Sunday, August 21, 2011

Gullknausen, the Northern Jewel

The island of Kvaloya was formed, the guidebook says, as part of Greenland, before it actually parted from Norway some 100 million years ago on a sail West.  The island is incredible in its abundance of high-quality granite, tilted in all possible directions, and most of the time providing a stunning view to the neighbouring fjords below.  It is both beautiful and remote, hanging on the edge among the rocky and harsh world as we know it, the still arctic waters, the never-ending skyline, and out-of-space light that colonises it in summer, as opposed to all-day night that settles comfortably throughout the winter.

Nothing represents Kvaloya in all its full-blown colours and mind-blowing airy, watery, and rocky atmosphere as the Gullknausen.  Discovered accidentally by Svein Smelvaer from aboard a fishing boat called "Fidel",  the name given to the first 8a bolted on the main wall, it is a white-orangy 70-meter wonder hanging off the rims of the fjord, that any climber would go to some length to get a belay on.  It has been my immense pleasure to have a video shot by our talented cameraman Paul Diffley of my attempts, and final midnight redpoint of Golden Shower, an awesome line up the main wall, bathed in afternoon, and then night, sun, while the other members of the Gore-Tex team were busy with other projects: Helena and Donald multipitching on Flikkflak, and Dave working the yet unclimbed extension of "Fidel", supposedly a bouldery problem around 8b+:

Sports Climbing at Gullknausen, Norway from Hot Aches Productions on Vimeo.

Thanks Paul!  Below are more pictures of this incredible crag, one of the more stunning locations I have sport climbed in:

Donald climbing Flikkflak, as the guidebook says: "best 6b+ around (in Norway, Europe, and even on...)

 Incredible sunset over the unending ocean (picture by Paul Diffley)

Myself during the second attempt at Golden Shower (picture by Paul Diffley)

View from the ledge with the evening sun

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