Summer vacation, day 9
Continued from day 8
Tops and places visited
Climbing Hamarøyskaftet was the only mountain activity we had planned for this summer. Good weather and the aviliability of a guide, permitted. It was only natural to choose Nordland Turselskap for this trip, as I’ve been in touch with Ivar Sandland off and on since I climbed Stetinden with them 2007 and Strandåtinden in 2009. But I had never met Ivar in person!
Back in those days, I could have been tempted to take on this top alone or with a friend if the opportunity came along. But the years went by and in 2020 it had been a while since I had done anything with a rope that I could think back on with pleasure.
It all came together this summer. We had the time, we had the urge, we had (hopefully) the weather and now we had a guide – Ivar himself! I’m not sure if he was on schedule do to this guided trip, but I was really happy about finally getting to meet him. And through westcoastpeaks.com, Ivar also felt he had known me for long time.
We met early morning outside our RV at Halsen. We had planned to walk up the gravel road to the trailhead, and we were happy to save those 15-20 minutes when Ivar stopped and offered us a ride. At the trailhead, we waited for his other two clients – Signe and Atle. They were a bit late, and I hoped they wouldn’t be way late, as we had hoped to be back with Karma (in the RV) in about 6 hours from now.
Signe and Atle arrived after a little while. They told us they had some experience from indoor climbing and that this would be their first serious undertaking outdoors. 10:20am, we were ready to head out.
We followed a nice trail up the forest and could refill water once along the way. When we reached the ridge, Hamarøyskaftet came into full view. The “monster” didn’t look so terrible from this angle and it was easy to understand where the climbing route went.
The route looked like big fun. I’m not able to pinpoint it exactly, but it followes the ledges upwards before traversing to the left higher up. The route more or less presents itself on the picture below.
We went to the foot of the mountain and continued unroped a bit upwards with a couple of “warm-up pitches” along the way.
Eventually it was time to get on with the more difficult terrain. The first pitch looked really hard until I understood that we could just climb up on the left-hand side. It was an easy 2/2+ pitch (Norwegian grades used through the report) but a fall off the cliff would not have ended in a good way.
On top of the cliff, Ivar took pictures of us – after making sure that we stood firm and safe for a couple of seconds.
Next, we went directly into a steep gully which offered easy grade 2 climbing (scrambing). Anne had been a little nervous the day before the climb, as she hadn’t been climbing for some time. I told her it would be a blast and once the first pitch was done, she was totally acclimated to climbing again.
The third pitch was just an easy scramble but it was fully understandable that Ivar wanted to have full control over his clients. He is a very experienced climber and guide, and it was very interesting to have the opportunity to chat with him along the way. And he knows this mountain inside and out and was very efficient in everything he did.
The fourth pitch was also easy climbing, once the correct sequence of moves had been figured out.
The fifth pitch was interesting. Ivar called the 5- section a “short-cut”, byassing the easier 2+/3 pitch around this obstacle. The consideration was that the easier route was harder to belay. I would have loved to try that route though. The bit where you can only use your hands was my kind of terrain.
Ivar had placed a sling with loops for the feet – in other words – a ladder! Anne went first and wasn’t very experienced with this type of aid. Lesson learned: only keep the pressure downward!
I was not keen on using aids like this and while I have absolutely no previous experience with climbing in cracks, I got up without using the sling and without falling. Ivar gave me a nice comment I was quite happy when I learned that both Signe and Atle had to use at least one loop each.
This pitch is easier to understand from the below picture, taken on our way down.
The sixth pitch was another fairly simple “two-step” climb, possibly grade 3/3+.
The seventh and final pitch (4/5) also involved Ivar leaving the sling with loops. Once again, I was the only one not using it. This old guy still got it!
But this old guy doesn’t remember very well anymore and the details have actually escaped me. Nor was I able to take a good picture of it.
Eventually, we could get out of the rope and walk up to the summit cairn. The time was 1:15pm when we reached the top – close to 3 hours after heading out.
Another fine one in the bag!
Now it was time for lunch…
… and views…
At 2pm, we began our descent down the mountain. Ivar wanted to belay us down the first sections. I didn’t mind, as a) it would save us some time and b) I’ve done plenty of rappelling before.
Anne followed next.
The first couple of pitches were long, but pure fun.
I forgot to count the number of rappels, but I think it was 5 in total. Ivar offered to let us do some rappels on our own, but we were very happy with the belay – saving us time.
Eventually, everyone was down from the climbing section and Ivar was eager to get us off the rockfall zone. Back on the ridge trail, we took our climbing equipment off and headed back to the trailhead. We returned there 4:23pm, which means the trip lasted 6 hours. After saying goodbye to Signe and Atle, Ivar gave us a ride down to Halsen, where Karma went totally nuts when I opened the door.
We said goodbye to Ivar, thanking him for superb guiding and company before moving on. We drove to Oppeid to buy groceries and there we met Signe and Atle again. They invited us have dinner with them at their rented “palace”at Helland Gård. That was very nice. We enjoyed tasty burgers and delicious salads. They also worked with IT development and after I got my PC up and running, the cabin looked like a command central.
It was time to find a place to camp for the night. We found a turnout on the way back to Oppeid. We wanted to stay in the region as Anne wanted to visit Hamsundsenteret in the morning.
It was just one of those days you will remember as – GOOD!
Trip statistics: 4,2km, 400 vertical meters, 6 hours
Pictures (Canon EOS RP/Iphone):