By Alexander Ruchkin

The country of fantastic Trolls 
The country of beautiful fiords 
The country of Falls taking away 
The mountain country of Vikings - Norway. 

       There are peaks which attract people and make some of them to overcome daring climbing, the other - make jumping with paraglide, the third - ski descent. The Trollrigen Wall is not exception. Such steepness - that dare-devils make slow parachute jumps.
       Legend speak that Trolls lived here in this remarkable country and long - nosed, shaggy and funny little men were turned into these rocks for some sins. Cut pins and towers remind sharp claws? Trolls resisted and did not want to be stone statues. So walls are cut of frightening cornices and inside corners.
       Trolriggen Wall is situated on Norway's West coast in region with beautiful name Romsdal near little town Andalsnes and fiord with blue water of the same name. Troll belongs to "Big Wall" group. We continue the list of Wall in order to understand what group is. Trango Tower, Cerro Torre, El Capitan are the most complex outstanding walls in the world. These Wall demand maximum concentration of forces, will, impudence.
     The long route, steepness, complex relief for overcoming, a few ledges, no water or much too much water... You may reckon only on yourself and help won't come in time. The wall had been mastered by 2 teams: Norway and Britain since July 1965. Troll was climbed by not many climbers. On Trollriggen Wall (the most complex and long) were done only 3 routes. 
     1. 1965 - Norway route. The most left VI,5.10.A3 (climbed 3 times) 1200 m - 11 days (L.Pettersen, O.Eliassen, L. Taigland and O.Enersen) in winter time it is not climbed yet. 
     2. 1967 - The French way - VI,5.10.A4 (4-5 times climbed) 1100 m - 21 days (V. Boussard, I. Brunet, Patrick Cordier, C. Paluba, F. Frehel) streight ending's version added by Poland team in winter 1973. 
     3. 1972 - The Arch Wall. VI, 5.11-.A4+ 1100 m, brothers Ed and Hugh Drummond climbed 20 days with foul weather. Winter 1994 - Poland team. 
     There was no Russian route on all "Big Wall" yet. Now there were two Russian routes made on Troll Wall in Norway. 
     4. 14.15.17 - 25.07.1997 - Russian route - 1150 m,VI,5.10.A4. 11 days. Alexander Ruchkin -Koshelenko Yury. 
     5. 14.15.17-19.07,1-8.08.1997 - "Baltika" - 1300 m, VI,5.10.A3, 13 days. Alexander Odintsov - Igor Potankin. 
     Several people began to realize the Russian project "Big Walls by new routes". Arriving in Norway we stayied at a beautiful and convinient "Trollvegen camping" which is situated under the wall. 
     Norway people accepted us with cordiality and surprise. (We were heartily welcomed by Norway). We were the first Russian climbers and at that we wanted to make our own new routes. But some time ago at the beginning there were a long telephone talks, embassy, visas and some problems as usual. Team meeting took place in Oslo, since some climbers had no time to get transit visas and flew by plane. Other, who could get transit, jump into a cars and arrived by two cars from St-Petersburg through Finland and Sweden. Let me introduce participants of this project:

  • Alexander Odintsov - manager of the project. 
  • I.Samoilenko - high altitude cameraman and support of foreign relations. 
  • L.Krestina - doctor and cooker. 
  • A.Odintsov - I.Potankin - party wishing make a new route (did it!) 
  • A.Ruchkin - Y.Koshelenko - second party wishing make more then a new route (did it as well!) 

      Sponsors__________________ here might be your name. Altogether - Russian project -"Big Walls by new routes" - people which would like to declare that Russians can do first passages all over the world not only in their own country. 
     Himalayan boom eclipse very interesting and initial passages of the most complex walls also. Till now we had no routes to be proud out of our mountain, not speaking about high success in Himalaya. It is high time to declare about yourself! 
     The first step of this program was Troll Wall routes. Troll is mysterious as the legend itself. In spite of dismembered relief and ledge bounds - the Wall is always hanging. Chinks are driven in ground with thick plants, too difficult to move. First of all we had to cultivate the ground and then think if it is a chink? Hands and faces were dirty and each evening we had to empty our trousers, clothes from ground and rubbish. Sheer relief driven chinks, water absence are made the passage long - more then 10 days. 
     Nowhere and never I saw grasses, stones and grounds pieces falling while the first climber works on the route. Everything falls down, as if it is hard working of ground machine. When climbing in such style you finally forget who are you - climber or a gardener. (And all this junk - on the hanging wall!) Putting a friend or bolting a hook you are realize - "climber", when stepping on flowerbed - gardener. 
     To make a film to show people and to attract them to the program we cultivate the lower part of the Wall. I.Samoilenko make picture on the route. Two days of cultivation, one-day rest and we had a success in climbing. During this process cormorants ate almost all our food store and the rest of it - smear all over the slope. It is a North face and the sun shines only during one hour in the morning. No water and snow and we should take water with us. That's 25-30 kg. But there is one big plus of the Troll Wall - white nights! No emergency when you are wanting to have a bivi and prepare sleeping in darkness. You can work in night time but it is hardly possible because of badly exhaustion. Cornices on each pitch. 
     "Russian route" passes between 2 complex ones - French and Arch Wall to the middle of the Wall. It crosses them and passes on upper part of un - passed way over biggest cornice on the wall. Yury Koshelenko had many serious climbs and first passages on KhanTengri, AkSu, Shkhelda. And he said that he had seen as many cornices in his mountain life as Troll Wall had just on this one route. The route follows the straight line over chinks - weak parts of the wall. We used sky hooks to climb from chink to chink. There are five cornices on one of pitches, all pitches are hanging. 
     A big cornice (8-10 meters out of wall) was overcome by several steps. And actually the way to it also was hanging so as a result - 13 meters out of wall. That was a big problem for the second in party. Some pitches perhaps could be passed by free climbing but to clean and climb simultaneously is practically impossible. In spite of "dirty work" there were some parts we could use free climbing - 90 degree rock without plants. 
    "Baltika" and "Russian" routes are made with Petzl bolts for anchors Because we had to carry a large weight and thought about safety thoughtfully. 
     "Baltika" has a very complex beginning. It passes in the center of hanging triangle near the basic wall. First nine pitches Odintsov and Potankin climbed 5 days. All attempts to climb this part before had no success. No limits of persistence! A lot of bolts and sky hooks to over come "puzo" - that hangs in the center of the triangle. "Baltika" middle part is till - just hanging and with many cornices (if one can call it still). The final part is like a rest (70-80 degree) after such numerous hangs. So the first step in the program - new Russian routes on the worlds famous walls was made.

Alexander Ruchkin