Aka. The summer that was, part 2
I first visited Hanshelleren in Flatanger about 5-6 years ago.
Back then I was recovering from a broken arm, and in a weekend I only just managed to get up a 7a+..
Fortunately much has happened since then:)
As I was driving up from Sogndal in my, still clinging to life, VW Camper, I was really psyched to view the cave again with new "stronger" eyes.
Flatanger has gotten a lot of focus in the climbing media this year, this of course mainly because of the best rock climber in the world today, Adam Ondra, establishing the worlds first 9b+ here this fall. (Yes that´s right, the hardest route in the world is now in Norway!)
Because of this I find that a lot of people think this is a newly discovered area, and that the cave itself is called Flatanger.
I will correct that right now... Flatanger is the name of the area, an area with several walls and loads of potential for more, the cave itself is called Hanshelleren.
"Jarle looking up at Hanshelleren, some of the other walls in Flatanger in the background"
It is not really a new area either, people have been climbing in Hanshelleren for about 20 years, that is longer then Adam Ondra has been alive:)
"Støm in Flatanger seen from the approach to Hanshelleren. The festival camp at the farm to the left"
Before it´s recent attention, the hardest route in Hanshelleren was no harder then 8b. This due to Flatanger being in the middle of nowhere, around a 3 hours drive from the nearest city (whit a community of climbers), Trondheim, my hometown, and of course the fact that Norwegians before Magnus Midtbø never reached a level higher then 8c..
In Hanshelleren, like in most cave features, the wall gets less steep towards the sides. The sidewall here is still overhanging, huge, well featured and would be a great crag on it´s own. And yes, you guessed it, this is where the old routes are mainly located.
"Malin Holmberg at the final anchor (not even half way up the wall) of kykkelikokos (7b+, 30m) on Hanshellerens sidewall"
"Magnus belaying Jakob on the second accent of Helt på Kanten 8a, the sidewall in the background"
"Jakob on the second accent of Helt på Kanten 8a, the inner part of the cave behind him"
The inner part of the cave, now featuring the hardest lines, was mostly left alone as something for the future.
In light of resent events, or more to the point, accents, I guess one can say that that future is now upon us.
"Lars Ole trying the first "hard" new line inside the cave, Nordic Flower 8c/+"
My trip to Flatanger this year (late june) was unfortunately not just to hang out and climb, but also to work as an instructor at the climbing festival.
This meant that I could not climb in the cave during some of the best conditions in the morning and during the day, but had to wait until the evening on most of my days.
Still, getting payed to be there and getting to do some climbing is not such a bad deal :)
On my first day in the cave I immediately got on a old project left by a friend of mine (Steini).
I got some beta from Tarjei that it was sharp and that the start was very hard or even unclimbed, but as the rest of the wall was in the sun, I decided to give it a go anyway and decide for myself.
To my eyes the project looked both doable and not to sharp. It also offered the potentially to make a hard first accent.
The start did indeed involve maybe the hardest move on the whole route, but after a few tries we found a weird almost above the head kneebar beta that somehow worked.
I got in a few goes, but after falling in the redpoint crux in the middle a few times, I realised I would need at least another day to get it done.
"Me on the redpoint crux undercling sequence"
When Sindre and Jarle then showed up keen to try, I did not see any point in trying to keep them from it, after all the route was an open project.
After Sindre and Jarle had gone through the moves once, Magnus also showed up and asked if he could have an on-sight attempt.
As I mentioned before the start boulder was super weird and technical and I had serious doubts that even Magnus would be able to figure it out on-sight.
"Magnus on-sight on the technical start crux"
Magnus, more technical then he maybe gets credit for, showed skills and found the kneebar after just a little hanging around. After the start he easily managed to muscle his way through the rest for the on-sight first accent of Dverg Trollet 8a+ (norwegian 9-/9).
"Magnus on-sighting the final crux of Dverg Trollet 8a+ on the first accent"
Sindre then closely followed with a second accent.
"Sindre at the end of the mid crux on the second accent of Dverg Trollet 8a+"
I came back 2 more evenings, once with Lars Ole who got the third accent, and at last again with Sindre before I finally managed to get up as number 4, the first accent long forgotten, just happy to get up:)
As I was teaching on the more beginner friendly walls down by the festival camp during the "Pro comp" on Odins Eye, I did not get any pictures of Magnus, Ethan or Dani´s attempts..
After the festival I did how ever get up in my rope to capture Ethan Pringle´s first accent of his monster 50 meter link-up route, Nordic Plummer (8c+).
The Plummer starts in Nordic Flower and climbs most of the hard first part of this (8b+) before branching of into a 7b+-ish new section of 4-5 bolts put up by Ethan before joining the second pitch of Magnus project, a super pumpy 8b.
(The full two pitches of Magnus project was later done by Adam Ondra and named Thors Hammer 9a+.)
"Ethan bolting the link. First anchor of Thors to the left, the draws going right is Nordic"
"Ethan in one of the many kneebars people don´t seem to find on the first part of Nordic Flower"
"Ethan using some funky beta on the second crux of Nordic Flower part 1 (8b+)"
"Ethan in the middle of Thors Hammers second pitch. The belayers tiny head can be seen down in the middle of the picture"
"Ethan still looking strong after 40 meters in the roof"
"Ethan on his first link attempt just before pumping out on the final crux rail"
"Ethan on the final pumpy crux rail on the first accent of Nordic Plummer 8c+"