On 15th July, the Austrians Markus Haid & Hansjorg Auer made the first 1-day free ascent of ´Arctandria´ on the North Wall of Blamannen on the island of Kvaloya in Norway. Even though the ascent was more than a month ago, what is newsworthy about it is the style and difficulty. The route is 10 pitches(450m) long, all trad and has a crux pitch at f8b – which roughly equates to E8/9 territory. What is even more impressive is that the pair climbed the route after only a few days reconnaissance. They also decided to place all gear on lead and to attempt a team free style ascent – this is where both the leader and second free climb the route without any falls. The style of ascent alongside the difficulty must rate highly as one of the mountaineering / climbing achievements of the year.

Hansjorg on the balancy crux pitch, f8b. Photo by Marten Blixt

If the name Hansjorg Auer rings a bell, it may be because of his other out there climbing achievement this year. At the end of April he soloed the famous Via Attraverso il Pesce (The Fish – 7b+, 900m) on the South face of the Marmolada in the Dolomites. See planetFear news story on that ascent here>> More information, including photos and a report from Hansjorg available at planetMountain>> Information on the climbing (bigwall, sport & trad) on the island of Kvaloya here>>