Fossegrimen (UIAA VI-), Setesdal

Plan A had been to visit Romsdal for the week but there was too much rain forecast in the North. Particularly along the coast. Staying in Southern Norway looked to be the safer option if we wanted some mileage. The new plan would be first Setesdal and then Rogaland, which would hopefully offer some contrasting variety. The former would provide some long multipitch slab climbs and when we were bored of slabs there would be some steeper single pitch climbing waiting for us in Rogaland. After my brief ice climbing trip to Setesdal in February I was curious to return in the summer months.

Anna was still finding her feet on long, more committing, multi-pitch routes so a bolted friction slab looked a good medium with which to progress, as no doubt we would climb it comparatively quickly. There was the minor issue of spaced bolts (one pitch had three bolts in 60m for example) but I anticipated there would be protection where needed. Plus we were feeling tuned to the rock after some single pitch climbing at nearby Løefjell the previous day.

A route called Fossegrimen, near the village of Bø, looked a fine objective. Thirteen pitches of climbing stretching over 770m. For the large part the climbing was easy. Often there was little in the way of holds but sufficient friction for the feet without too much precision. Despite the spaced bolting there were enough to keep us on the right track and protect the bits that really mattered. Most of the bolted routes in the region were put up by Germans and in true German efficiency nearly every pitch was the full length of our 60m ropes. A couple of grade V steps offered some minor resistance and the crux moves, undercutting a horizontal lip around a corner, needed particular care, as did the featureless slab above. The top pitches were some of the easiest 'climbing' that I have done. It is possible to run up grade UIAA I friction slabs...

The route
We completed the route by 1pm in time for lunch at the top. The climb had a 'big day out' feel, on clean rock, and some fine vistas of the valley, which made it arguably the highlight of the trip. The only way down was by abseil so attention was needed to the ends of the ropes given the 60m belay spacings. Trying to throw the rope more than about 20m down the slabs was impossible due to the horizontal displacement with each pitch but with little shrubbery for the ropes to catch on the descent was an easy and speedy affair. Our hands were black from the rope by the time we reached the base of the climb. Next visit we need to try one of the similar length trad lines. There is also a route with a canoe approach that I have my eye on...

Pitch 2 (UIAA IV+)
Pitch 4 (UIAA V)
Edgeing around the undercut corner on pitch 9 (UIAA VI-)
The thin slab beyond the corner (UIAA VI-)
The final pitch (UIAA I)
Top of the route
Bottom of the route

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