Norway is one of the very best countries for climbing with huge granite walls and impressive peaks decorating the whole coast line. In fact, after Canada, Norway has the world’s second longest coast line, measuring more than 100 000 kilometers…well, it’s easy to entertain yourself here if you’re a fan of the vertical and steep rock!
The second part of a beautiful climbing summer, I went back home to Norway and spent pretty much all my time on the arctic granite mountains of Kvaløya, Tromsø.
The mountains found in the north of Norway are perfect objectives for many outdoor adventures: climbing, alpine trekking, mountain biking, base jump etc… In 2011, I moved to Tromsø, a vibrant arctic city situated on a small island surrounded by fantastic mountains and deep blue fjords.
Connected to Tromsø is Kvaløya, the adventure island, where most of the steep nearby mountains are found. Only 15 min from my doorstep, I have the most fantastic playground any climber can imagine. It was simply about time to spend some time home.
Imagine straight-up splitter cracks, cutting a rock wall into sections, almost map-like, allowing you to follow one crack into another from the bottom of the wall to the very top. Now, feel the granite, the small tiny crystals as you hold your hand against the rock, it’s friction and the solid volumes of massive rock that’s been on earth for millions of years before you. Looking up, you see a wall that reaches up towards the sky for several hundreds of meters. You feel small down there at its foot…
Baugen and the Hollender mountain massif of Kvaløya is just like that.
Most climbers who take on the adventure to come and explore the Arctic regions around Tromsø, have heard about Baugen; a naturally protected rock face with beautiful cracks, perfect for jamming, steep and solid rock. Even though the climbs vary from usually 4 to 7 pitches, you quickly end up spending the whole day on one route. But why rush when you are in one of the most beautiful climbing areas of the world!
About 1000m above the fjords, at the Hollender mountain massif you often get the feeling of being alone on the mountain. The area is big with a selection of 70-80 multi pitch crack climbs. Even if you have the pleasure to meet up with other climbers at the little hut by the foot of the wall, you rarely meet companies on your climb. It’s just nothing like down in the Alps where you easily end up standing in line behind a party who’s in line behind another… For me, the solitude that Baugen so often can offer, gives me a sense of freedom and it creates good energy.
Baugen and Hollenderen have routes from grade 5:ish up to around 8. Nothing comes for free. You’ll find well protected cracks pretty much every where, but the climbing is steep and persistent. As you come to the top, you need to rapp down, avoiding the rope to get stuck and keeping your focus sharp all way.
Most climbs on Baugen becomes a full day adventure, especially if you have not been on the route before. The last month, I’ve had the opportunity to spend a lot of time exploring this little climbing treasure, so close to home, yet so remote from any urban sensation.
The small hut, the climbers hut, built by the local Tromsø climbers in 1982 (unluckily burnt down quickly after but finally rebuilt and open since 1985), is open for every climber who cleans up and shows respect for the site. Non-members of the Tromsø climbing club pays 100 NOK/night and gets access to this little pearl of facility that simplifies any Baugen climbing objective. You need a sleeping bag and sometimes a mat in case it’s crowded, but cooking gear are provided and a gas stove too.
The hut is a private hut, maintained by the climbers with no extra support from helicopters or staff. This means that you need to carry down everything you’ve carried up, and show extra care.
The good thing is that the hut is open and as long as visitors are decent, honest and caring, it’s gonna continue to be open. For us, it’s undoubtedly the best place to enjoy a morning coffee before a day of climbing. Sitting outside the hut with the stunning views down the Blåmannvik valley, the Baugen walls and the fjords over to Tromsø is a true privilege.
The last month with many days of good weather offered perfect opportunities to enjoy Baugen and the climbing in the massif. Together with good friends, I got the chance to climb the classical routes Baugsprydet, Halvmånerisset, Silhuetten, Alexis and later we made the Ersfjord traverse, a long alpine ridge traverse over Kvaløya island from west to east.
In the evening inside the hut, the climbers get together to cook food, drink beer and share the adventures and stories from the day. And many stories there are… Baugen won´t leave you untouched…this is a place to create memories and gather experiences. It’s just the perfect place to develop your traditional climbing and keep on learning whatever the mountains will teach you. For any of those lectures, I quickly learned that it’s good to have a big rack of gear and to tape your hands!
You’ll need to walk 700 altitude meters to get to Hollenderen and Baugen. Iit takes about 2 hours up and you’re pretty warm when you get there, but it’s worth it, even just for a day!
Resting on a Baugen headwall ledge high above the moraine underneath.
Charlotte showing balance on the smooth granite of Alexis, 6+
Topo is found and can be bought online at Fri flyt web shop