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The route (roughly outlined)
The distinct, dark gully to the right above the red building
The story about the German activity on Hessa during WW2 is a long one, and will not be discussed here. But by coincindence, I learned that the Germans had some sort of path up to a ledge that was an important look-out post. The path was not a path in the normal sense of the word, but consisted AT LEAST of an iron ladder in the steepest section. Traces can still be seen.
I wanted to explore this route, and had previously attempted to climb it. An airy section above the large boulder field (above Hessa Stadion) made me turn around. July 12th 2006, I came back with a 6m chain and 3 slings + a carabiner. I had also brough an ice-axe. The idea was to secure the roughest section.
I climbed up "Trollråsa", signed the new guestbook, and then descended down to the ledge that used to be the look-out post. The initial descent of the forest ridge was easy, but then things got more complicated. I could see traces from the ladder on the mountain, on my left-hand side. The obvious route for me was a narrow gully that ran approx. 15m straight down. I attached the chain to a tree (using a sling and the carabiner) and climbed half-way. It was a steep climb, even if I had a chain to hold on to. I would never have attepted this section unroped on the first encounter.
Things got further difficult. I had two slings left, and I joined them. Now, I could climb down to the very last section of the gully. This section was narrow, and I could barely fit in it. I decided not to proceed without a safety measure, climbed up and brought back one of the slings. I used a rock that was jammed in the gully as the anchor for the sling, but getting the sling around the rock took me at least 5 minutes.
I was forced to descend face-in, and hoped the sling was long enough. It wasn't. I was hanging with my face glued to the mountain and didn't see the ground below me, because of bush. It wasn't far, but I didn't know exactly how far. I strongly considered climbing up again, but being SO CLOSE raised the creativity level. I pulled myself back up, pulled out the ice-axe from the backpack, and joined the two slings. FINALLY, I felt the ground below me.
I made my way through the remaining forest, CONFIDENT that I was down and only had the boulder field left. I was completely STUNNED when I discovered that I was only half-way down. And I was out of safety options. After some careful climbing, I realised that I was now on top of the section that I initially had planned to secure. The thought of climbing back up was now overwhelming, but, but ... I had no phone, no one knew where I was, and the dog was waiting in the car. I had every reason to make the right decision.
I decided to see how far I could get in a safe manner. Bush was now my safety device, and I managed to climb the last section after having spent an hour up in the cliffs. A very "memorable" descent, it was. The plan now is to climb back up and collect the gear. I will bring the camera then. Stay tuned..
After having visited Saudehornet (1303m), I headed out to Hessa to pick up my slings that I had left three days earlier. I met Olav by the "Trollråsa" mailbox, and he joined me for a little while. The plan was to rappel down, pick up the slings in the upper section, and rappel down the lower section too. I am a bit novice in this area, and spent too much time untangling the rope from bush and smaller trees in the gully. Down by the first sling, I gave up rappeling and attached a sling to the rope, acting as a prusik. That worked fine, and I could use both hands.
After having picked up the lowermost sling, I climbed back up from the crack it sat in and discovered that the rope was jammed at the bottom of the crack. After a few minutes of "tossing and turning", I got the rope back. I was rather fed up with this terrain by now, and time went fast. I decided to wrap it up, climb back up and descend "Trollråsa". The whole event took nearly two hours. The chain I left July 12 is still there, but it doesn't do much good as the whole upper gully needs to be secured. Anyone got a 20m rope to spare?
It isn't easy getting a good impression from these pictures. Why I am wearing a hat in the middle of July? I don't want ticks in my skull..
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