Lofoten Rock - Norway

by Chris Craggs Apr/2009
This article has been read 12,452 times

Destination Lofoten – maybe THE 'must-visit' venue for 2009?

The new Rockfax guide to Lofoten has generated plenty of interest in this venue. Indeed Lofoten has become a bit of a hip destination in recent years, with visits from the likes of Ben Moon and Chris Bonnington! Despite this many climbers' desire to visit this remote destination have been tempered by the cost of getting there – the place really is rather remote. Factor in Norway being an expensive country anyway and it is easy to see why many folks opt for yet another trip to Chamonix! Mind you it is a very special place, the locals are friendly, the cliffs are generally quiet (or were until the new guide came out!) and the scenery is world class

-you WILL be astounded as long as the weather is kind

Close this photo
+Rein, south Lofoten with the dramatic Breiflogtinden (750m) in the distance. This huge pillar is home to two routes., 61 kb
Rein, south Lofoten with the dramatic Breiflogtinden (750m) in the distance. This huge pillar is home to two routes.
© Chris Craggs

Lofoten crags# climbsRocktypeFaces
Øvredalen8GraniteSW
Breiflogtinden2GraniteSE
Djupfjord29GraniteNW
Eggum31GraniteSE
Festvågveggen31GraniteSE
Finnvika8GraniteS
Gandalf39GraniteSW
Geitgaljen1Graniteall
Geitvika5GraniteSE
Glamtinden2GraniteS
Helvetestinden6GraniteNW
Jomfrau pillaren1GraniteS
Junior veggen8GraniteSW
Kallebukta7GraniteSE
Maslitinden2GraniteS
Merraflestinden2GraniteE
Migan Pillaren2GraniteS
Nubben1GraniteW
Olkontinden2GraniteE
Olstinden2GraniteSW
Paradiset65Graniteall
Pianokrakken42Granite?
Presten22Granite?
Reinesvaet2GraniteE
Rorvika20GraniteSW
Sandvika18Granite?
... list all 32 crags in this area
Total climbs400

+Henningsvaer, the centre of Lofoten climbing. The pyramid of Vågakallen (943m) is prominent on the right., 83 kb
Henningsvaer, the centre of Lofoten climbing. The pyramid of Vågakallen (943m) is prominent on the right.
© Chris Craggs
+Tim and Ali seconding Bare Blabaer (VS 4c), Lofoten Islands, Artic Norway, 237 kb
Tim and Ali seconding Bare Blabaer (VS 4c), Lofoten Islands, Artic Norway
© Jamie Moss
+Sport climbing just north of Bodø, a good way of passing the time waiting for the ferry., 76 kb
Sport climbing just north of Bodø, a good way of passing the time waiting for the ferry.
© Chris Craggs
+Looking up the peerless granite cracks of Bare blåraer (N5-) Only Bilberries (VS 4b)., 128 kb
Looking up the peerless granite cracks of Bare blåraer (N5-) Only Bilberries (VS 4b).
© Chris Craggs
+Looking down the top pitch of Lundeklubben (N6) (Puffin Club) (E1 5b) with the Henningsvaer bridges in the background. , 123 kb
Looking down the top pitch of Lundeklubben (N6) (Puffin Club) (E1 5b) with the Henningsvaer bridges in the background.
© Chris Craggs
+The peerless granite cracks of the hugely popular, seven pitch classic of Bare blåraer (N5-) Only Bilberries (VS 4b), 100 kb
The peerless granite cracks of the hugely popular, seven pitch classic of Bare blåraer (N5-) Only Bilberries (VS 4b)
© Chris Craggs


Logistics

When do I go?

High summer (mid-June to mid-August) is the prime time to visit, with 24 hour daylight you really can climb until you drop. It can be cold and unsettled even then, so be prepared, though having said that, we have seen hardly any rain (or mosquitoes, many folk's other concern) in five summers up there!

How do I get there?

The drive from Bergen (ferry from Newcastle) to Lofoten takes about 20 hours. Sadly the DFDS Newcastle to Bergen service ended last September so the old system of filling the car with as much food as possible and driving until you drop is now a thing of the past, though there are rumours, at least in Norway, that the service might be renewed.

For a short break (and certainly less then two weeks) flying is the way to go - UK to Olso to Bodo to Svolvaer can easily be done in a day. Hiring a car is expensive but useful for visiting different venues, though not absolutely essential - prices start at around £250 a week. There is a 15kg weight limit on the final short hop (though this doesn't appear to be strictly enforced, it would be a long way to go to get dumped) so the alternative is to get off at Bodø then either catch the ferry (Bodø to Moskenes) or the high speed catamaran (Bodø to Svolvær via Skutvik), both take between four and five hours. Alternatively, collect the hire car at Bodø (good sport climbing in the area, described in the Artic Circle guidebook ) and drive the three hours northward (maybe with a detour via Stetind if you have the time/weather) and catch either the Skutvik to Svolvær ferry (less than two hours for the crossing) which sails daily at 18:30, or the more regular (every two hours) Bognes to Lodingen (60 minutes for the crossing – cost about £22) ferry and drive the newly open Lofast road round to Svolvær in about and a hour and a half. Both routes are superbly scenic and will have you wondering just why you are driving past so much rock!

Where do I stay?

Free camping is possible anywhere in Norway away from human habitation or cultivated land. The most popular spots with climbers (though a bit 'primitive') are below the Gandalf cliff, or at Kalle beach which has the added luxury of a tap and a (smelly) toilet. A new and very plush toilet block has recently been set up in the main car park at Henningsvaer, though it is a bit of a trek in the morning if you are 'in need'. There are pleasant (and inexpensive by UK standards) camp-grounds at Ørsvågvær, Sandvika and Lyngvær all within 10 minutes drive of the best of the climbing. All Norwegian camp-grounds have wooden camping cabins, that vary from basic (still with fridge and cooking rings) to plush (hot and cold running water plus a TV!), and cheapest ones start at about £30 for a place that will sleep four – which is quite reasonable. Most campsites also have a covered area for cooking (with stoves and a few pans) and an indoor lounge for, well, indoor lounging!

Where can I buy gear and food?

Norway is pretty expensive, for example; bread £2.50 a loaf, a lettuce £2.50, two chicken breast £7.00. Beer is about £2.50 a can, wine and whisky are both seriously off the scale, and have to be bought in the Vinmonopolet in Svolvaer. There are a couple of small shops in Henningsvaer which stock essentials, a Coop with more choice in Kabelvåg and a set of larger supermarkets (including a mall where it never rains) in Svolvaer. The Nord Norske Climbing School (in Norwegian) in Henningsvaer is the centre of the local climbing scene, they run courses, offer accommodation, have a well-stocked climbing shop, do beer and meals (you will want to celebrate at least once) and often have great music playing so it is a fine place to chill out.

The Guidebook?

The new guidebook is available from Rockfax, Cordee, UK climbing shops or the NNKS shop. A replacement page for Maurpillaren is available here Maurpillaren.

UKC Articles and Gear Reviews by Chris Craggs:


For more information visit on Rockfax.com
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