INTERVIEW: Katharsis - New Route on Troll Wall

Two Polish climbers - Marcin Tomaszewski and Marek Raganowicz - recently topped out on a 19-day project on Trollveggen (Troll Wall) in Norway, where they climbed a new route named Katharsis. We managed to get in touch with Marek who was keen to answer some questions about the climb.

Relaxing at the base of Troll Wall  © Marcin Tomaszewski
Relaxing at the base of Troll Wall
© Marcin Tomaszewski



What inspired you to try this line?
Direct inspiration came from our childhood heros. In 1974 a Polish team of four climbed Troll Wall for the first time in winter (French Route). That was something special even by today's standards. At the other end of the scale, Krasnoyarsk Route was climbed by team of six with heavy use of fixed ropes. We wanted to check if it was possible to climb a route on this wall in a better style.

Exposed climbing on Katharsis  © Marek Raganowicz
Exposed climbing on Katharsis
© Marek Raganowicz

Tell us about the route!
The route is graded M7 / A4, with a length of 1100m and reaching one of the highest points on the wall. There are four main sections. The bottom and top sections are the easiest. The second is very steep and the third is very overhanging. The middle parts are the hardest. The first two pitches are shared with the French Route.

A clearer topo of Katharsis  © Marek Raganowicz
A clearer topo of Katharsis
© Marek Raganowicz

What were the most challenging aspects of the climb for you? 
The hardest thing was getting up every day and climbing with no excuses. We needed to accept very hard winter conditions (including hurricane Ole) and falling rocks and deal with them every day. That was harder than climbing A4 pitches!

Winter exposure on Troll Wall  © Marcin Tomaszewski
Winter exposure on Troll Wall
© Marcin Tomaszewski

Do you think there is potential for more winter routes on the wall?
Yes, I think that somebody can easily put one or two new lines.
What's next for you and Marcin?
We just started to raise funds for an expedition to Queen Maud Land on Antarctica. I hope we will go there in November.

A very cold belay on Katharsis...  © Marcin Tomaszewski
A very cold belay on Katharsis...
© Marcin Tomaszewski

 


The climbers spent 18 days on the wall and one day of abseiling on the descent. 17 bolts were drilled on the route and 9 rivets.

Marek and Marcin's previous big wall experience includes an ascent of Bushido up the North East Face of Great Trango Tower in Pakistan's Karakorum in 2013 and Superbalance up Polar Sun Spire on Baffin Island in 2012.

Marek is currently living in Inverness.

View some more images below:

 


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20 Feb, 2015
That looks incredibly grim. Polish people make some tough climbers
20 Feb, 2015
Agreed. I met a Norwegian guy in Spain, who lives down the valley from the Troll Wall. He was seriously hard and delightfully wacky - an endearing combination. He'd done loads of rescues there (three in one day once, if I remember correctly). After listening to a few of his tales, wild horses wouldn't get me up there. And in winter? Shudder! They certainly seem to, the 1980s in the Himalaya being one example that comes to mind. And, my God, they fought as hard as you could ever fight in World War II. Gutsy people - not afraid of hard work either. Mick
21 Feb, 2015
As a pole whom I spent 8 hours in a car with a few years ago said, when you're sandwiched between the russians and the Germans, you end up being tough, crazy bastards...