/ NEW ARTICLE: The First Ascent of the Troll Wall

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UKC Articles - on 15 Feb 2011
John Amatt descending the Great Wall, engulfed by the storm during the retreat, 2 kbIn 1965, Tony Howard, John Amatt and Bill Tweedale succeeded on the British first ascent of Europe's tallest rock face, the Troll Wall in Norway. Joe Brown later described this ascent as 'one of the greatest ever achievements by British rock climbers.'

In this exclusive excerpt from his new book Troll Wall – The untold story of the British first ascent of Europe's tallest rock face – Tony Howard recounts the team's first attempt to crack one of the key sections of the climb, the Great Wall.

Read more at http://www.ukclimbing.com/articles/page.php?id=3466

ericoides - on 15 Feb 2011
In reply to UKC Articles:

The article title is rather misleading.
Al Evans on 15 Feb 2011
In reply to UKC Articles: This was such a big deal when it was done, that when I first met Tony about a year later I was tongue tied I was so much in awe of him. He quickly put me at my ease and we are now mates though we rarely see each other these days.
Mick Ward - on 15 Feb 2011
In reply to UKC Articles:

An ascent way ahead of its time and place. In the book, have they got the photo of the team retreating, a couple of days before the successful ascent? As I remember, it's the most amazing photo. Three guys on a ledge, totally shagged out, rain pissing down, probably freezing, ropes, in a mess. It's like photos of troops in the Russian front, a resigned, "We'll carry on fighting... but we'll still die." And then you look at Tony Nicholls and it's like looking at a wolf. He's saying, "You'll have to rip my f*cking heart out to get me!" And he got them down.

That photo has always haunted me, had a huge effect upon me. Years ago, I wrote an article about Nick (whom I only ever met briefly) but was too embarrassed to let him know about it. What spirit he had.

And the other guys were nails also. Impressive stuff.

Mick
Luke90 on 15 Feb 2011
In reply to Mick Ward:
Is this the picture?
http://www.v-publishing.co.uk/blog/index.html

Your comment made me go and search for it.
Mick Ward - on 15 Feb 2011
In reply to Luke90:

That's it! Thanks. I saw it circa 1970 in a book called something like, 'The Modern Book of Mountaineering', coffee table type format but a good book nontheless. As I remember (and I may be wrong) the photo was reproduced in black and white which heightened the grimness (like the photo of Woubits first ascent in 'The Black Cliff' where you can see the rain pelting down). And it was bigger. So, 40 years on, with tired eyes, the effect isn't as stark as I remembered. But you look into Nick's eyes and you still get the message. This guy ain't gonna give in.

I think he got them down OK but was too shagged to go back up for the first ascent. And I guess, with the weather out there, they had to move quickly. But, doubtless, the book will tell all.

I spent some time in El Chorro with a great Norwegian guy from Romsdal who lugged casulties off the Troll Wall. Bloody hell, he was hard. I thought, if that's what it takes, I am never going anywhere near it!

Mick
Mowglee on 15 Feb 2011
In reply to UKC Articles:

Does anyone know who had the second ascent? I met the chap once on Lewis who did it with Doug Scott, but can't remember his name.
flaneur - on 15 Feb 2011
In reply to Mowglee:

> Does anyone know who had the second ascent? I met the chap once on Lewis who did it with Doug Scott, but can't remember his name.

Guy Lee and Ted Wells climbed it with Scott in 1970. http://www.dougscottmountaineering.co.uk/lectures/biographical.html

I don't know if this was the second ascent.
Mowglee on 15 Feb 2011
In reply to flaneur: thanks
Tom V - on 15 Feb 2011
In reply to Luke90:

Peter Storm cags? Off to the garage to find mine!
lex - on 15 Feb 2011
In reply to UKC Articles:

That’s very evocative writing and photos.

I've got some of my Dads (Dave Pearce) photos and diaries from one of his unsuccessful attempts on the French Route alpine style in the early 1970's with Ed Drummond.

The main narrative is one of continuing rain, aborted attempts due to getting rained off, loose rock on the occasions they did manage to get to touch rock, and finding activities to do in the rain...

I think the diary I've got isn't of their highest point which must have been their other trip. There is a photo of the two of them looking totally battered – I don’t think the Troll Wall takes any prisoners…

Cheers,

Lex
Soap - on 15 Feb 2011
In reply to Mick Ward: I see what you mean about the picture, definitely tells a story in itself. I will have to read this, looks brilliant.
adam11 - on 15 Feb 2011
In reply to lex:
Lex, did your Dad run the Ellis Brigham shop in Altringham during the 80's?
lex - on 15 Feb 2011
In reply to adam11:

No, he ran Nick Estcourts Outdoor Sports.... Did you know him?

This might be my last post for a while though as I'm going offshore in the morning and can't usually get 'Sport and Recreation' sites

Cheers,

Lex

tony howard on 16 Feb 2011
In reply to Mowglee: Hi folks, thought I would nip in here with an answer to that - 2nd ascent was Pete Livesey and John Stanger.

and Hi Al, thanks for that!!
tony howard on 16 Feb 2011
In reply to ericoides: Sorry if you were expecting Cloggy! it's just an extract from a chapter of that name in the book, the Great Wall being one of many features on the Rimmon Route on Trollveggen, including the narrow Slab and Black Cleft.
Jonny2vests - on 16 Feb 2011
In reply to UKC Articles:

You don't hear much about climbing on Troll Wall these days. I vaguely remember it falling down or something. Anyone know what the score is currently?
Al Evans on 16 Feb 2011
In reply to lex: Hi Lex
I knew your dad and climbed with him quite often, we did (with him leading) what was I think the second ascent of Cruel Sister and quite a lot of the test pieces of the time. He was a great bloke and a really steady but powerful leader. We were both on the CC committeee at the same time and usually paired up on the meets.
Al
tony howard on 16 Feb 2011
In reply to jonny2vests: it's all in the book. A monster rockfall took out middle of Rimmon Route. Good stuff still being done on the wall though including hard free ascents of old aid routes.
simondgee - on 16 Feb 2011
In reply to UKC Articles:
Brilliant stuff. That's my next read sorted. As 'segway' and for future trivia questions a certain UKC proprietor slept on that ledge in the photo (if its the one I think its just above the lower crux and at the start of the Great Wall).
ads.ukclimbing.com
Mick Ward - on 16 Feb 2011
In reply to lex:

Although I never knew your dad, I knew many who did. As Al says, he was widely regarded as a great bloke. Someone of whom to be proud.

Mick
Roberttaylor - on 16 Feb 2011
In reply to UKC Articles: 5/10

Oh wait, different kind of Troll.
Jonas Wiklund - on 16 Feb 2011
In reply to ericoides: Yes I thought so too.

Very nice article! Well done Ukclimbing for publishing this. I agree with ericoides that the title and the first paragraph (before the actual article) is slightly misleading. It is very easy to get the impression that Tony Howard, John Amatt and Bill Tweedale got the first ascent of Troll Wall, clean and simple.

tony howard on 16 Feb 2011
In reply to Jonas Wiklund: I think you will find it's all clear in the book including the press furore about a race between the Norwegians and the Brits
Jonas Wiklund - on 16 Feb 2011
In reply to tony howard: Yes I am sure it is clear, thanks again for a splendid read.
hillman - on 16 Feb 2011
In reply to Jonas Wiklund: The Norwegians summited a day before the British team, but both are regarded as first ascencionists of the Troll Wall. The teams themselves didn't compete, but instead helped eachother with transport and carrying loads.

And the Rimmond route became the most popular route on the wall. Especially from the 80s when people started freeclimbing the route, often in one long push.

After the large rockfalls in 1998 the Troll Wall has had limited action, and just a couple of teams has done the Rimmond route. The mainstream bigwall action in Norway has shifted to Kjerag anyway.
Jonas Wiklund - on 16 Feb 2011
In reply to hillman: Yes, I have a passing knowledge of Norwegian big-wall climbing. I would assume that not everyone has, that's why I remarked on the title. Anyway, enough complaining from me. Again: great article.
adam11 - on 16 Feb 2011
In reply to lex:

Lex, I didn't know your Dad particularly well, but bumped into him quite often and shared the craic - a nice bloke. Sorry if my post seemed a little insensitive, I've been out of the scene for a good few years now and hadn't realised he was no longer with us. My elder brother was killed in the mountains, so I also know the dark side of climbing.
The World is a poorer place without Dave.

Adam
tony howard on 16 Feb 2011
In reply to Mick Ward: thanks Mick - I guess we were used to the rain and crap gear, so we just soldiered on as normal, but you rightly spotted Nick was a key man despite not topping out.
NYork - on 23 Mar 2011
In reply to UKC Articles: Must be a contender for the Boardman Tasker award this year ?

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