Secteur Laerdal (Norvège)
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Présentation de la cascade : - Présentation générale de l'ascension : LÆRDAL: ICE CLIMBING GUIDE
Map: Statens Kartverk 1:50000 Turkart No. 2529
Valley Base: Lærdalsøyri is the main town at the foot of the valley with shops,
garage, a cultural
centre with pub/restaurant and a café.
Accommodation: Lærdal Feriepark is the main campsite in the valley and is open in
winter, offering comfortable heated cabins and apartments; full information on:
www.laerdalferiepark.com , tel: +47 57 66 66 95.
Topography and Layout: The main Lærdalen runs a twisting course eastwards for
40km from Lærdalsøyri at sea level on a branch of the Sognefjord to Borlaug at
500m where the E16 and RN 52 routes join. There are two major side valleys,
Råsdalen and Tynjadalen, which run south from the lower section of Lærdalen. The
enclosing mountains are between 1400 and 1600m in altitude and in most sectors
the valley walls rise precipitously to well over 1000m in height.
The known ice climbing potential of the valley can be divided into five main sections:
1) Lærdalsfjorden and Erdal
2) Lower Lærdalen
4) Mid- Lærdalen
5) Hoggeberg and Upper Lærdalen
Season and Climbing Conditions: Lærdal offers ice climbing at all altitudes from sea
level to 1100m. Very few places in the valley receive any sunlight between December
and February, and given a couple of weeks of cold weather low-level waterfalls can
come into condition early in the season. By late-January most higher–volumes
waterfalls are frozen and usually remain so until mid-March. By contrast lower level
ice and any falls that have southerly aspect usually melt or collapse by the end of
Weather Forecasts: www.yr.no gives detailed outlooks by town and region (in
ICE CLIMBING SECTORS:
1) Lærdalsfjorden and Erdal:
Vikaberget (grid ref MN154147, aspect NNW, altitude 400-550m) A major icefall 3km
Lærdalsøyri, overlooking the fjord. Take the road W signposted Vindedalen from the
by the feriepark and hotel. Approach by a rising traverse from Hjellen farm in Erdal
(1¼ hr). The stream below the main fall may sometimes freeze allowing a continuous
ascent direct from the road at sea level at WI 3 standard.
Main Fall 180m IV, WI 5 (climbed direct) or WI 4 (climbed on left side): an excellent
scenic route giving a steep second pitch then three pleasant slabby pitches of WI
3/3+ to the top;
descent by abseil.
LÆRDAL: ICE CLIMBING GUIDE
Left-hand Fall 90m IV, WI 5 : a steep ramp 50m L of the main fall offers a fine
sustained 2- pitch route
Other climbing: With a good freeze and generous water flow the cliff–band 400m E
of the main fall will provide some superb testing climbs of 120m in strongly-featured
rock with mixed climbing potential.
Stigagjeli: (MN 145732, aspect W, alt. 600-700m) “The Stig” 130m II, WI 3 A nice
3-pitch beginner’s icefall tucked away up in Erdal, well seen from the valley road
(288). Park at road-end past Sel farm. Approach by footpath towards Mork for 1km
then cut up on N side of Stigagjeli valley, traversing into the gorge at 460m (1½hr).
Descend by abseil. The fall will be buried after heavy snowfall.
2) Lower Lærdalen
Stødnafossen (MN 192763, aspect S, alt. 250m) This accessible low level fall is 80-
100m high and will freeze in early season to give good sport at WI 4+/5 standard;
fully exposed to the sun so rarely in condition after early February.
Haugsgjel (MN 213727, aspect NW, alt. 500-700m) Main Fall 240m IV, WI 4+/5 (with
lefthand start) V, WI 5/5+ (with central start) A superb climb in a wild box canyon,
and well worth the 500m slog to its base; in condition most of the season. Leave the
road on the E side of Lærdalselvi just S of Haug farm; cross fields and climb through
birch-wood to the boulder-field in the lower canyon; ascend the boulders to the
sharp right-turn into the upper canyon; mainly snow from here for 130m to the base
of the route (1¾- 2hr).
The Left-Hand route has a sustained 1st pitch of 55m, a shorter second wall of 25m,
then traverses R to climb a central line through the upper tiers in three pitches;
descend by abseils down the ice.
The Central start is steeper and harder, with difficult ice formations and some water
There are two lines in the final tier right of the normal route which look to offer wild
40m pitches of WI 5+/6.
Systrene (MN 217684, aspect NNW, alt. 300-600m) The “Three Sisters” drop in
lovely threads down the forested slopes of Boahovden. They give long attractive
routes with potential for thin sections of watery ice on slabby ground, but often melt
out after mid-season. 1hr approach slog up woods from Grøtøyane. Descend by
Left-hand Sister V, WI 5+, 400m First recorded in 1984 by Dave Brearshears and
thin and delicate to start, then easier; could be a grade easier in thicker ice
Central and Right-hand lines Both look in the WI 4+/5 range but grade will depend
on ice build-up.
Bøafossen (MN 228686, aspect NNE, alt. 200m) IV, WI 4, 90m An eye-catching line
just above the valley floor; formation requires sustained cold as the water flow is
considerable; usually melts out in early February; offers a good 2 pitch climb just 15
min off the valley backroad at Bø.
Gørigrovi (MN234683, aspect NNE, alt. 200-300m) A steep diagonal cascade close
to the valley floor offering a 3-4 pitch route when frozen.
LÆRDAL: ICE CLIMBING GUIDE
Sandbakkfossen, Engelfossen, Kattgjelfossen (MN225700, aspect S, alt. 200-800m)
These three cascades drop into the valley between Øygard and Nedre, and are
easily accessed from the E16. They offer pioneering gully expeditions with 500-
600m height gain and large steep ice pitches. No records of any climbing have yet
been discovered. Due to the southerly aspect the ice in these chasms is likely to
melt out after early Feb. If any pitches are missing it would be difficult to find ways
to climb round, because the enclosing walls are steep or slabby.
Råsdalen is a splendidly wild side-valley, running south from the hamlet of Mo. A
rough public road runs 8km up the valley to an altitude of 640m but in winter this is
normally impassable beyond the hairpins at 3½km. Lærdal’s biggest and hardest ice
routes are to be found here, and they rank with any in the world for scale and
Thorfossen (MN 284670, aspect WSW, alt.500-1000m) VI, WI 6, 500m (climbed
direct all on ice), VI, WI 6, M8 (climbed direct with dry tooling to gain the icicle), VI,
WI 5+ (with detour to avoid first tier of upper fall).
This waterfall drops down the hanging canyon of Haukeligrovi, and has an immense
vertical upper plunge of 300m and a 90m lower section. For magnificence of
surroundings and sustained quality climbing this climb has few peers, whichever
way it is climbed. Ice quality is usually good and the season lasts till mid-March
when increasing sun-exposure renders the upper pitches brittle and dangerous.
The first ascent appears to have been done by Guy Lacelle and party, using the
detour and traverse to avoid the first pitch of the upper tier, which rarely forms. In
2005 Will Gadd and Andreas Spak climbed the upper tier direct gaining the icicle by
15m of bolt-protected M8 climbing. In the exceptional year of 2006 the icicle was
fully formed and was climbed by Slovenians Aljaž Anderle and Klemen Premrl and by
Ines Papert and party.
Park by the road in lower Råsdalen, directly below the Haukelgrovi and walk 450m
up through woods into the lower gully (1¼hr). A full 60m of sustained WI 5 and a
further 40m of WI 4 gain the amphitheatre below the upper fall. For the traversing
option go to the R edge of the amphitheatre and climb 60m of WI 3 to gain a big
terrace. Traverse 120m back L across this (45-50°, potential avalanche risk, no
belays) to gain the fall at the base of the second tier. One 60m pitch of WI 5/5+ and
shorter pitch of WI 4 lead to a short slope below the final tiers, which are climbed in
two pitches of 45m and 40m (WI 5+, potentially difficult formations due to water
spray at exit). Descend by 7 abseils (threaded rope anchor at top for first abseil).
The direct route up the upper tier gives a 25m WI 6 free-standing pillar (when
formed) followed by 50m of sustained WI 5+. The Gadd-Spak mixed option is well-
protected by 6 bolts and a peg but is fierce.
Kvignagrovi (MN 285665, aspect W, alt. 400-1000m) “Fokus” VI, WI 6, 500m The
next canyon S of Haukelgrovi contains another monster route, climbed by Gadd and
Spak in 2005.
The first ascent party encountered “glasshouses of icicles”, “like slamming your
axes into a tower of beer bottles…”, culminating in a tiptoe round the damoclean
icicle of “Mr Death”. With solid blue ice they reckoned that the route could go at
sustained WI 5, but it will always be a grade VI in overall length and commitment.
The route has two sections, and the base is gained by walking up a scree slope in
½-¾ hr from the road. The lower fall surmounts steep rock walls and gives 3 major
pitches of WI 5 and 6,
LÆRDAL: ICE CLIMBING GUIDE
followed by easier ice to the upper gully. It is possible to avoid the lower tier by
scrambling up tree-covered slabs S of the waterfall.
The upper fall offers 200m of WI 5 and 6 leading to Mr Death, which is quitted on
the R side (WI 6, 50m), and an easier 60m finishing pitch.
The first ascent party descended the S edge of the canyon by scrambling and short
abseils, but a direct descent of the ice by abseil is better recommended, so long as
there is no imminent danger of falling ice. The climb has probably not yet had a
Kjorlifossen (MN 297635, aspect NW, alt. 600-1000m) V, WI 5, 400m This is a major
icefall, well-seen when looking down Råsdalen from the E16 in the main valley, and
gives an excellent classic climb. The condition of the fall depends crucially on the
first pitch where the water flow is channelled over an overhang. This needs a long
spell of cold weather to freeze. The fall will usually be climbable from mid-Jan to
mid-Mar, and the NW aspect protects the upper fall from severe melting.
Park in the valley (don’t risk taking cars much beyond the hairpins when there is
heavy snow) and follow the streambed 300m up into a snow bowl (¾-1¼ hr). The
first pitch forms an impressive 50m candle and is often watery (WI 5 or even 5+).
200m of easier ice (WI 2/3) or snow-plodding leads to the upper fall. 90m of WI 4
gain the steep 100m headwall, which is usually climbed on the R side (steep grooves
followed by awkward bulges, sustained WI 5).
Descend by abseil down the ice.
“No Country for Old Men” (MN 295630, aspect WNW, alt. 600-800m) IV, WI 4, 180m
This fine slabby waterslide is well-seen from the Råsdalen valley road where it
surmounts a rise 1km after the hairpins. The fall lies ¾ km S of the Kjorlifossen and
gives an enjoyable mid-grade outing.
Park and walk along the valley road until ¾ km beyond the Kjorlifossen stream. Cut
up through woods and trend L up to the base of the fall (1¼-1½hr). Three pitches of
sustained WI 3 and 4 (70-75°) lead to a steep but short exit (WI 4+ if climbed
direct). Descend by abseil down the ice.
Øydalsfossen (MN 297616, aspect W, alt. 800m) This fall lies at the roadhead in
Råsdalen, and in winter would only be accessible on snow-shoes or skis. The fall
carries a major drainage line and is unlikely to exceed 100m in height; definitely one
for the pioneering instinct!
Nysoetri (MN 286629, aspect ESE, alt. 700-850m) This savage band of overhanging
cliffs sports many hanging pillars of ice and could be magnificent arena for mixed
climbing. A party with drill and bolts plus plenty of ability and commitment is invited.
The venue is exposed to the morning sun after mid-February so early-season
climbing is recommended.
4) Mid- Lærdalen
Seltunfossen (MN 301687, aspect N, alt. 500-650m) V, WI 4+/5, 180m This wide
icefall on the S side of the valley offers a magnificent classic with room for several
independent lines across its 100m width. The fall lies on the L branch of the
Fossagrovi stream, above Seltun farm.
Although the fall faces N it forms over rock slabs and may collapse after a long thaw,
but it is usually in condition from Jan to early March. Park on a side-spur of the E16
directly below the fall. It is often possible to ascend the lower stream on ice (WI 3+)
to gain the bowl beneath the fall; otherwise scramble up the R side of the stream,
crossing to the L side where the angle eases
(¾hr). Climb the fall in 4 pitches of 50m each, usually slightly easier on the R side
4+ and 5). Descend by abseil down the ice.
LÆRDAL: ICE CLIMBING GUIDE
Fossagrovi (MN 299686, aspect NNE, alt. 600m) IV, WI 4-5+, 100m The main stream
valley R (E) of the Seltunfossen steepens to a fine plug of ice which offers several 2
Approach as for the Seltunfossen then scramble R up main stream valley to the
5) Hoggeberg and Upper Lærdalen
Hoggeberg (MN 355667, aspect N, alt. 500-600m) The old Lærdal road makes a
tight southward loop through the gorge between Husum and Borgund. Turn off the
main E16 200m E of the Seltun tunnel and follow the old road for 3km past Husum
into the gorge. On the S side of the loop a fine line of icefalls forms on a rocky tier
low on the N-facing Hoggeberg slope and
these offer an ideal arena for training or shorter days, with a series of enjoyable 80m
lines at III, WI 3, 4 and 5. Park at Grimsøyn farm, cross the footbridge and follow the
farm track up a series of loops until just below the L end of the iced tier (½hr). Cut
up to the base of the tier, then traverse R along the base of the icefalls and choose a
line. Short technical problems on steep pillars and hanging icicle abound. Trees
offer good abseil points at the cliff-top.
To the R of Neshagen farm a lower tier sports several fine 25m hanging icicles.
Approach by crossing the bridge then turning R and scrambling up through the
Upper Hoggeberg (MN 347667, aspect NE, alt. 800-900m) The cliffs up and R of
the main Hoggeberg icefalls sport a spectacular hanging icicle and offer possibilities
for short dramatic mixed climbs. From Grimsøyn farm cross the bridge, traverse R
along the river bank, then climb 450m up the relentless wooded slopes to the cliff
base. In drier icy conditions this could be done most entertainingly by following the
stream bed on low angle ice (1¼-1½hr). A 60m slabby ice pitch of WI 3 gains the
base of the hanging candle.
“Big Bertha” WI 6, 80m The icicle may form to give a slender pillar but also develops
thick ice against the rock behind. An ascent should therefore usually be possible. An
introductory pitch of WI 4+ gains a cave beneath the icicle. On the 1st ascent the
pillar was gained on the L side and climbed to a watery exit (35m). Abseil from trees
to the L of the exit (1 x 60m just reaches the ramp below the route).
Heggsnosi (MN 726411, aspect SW, alt. 800-900m) The slopes of the Heggsnosi in
Lærdal have several ice lines. These can become banked out and covered after
heavy snowfall or else readily melt out in a sunny spell. The main icefall in the
stream above Hegg Farm is an obvious objective and is usually in condition until
early Mar despite its SW aspect.
Heggfossen IV, WI 4+ (with top-pitch climbed n L side) WI 5 (top pitch climbed
Park in lay-bys on the main road and climb 300m up the gully bed or scree slopes on
its R to gain the base of the icefall (1hr). Two long pitches of WI 3 and WI 4 gain a
snow bay beneath the main 40m pillar. Either climb this direct (sustained WI 5) or by
a groove on its L side (WI
4+). Abseil down the ice. Localisation :- Accès routier : From Bergen take the E16 via Voss, Gudvangen and Aurland (3-3½hr, normally clear
From Oslo take the E16 via Hønefoss and Fagernes (4-4 ½ hr, high fjell section often
closed by snow). Alternatively, from Oslo go to Hønefoss, then take the RN7 to Gol,
RN52 to Hemsedal (ski and ice climbing centre) continuing over the Hemsedalfjellet
(1200m) to Lærdal (4½ -5hr, 1½ hr from Hemsedal).
Informations diverses :
"Station météo la plus proche:https://www.infoclimat.fr/observations-meteo/temps-
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