Norwegian Mountains, Møre og Romsdal
Mohns Topp & Bladet, Aug 4 2008
Mohns Topp is approx. 1359m and Bladet is approx. 1300m.
To the main Molladalstindane page (maps, route descriptions, etc.)
To me, "Bladet" (The Blade) is not about showing off rock climbing skills or being bold and brave. It's about being with good mates and having pure fun on a very cool pinnacle in a spectactular landscape. This August '08 trip to Bladet had also other elements that made the trip an unforgettable one, or epic, as I'd like to call the unforgettable ones.
My friends from the UK; Anna, Matt and Joe had a wish to climb Bladet during their summer vacation in Norway. I shared the same wish, and with Matt as the natural lead climber, it was just a matter of finding a good day. The forecast for this Monday evening was mixed. The weather symbols were clouds and sunshine above Molladalen, although the animation revealed some rainshowers. But as this Monday was quite sunny, we decided to take the trip in the afternoon. I also invited my friend Terje (who also was most keen on this pinnacle)
I worked out a detailed execution plan, starting backwards. I wanted to be down by 11PM, mostly because of darkness, but also because of the ferry. I estimated 2 hours for descent, which meant we needed to end the climbing at 9pm. I estimated 2 hours for 4 or 5 persons to climb Bladet, which meant we would start the climbing 7pm. The final estimation was 3 hours to Bladet, with 4pm as departure time from Molladalen.
We met at Festøya, 3:30pm, and the trip had a troublesome start. Putting stuff of value on the car roof is only acceptable if this stuff is removed from the roof before the car goes into motion. However, thanks to honest and helpful people, this episode got a happy ending.
Only slightly behind schedule, we were on our way up Molladalen in light rain and fog. Looking back towards the sunny Ålesund wasn't very helpful. We had not really dressed for this kind of weather, and morale was a bit low when we reached Lake Storevatnet (slightly ahead of schedule..). Not a single peak could be seen, and we were getting slightly cold. It wasn't tempting to put on jackets now, as we had several hours ahead of us on this mountain.
But suddenly, the rain stopped and the fog began to lift. The great peaks of Molladalen appeared one by one. The sun came out and there was blue sky above. Morale was rising by the minute. Without any further stops, we continued up the Mohnsrenna couloir, which was a bit more awkward, now that the snow had melted. As we were 15 minutes ahead of schedule ("that bloody schedule!"), we had time to visit Mohns Topp. Anna and Matt had become familiar with "Sunnmøre exposure" on Hundatinden, but Joe was a bit surprised about this new type of terrain. "Blimey!" was frequently heard along the ridge to the summit.
It didn't take long before we got organized. Matt was leading and sat two running belays before reaching the top. He enjoyed the climb, but decided to climb back down after clipping the rope into the carabiner found at the top (we knew the carabiner and one sling had recently been put there).
I was next. "You'll fly up", Matt said to me as he belayed me. Well, I didn't fly, but man, I enjoyed this climb. I reckoned grade (4 on the Norwegian scale) was very generous, although I'm really not too familiar with these grades. I had to stand on top, of course. Matt didn't want me to, but let me govern my own business up there. Falling the wrong way could have meant taking the slings and the carabiner along with me, so I could see his point. But if I thought there was a resonable chance of falling (not taking lightning into the equation), I never would have stood up.
Once Terje had taken the mandatory picture, it was time to take a GPS waypoint. I thought I heard Anna say "he's taking waypoints..." down below. My "scheduled stay" on top had come to an end, and I announced to Matt that he should lower me down. That went quite smooth and easy, and shortly after, I could claim a successful climb of Bladet.
Terje was next. His job was to eject the two nuts that Matt so firmly had placed. His climb to the top went well too, and stood upright while smiling from ear to ear. His descent was tougher than the climb, as Matt slipped on the snow and Terje had a 5m "free fall". If the summit wasn't thrillseeking enough, I bet the free fall was. He was never in danger, of course. The rope never ran through the ATC/stitchplate.
Anna and Joe were the last ones to climb. As expected, they got up and down quite nicely. The setting was just brilliant; we were on a glacier, with view down to a blue Hjørundfjord and the green valleys. Black rainshowers and white fog moved in, resulting in marvellous rainbows and evening light. The continuous sound of thunder justified in the "let's wrap this up" message. We were half an hour ahead of schedule, and everything was just great.
Mohnsrenna was a bit of a scare. A medium-sized rock broke loose and reminded us all of the danger of rockfall. The scrambling sections were extremely slippery after the rain, and great caution had to be applied. Away from the couloir, it was a delight to "ski" down the remaining slopes of snow. Some bloody bruises were the outcome for the one who chose to glissade summer snow on the butt. Fortunately, this episode ended good, but it had potential to end much worse. There were lessons to be learned for everyone.
The light in Molladalen was spectacular. This mind-boggling mix of evening shades and colors, painted on these majestic rock features, peaks and pinnacles was something I'll never forget. I don't thing I've ever seen nature this beautiful before. Except for Utah. Nothing beats Utah. And I'm rather confident that my friends from the UK will remember Molladalen for a long time to come, too.
We were back at the trailhead 10:50pm, 10 minutes ahead of schedule and just before dark, and were in good shape for the 11:15pm ferry from Festøya (the next one leaving one hour later). A "schedule" really isn't what you want on a trip like this, but sometimes it may be of use...
The pictures were taken with a Canon EOS 300D + Canon EF-S 17-85mm IS USM F 4-5.6
(Full size images)
(Images scaled down.
To the Randers - Mohns ridge
To Mohns Topp
View from Mohns Topp
Matt climbs Bladet
Anna, and finally Joe