rightly so. The uber classic Vestpillaren (6, (E2) 467m) is a must for everyone. It is possible to climb the first 4 pitches (including the crux) then make a descent via abseil or for purists it’s another 8 pitches (again, it won’t get dark!)

4) Vagakallen. This alpine peak dominates the skyline and is home to an excellent alpine route of modest grade ( Nordryggen AD). The approach takes a couple of hours through birch forest and next to a lake before reaching the upper corrie. The col is then gained (sometimes snow or some loose rock) and then the ridge proper. There are a couple of standout pitches; the first is a deep foreboding chimney/chockstone, the second a superb slab split by a crack (a little bit like the Papillons arete!). From the summit the South face is descended which can be delicate and takes some route finding. We had time consuming snow here in 2016. Allow probably 10 hours for the round trip, not to be missed!

5) Djupfjord. This beautiful crag is set back from the fjord and is reached in a little over an hour. Again the angle is easy (until the cracks run out!) and the all time classic here is Bare blabaer (5- VS)

6) Pianokrakken. Similar to Gandalf this crag is a bit steeper but very easily accessed. ‘Applecake Arete’ is one of the ‘top 50 routes’! (5+ HVS)

7) Return flights to UK.