Helena descending to the base of Baugen, Hollenderan
To change a little from our sport-climbing routine, we (part of the Gore-Tex team constituted by Helena, Donald, and myself) decided to start big-walling with a small big wall, that is Baugen, an inviting and well-advertised South face, mentioned both in the guidebook and by Par to me as "the most fabulous crack climbing around in Norway". It all started, as most climbing on Kvaloya, with a long approach. We took the steep trail up from Grotfjord, that started wet, but finished rather quickly up the col with a beautiful view down to the TKK hut and the range of mountains to the right of it (picture above).
Given that it rained heavily the day before, we opted for the proper South face of Baugen, and having hard time choosing the route out of all the three-star possibilities, decided on Alexis, described in the guidebook as "nice from the first meter" and proposing as desert the "wavy dihedral" as the crux lay-back pitch.
Donald following the second pitch on Alexis
The climbing reminded me a lot of cracks around Envers des Aiguilles in Chamonix, with numerous small and big cracks, well exposed to the sun, although still rather humid from the downpour the day before. As the rock kept drying, we kept progressing up the route, quickly dealing with the difficulties on the way up, the word of the day being "layback". I got rather pumped leading the "wavy dihedral", but it finished quickly and the cams seemed solid all the way. After another extraordinary crack pitch that kept Donald grunting for a short lay-backing while, and a last fun experience with a short hand-jam section that Helena led, we happily made it to the top.
Helena at the start of the last pitch
The unfortunate part about Hollenderan in a day is that you still have to go down afterwards. This time we walked out following the Blamannsvikdalen, pleasant and blueberry-filled walk, that still appeared much too long to our tired legs. Good warm-up for the future big big-walling plans though.
Myself on top of Alexis