Norwegian Mountains, Møre og Romsdal

"Tyskerstien" (The German path), July 12 2006

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The route (roughly outlined)

The route

The distinct, dark gully to the right above the red building

The route

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..

Tyskerstien upper part, July 15 2006

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?

Pictures from July 15 2006

1. Olav is on the mountain too (303KB) 2. Heading down to Tyskerstien (328KB) 3. Olav wishes me good luck (157KB) 4. Me getting ready in the gully (325KB) 5. Harness on (352KB) 6. Narrow crack at the bottom of the upper gully (344KB) 7. Nice afternoon colors (194KB) 8. The same crack (300KB) 9. Climbing back up (259KB) 10. Looking back down (302KB)

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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