Toby Archer takes a good look at the Lofoten Rock guidebook from Rockfax.
He likes what he finds:
"The Lofoten Rockfax is one of those guidebooks that works well both on a purely functional level of giving you the information you need to get to the base of a route and then up it, but also on the perhaps more important level of inspiring you to go somewhere new and do great things...."
I guess its been covered before but I think that E grades would have worked well here. E2 5b for Vestpillaren would have told an E1 leader what they were in for far more than 6 ever would (I'm sure world wide more people have an inkling of how UK grades work C/W Norwegian grades).
It really boils down to who the intended audience is and, if it is effectively the definitive guide then the local system should be adopted (which is at variance with the earlier Webster guide, of course, which used YDS)but that does NOT make it easier for visiting UK climbers.
I think it makes sense to use local grades for a definitive guide, I agree.
I was simply disagreeing with Toby's assertion that they would be of more use to a visiting British climber. I found the E grades of the old mini guide told me exactly what to expect of routes. This being UK climbing I was making a parochial point.
In reply to GrahamD: I think of E2 5b being things like Brown's eliminate - 5b climbing with spaced, bad or no gear (maybe no gear gets E3...). You could aid Vestpillaren (if you had a few days) because the gear is so good.
And if long routes get an extra E grade, why aren't all the Nevis routes a grade harder than Stanage routes?
In reply to UKC Gear: The photography is brilliant. Some excellent models were drafted in.
Really good guide - i'm inspired to go back to Lofoten after seeing the guide and i've been twice and thought i'd done most of the classics from the webster one! A long-lasting masterpiece, well done Chris et al.
> If you were only using gritstone benchmarks to calibrate your expectations of the E grades you would be asking for trouble - as you would in this country.
Well, my limited experience is based more on Scottish (and some Lakes and Welsh multipitch routes) and I don't remember VSs becoming HVSs for length at all - I don't think I've done a multipitch E1 in Britain except on the Culm Coast so it's not a very good reference set admittedly.
So are you saying the Strand is well protected but just long and sustained? If so that's going on my tick list!
In reply to Chris Craggs:
It's a fine looking book - probably the best looking of all the RF guides I've got.
Good to see a bit of information about some of the 'walking' summits. These are almost exclusively half-day trips though, it'd have been nice to have something about longer excursions (I assume there must be one or two!)
Now, do we go next year, when it'll be full of people who bought the new guide, or the year after, when it'll be full of people who've delayed for a year hoping to avoid the people who've bought the new guide...
The mini-guide gave Vestpillaren E2, despite virtually every move in its 550 metres being protectable and that the tech grade never being more than 5b. It was given E2 because it is long, but to me that might scare off competent E1 climbers who would be perfectly capable of climbing it safely if they just keep plugging away.
You're not still banging on about that! With respect, I think you can only be a judge of that if you'd done the route for the first time with another E1 climber.
In reply to tobyfk: I know, and have met on here, a few E1 climbers who have since done it - one sent me a very nice email saying how much fun they had had but also how my email describing how I had found it gave them the confidence to try. And don't you think E2 is more intimidating that Nor. 6?
Anyway it's all a rather moot point because the guide hasn't used UK grades.
There is indeed an error on Maurpillaren, despite the FA and FFA climbers getting a good look at the topo!!! The description is correct, but the top pitch on the topo should be up the next corner to the right. It was one of the first routes we did up there in May (just before the guides arrived on the islands) and I thought "bloody typical"! We will issue and update along with few new routes etc. some time before next season starts.
It was us who got stuck with Pizza thief. We tried climbing the crack to the left which fades out. I'm surprised that it's a top 50 route. I haven't climbed 50 routes in Lofoten, but out of all the routes we did it was the only poor one. The first pitch is too uninspiring to make it a classic.
We also thought that the top 2 pitches of Bilberries were rather pointless. The climbing was easy, but loose and not as well protected as the previous pitches. I would have agreed with the Webster guide and abseiled off earlier. The climbing up to that was fantastic and some of the best granite I've seen.
The addition of the sports routes are excellent and the Paradiset routes a nice touch for rainy days. I also think that using Norwegean grades was the best approach. I know lots of foreign climbers and not one of them understands the British system.
> It was us who got stuck with Pizza thief. We tried climbing the crack to the left which fades out. I'm surprised that it's a top 50 route. I haven't climbed 50 routes in Lofoten, but out of all the routes we did it was the only poor one. The first pitch is too uninspiring to make it a classic.
Interesting - we too tried to get up that final corner before realising the error of our ways. Despite that I thought is a great route, interesting and varied. And full of ants at the start of the season!
> We also thought that the top 2 pitches of Bilberries were rather pointless. The climbing was easy, but loose and not as well protected as the previous pitches. I would have agreed with the Webster guide and abseiled off earlier. The climbing up to that was fantastic and some of the best granite I've seen.
Again - interesting, I thought the last pitch a bit weak, but the one before it excellent - weird eh!
> The addition of the sports routes are excellent and the Paradiset routes a nice touch for rainy days. I also think that using Norwegean grades was the best approach. I know lots of foreign climbers and not one of them understands the British system.
> (In reply to TonyB)
> Again - interesting, I thought the last pitch a bit weak, but the one before it excellent - weird eh!
I'd agree. The last pitch was utter rubbish, but the second to last was interesting and fun.
The pitch-lenghts seem to be somewhat out of whack though... at least I had some difficulty in reaching the belays with my double 50m ropes. It is possible, that my ropes are shorter. But then again, I've used 'em on numerous other places in yurp sans problemo (up to 45m pitches).
In reply to Chris Craggs: Its not unusual! There are some very unusual estimations of pitch lengths in the Gå telemark guide to Nissedal... It just adds to the Norwegian experience of not knowing exactly what you are getting yourself into.
Grade six in Norway is in many ways like Scottish VS, in that it wasn't so many years since there were no routes given a grade over 6. I was talking to Nils Nielsen (Åndalsnes guide and alpinist, a bit famous here) one time about norwegian grades and he said "You just gotta know you can climb that grade, and a bit more, in any conditions and with any or no gear"
I think keeping the N grades combined with the comparison table was the right thing to do!
Congrats on a beautiful guidebook, It will be going with me on my one month climbing "Norges Ferie" next summer!
This topic has been archived, and won't accept reply postings.
Elsewhere on the site
Product News 'Funniest climber' tours new Mind Your Head theatre show
Fri Night Vid Troll Wall - An Unforgiving Climb up Europe's Highest Wall
This week's Friday Night Video follows Pete Whittaker and Mari Augusta Salvesen up the Troll Wall in the Romsdalen valley, Norway. The wall is the tallest vertical rock face in Europe but the danger of the wall doesn't...
In Focus Culm Dancing - The Guidebook and a Personal History