Father and son team frees A4+ on Troll Wall

Posted by Lindsay Griffin on 06/08/2012
Troll Wall in late winter with the line of the Krasnoyarsk Route. Lindsay Griffin

The accomplished Norwegian father-and-son team of Ole Johan and Sindre Saether have free climbed the ca 1,200m Krasnoyarsk Route on Romsdal's Troll Wall.

In the winter of 2002 a six-man Russian team of Vladimir Arkhipov, Sergey Cherezov, Eugeny Dmitrienko, Oleg Khvostenko, Anton Pugovkin and Pavel Zakharov, from the Siberian city of Krasnoyarsk, spent from the 3 - 21 February completing their new 25-pitch line.

The climbing was largely aid, with seven pitches of A2, two of A4 and two of A4+ (overall grade VI 5.10 A4+).

It is generally thought to be the hardest aid route on the wall and was awarded first prize in the 2002 All Russia Winter Mountaineering Championships.

The Krasnoyarsk is a true direttissima, forcing a line between the 1965 Norwegian and 1967 French routes, having some common ground with Arch Wall at around two-thirds height, and then when Arch Wall moves left, pursuing a direct line up the headwall to the summit.

There have been no known repeats, although in the winter of 2003 a team of young French alpinists, under the guidance of Christophe Moulin, made an attempt, backing off quite low down when unable to find the route.

The Saethers report many pitches of around Norwegian 7 (6c) with crux sections of 8- (around 7b or 5.12-).

The Saethers live in Romsdal and so are able to snatch rare opportunities when the notorious loose and wet wall is in climbable condition.

In 2008 they made the first free ascent of the Norwegian Route (originally VI and A2/3) at around 5.11. Next year they made an astonishing free ascent of the French Direct (5.10c and A4) in two days at 5.12b/c. They followed this in 2010 with the even more astonishing free ascent of Ed and Hugh Drummond's Arch Wall, which had a confirmed grade of 5.11 and A4+. The Saethers climbed this very serious route at 5.12b/c.

Sindre Saether, who has climbed 8c+ (and on-sighted 8b), is well known for being modest with his assessment of grades, so whether those quoted above reflect the true difficulty will remain to be seen.

Repeats of any of these routes in their free form are unlikely to occur in the near future, as the Saethers seem to be the only partnership interested in tackling the rotten rock and objectively dangerous routes of the Troll Wall.

Sindre's first dabble with the Greater Ranges took place last year, when he travelled to Pakistan with five Norwegian friends. Climbing with Jarle Kelland, Saether spent six days putting up a new 20-pitch route (5.11d and A2) on Nafees Cap, a 900m high rock formation beneath K7 in the Charakusa Valley, first climbed in 2007 by the Favresse brothers, Adam Pustelnik and Sean Villanueva.

 


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