Norwegian climber Mari Augusta Salvesen has climbed Ronny Medelsvensson (8b) on the Profile Wall in Jøssingfjord on the south coast of Norway. The route is climbed on natural gear and whilst there's plenty of it, Mari had to find a balance between the length of the falls and the energy she used to place the gear.
The route was first climbed by Erik Massih and Crister Jansson in 2014. Mari gave us some background on the route:
'Ronny Medelsvensson is located at the Profile Wall in Jøssingfjord, a historical valley known for the Altmark incident during WW2, where the British forces boarded a German tanker and freed 300 allied prisoners. Well done Brits. Sorry, I'm a bit of a boffin.
'The Profile Wall hosted a bunch of aid routes back in 2014 waiting to be freed, and according to the story, Ronny looked so feasible from the ground that the Swedes played rock, paper, scissor who was going to on-sight it, but not long after the hang dogging began.
'The route is a splitter crack, jams all the way, so I agree it looks pretty straight forward from the ground. And I guess it is pretty straightforward, but the steepness and flaredness just seem to tire you out. You're basically stuffing meat into slots that are either too big for fingers or too small for hands, then lock off and move on, with the occasional hand jam rest. After the first ascent, it has as far as I know, only been repeated by Tom Randall and Norwegian climber Joakim Louis Sæther.'
Mari first saw the route when Louis was attempting it and the opportunity to top rope it was too tempting. Initially, she couldn't get off the ground and didn't understand the nuances around where to pull harder. It was a few years until she next attempted the route. Pete Whittaker and Tom Randall were attempting Nico Favresse's Recovery Drink. Mari was climbing new routes and running out of things to do 'whilst the boys were busy.' Ronny seemed like the obvious next step:
'From there on I was sucked into the circle of telling myself it was too hard, then come back to prove myself wrong, realising its too hard again, then get pissed off and come back again, and so it goes. This crack is too good not to figure it out.'
'I went down there on my own aiding the route a couple of times, and that often made me feel scared. The wall can be quite powerful and unpleasant at times.'
After working the route last summer and battling a shoulder injury, Mari returned to the route a few weeks ago when conditions came good and managed to climb the route, resulting in an emotional finish!
Excuse Pete Whittaker's filming, he was belaying at the time...
Whilst the climbing scene in Oslo is relatively small, there is definitely an interest in hard trad: 'Both men and women are keen and capable and doing impressive things on trad. In fact, the first free pitch on the Profile Wall was done by Norwegian pioneer Robert Caspersen already back in 1996, but not that many people knew about it until Daniel Jung mistook it for a first free ascent in recent years.
'However, with exceptions, I think the general culture over here is to comfortably enjoy climbing and mind your business, and its everyone's right to do so, but it would also be fun to see what happened with a bit more effort and persistence in our trad scenes.'
Mari has excelled in multiple disciplines across the sport and recently ticked Ray's Roof (E7 6c) at Baldstones. She has just moved house and is near to several bolted cliffs: 'I'm trying to learn to appreciate sport climbing at the moment.'