On March 8-15, 2009, the Norwegian Alpine Club (Norsk Tindeklub, NTK) invited nearly forty climbers from worldwide (Russia, Georgia, South Africa, US etc., and yes — even Sweden!) to come to Lofoten, Norway, for a come-as-you-are climbing meet. The meeting was organized by Marius Morstad from NTK, as a part of his celebrated "Marius Magical Mystery Tours" events. The humble philosophy behind these events is simply: "Put climbing and adventure in focus without add-ons like sponsors, logos, DJ’s, slideshows, competitions; no public, no clinics and organizers with yellow T-shirts."
The essential ingredients were a huge bunch of mountains waiting to be climbed, and the above mentioned group of hungry climbers.
When participants asked for advice on the itinerary, local weather and climbing conditions, Marius simply replayed: "The rock is rock, and the ice is ice, we'll pick you up at the airport!" And so it was — but in addition the weather turned out perfect. During the week in the vicinity of 60 routes were climbed in the surrounding mountains and a majority of these were first ascents. One of the most appealing aspects of climbing in Lofoten is the possibility to bag a first ascent — without declining into obscurity, unless that is what you strive for.
As you see from the pictures another very pleasing aspect of Lofoten is the wild and beautiful scenery where the mountains meet the fjords. Every participant at the meeting agreed the "adventure" aspect of climbing in Norway was refreshing because there were no topos or guidebooks. You never really knew what you were striving for as you marched through the snow towards that dream-line of yours. Had it been climbed before, was it an old classic, or an untouched gem?
As those questions wandered through the heads of our visiting climbers, the awareness of that this region is a fragile part of Europe's last, still nearly unspoiled, wilderness grew.
We in Norsk Tindeklub work hard keeping the "climbing wilderness" of Norway as "wild" and clean as possible. Please help us in our ambitions.
A more detailed detailed report from the meeting will eventually be published at our website: www.ntk.no.
Background: In February, 2009, separate teams of Norwegian, German, and Swiss climbers established gigantic new ice routes (in unusually cold temperatures) on Norwegian cliffs the size of Yosemite Valley’s walls. Read the Climbing.com's report, Awesome Big-Wall Ice in Norway, by Dougald MacDonald. The placement of five protection bolts and nine anchor bolts during the first ascent of Robert Jasper's Fosslimonster (800m, M8+ WI6+) upset many climbers in Norway. The Norwegian Alpine Club issued a statement urging visiting climbers to respect its bolt-free ethic for mountain routes. Read this statement and Robert Jasper's response at PlanetMountain.com.