Troll Wall

The Troll Wall ( _no. Trollveggen) is part of the mountain massif Trolltindene (Troll Peaks) in the Romsdal valley, near Åndalsnes and Molde, on the Norwegian west coast. Troll Wall is the tallest vertical rock face in Europe, 1100 meters from the base to the summit at its tallest. At its steepest, the summit overhangs the base by nearly fifty meters.

The rock is gneiss, and its large formations are shaping a broken face of huge corners, concave roofs, and crack systems, topped with a unique series of spires and pinnacles parading the summit rim. The rock is generally loose, and rock fall is the norm in this immense north facing big wall. A series of huge rock falls swiped the wall in autumn 1998, radically changing the character of several climbing routes.

The Troll Wall has been a prestigious goal for climbers and BASE jumpers alike. In 1984 Carl Boenish, the "father" of BASE jumping, was killed on the Troll Wall shortly after setting the world record for the highest BASE jump in history. BASE jumping from Troll Wall has been illegal since 1986.

Climbing history

The Troll Wall was first climbed in 1965 by a Norwegian and a British team simultaneously. The Norwegian team, consisting of Ole Daniel Enersen, Leif Normann Petterson, Odd Eliassen and Jon Teigland, finished one day ahead of the British (John Amatt, Tony Howard, Tony Nicholls, Bill Tweedale), who on their side established the most popular route on the wall, the "Rimmon Route".

The wall saw its first winter ascent in March 1974, when a Polish team spent 13 days repeating the 1967 "French Route". In 1979 the wall was free climbed for the first time by local climbing ace Hans Christian Doseth and Ragnhild Amundsen.

Today, there are 14 routes on the wall, ranging in length and difficulty. The classics Rimmon and "Swedish" routes were normally free climbed in a day or two until being heavily damaged by the 1998 rock falls. The longer and more engaging aid routes, such as the 1972 test piece "Arch Wall" (climbed by Ed and Hugh Drummond in 20 days), or the 1986 "Death to All/Pretty Blond Vikings" which cuts through the steepest part of the wall, requires advanced knowledge of big wall climbing and several days on the wall.

Due to the serious character of the wall, in addition to a cold and damp climate, new routes on Troll Wall are rare. The most recent contribution to the climbs on Troll Wall is the "Krasnojarsk Route", established by a Russian team during 19 days in February 2002.

BASE Jumping

The Troll Wall has also gained notoriety as a favourite haunt of BASE jumpers. It was one of the sites where BASE jumping was pioneered in the eighties, until Norwegian authorities made BASE jumping from the Troll Wall illegal on July 25th, 1986. Parachute equipment that wasn't adapted for jumping from cliffs, and the fact that the jumpers had to find exit points by a trial and error method meant many fatalities in a short period of time. However, by the use of wingsuits, jumpers can jump from Trollveggen's highest point and still make a safe landing. It is often impossible to use helicopters to get deceased or injured jumpers down from the wall, meaning rescuers have to climb the wall at great risk. It was probably the risky rescue operations that caused the ban, and it's unlikely to be lifted as the character of the wall hasn't changed. Despite the fact that BASE jumpers face heavy fines and loss of parachute equipment if caught, and that the wall still claims lives, the Troll Wall continues to be popular both with local jumpers and foreigners.

See also



* Anne Grete Nebell and Bjarte Bø, "Klatring i Romsdal", 1999.

External links

* [ Trollveggen official homepage]
* [ Some information on the routes on Troll Wall]
* [ John Amatt on the first ascent of the Rimmon Route]
* [ Updates, topos, and more on the climbing in Romsdal]
* [ Base Fatalities List]

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