THE TROLL WALL IN ROMSDAL

The Troll Wall (Trollveggen) in Romsdal is the highest vertical mountain wall in Europe . It is 5950 feet from the valley to the top of the wall. Out of this, 3300 feet are vertical and with a 150 feet overhang.

Go Fjords - Åndalsnes by the Romsdalsfjord

One gets an idea of the great dimensions when a rockslide in the autumn of 1998 measured 2.2 on the Richters scale for earthquakes in Finland . Still, it is impossible to see with the naked eye where this happened, one has to be acquainted with the locality.

 

Klatrepionéren i Romsdal - Arne Randers Heen. Foto: Halvor Sødahl
Arne Randers Heen,  a climbing pioneer in Romsdal. Photo: Halvor Sødahl

The climbing route Trollryggen was first climbed in 1958 by Arne Randers Heen from Åndalsnes and Ralph Høibakk, originally from Rjukan. This was the first climbing route in Norway where the climbers spent a night in the mountain wall. Trollryggen is still the longest climbing route in Europe (approx. 3.5 kilometers climb). Read about the climb in Ralph Høibakk´s own words.

Before 1965, no one believed that it was possible for a human being to climb the Troll Wall. But in 1965, a Norwegian and an English climbing team proved the opposite. Within 14 days, they reached the top of their respective routes. Later, several routes have been climbed, also during winter.

The Finn Jorma Öster, in 1980, was the first man which jumped out of the Troll Wall in a parachute. This attracted skydivers from many corners of the world. During the first two years, about 150 jumps were done. After several accidents resulting in deaths and dangerous rescue operations, skydiving in the Troll Wall was banned by Norwegian law in 1986.

The Troll Wall (Trollveggen) Visitor Centre

The Troll Wall can be experienced from Trollveggen Visitor Centre by the road E136 in Romsdalen Valley, about 10 kilometers from Åndalsnes in the direction of Dombås. There you will get a panoramic view of the Troll Wall and the Trolltindene mountains from the viewing platform. There is a cafeteria with a panoramic view of the Troll Wall in addition to a souvenir shop. There is also an auditorium where the dramatic story of the Troll Wall is shown on film.The visitor centre is open from June to August.

The climbing in the Troll Wall

Written by Bjørn Kjetil Krohn

The Troll Wall and Trolltindene have given great challenges to both mountain climbers and BASE-jumpers. Newspapers and TV have for many years described the activities in the Troll Wall as madness, a play with life, a flirtation with death.

In 1946, most of the pinnacle Brura fell down towards Romsdalen Valley. It is said that Romsdalen below the Troll Wall was darkened by dust for two days after it fell down. The huge rock masses fell 600 meters before they hit the rocks at the top of the scree. Before it fell down, the pinnacle Brura towered about 100 meters above Bruraskaret. Today there is a small pinnacle of about 20 meters left.

Tony Howard in Flake Crack. From the  first ascent of the Rimmon Route in 1965. Photo: Howard & Amatt collection.

In the summer of 1965, a Norwegian and an English team started climbing in the Troll Wall. The Norwegian team reached the top after 11 days in the wall (Norskeruta). The English team spent five and a half days on the climb (the Rimmon route) and reached the top one day after the Norwegians. Climbing history had now been written in the Troll Wall. After radio and newspapers had broadcasted the great achievements, many others wanted to try climbing the Troll Wall. This was described as a breakthrough in the sport of climbing.

In 1967, a French team of 4 climbers started an attempt to climb a direct route in the Troll Wall. They tried to follow a fall line where the Troll Wall was at it´s highest. This route has also been called the Direct Route (Direkteruta). The climbers spent 3 weeks on the route, partly because they put up fixed ropes in almost the entire wall. At this time, this route was one of the most difficult routes in the world.

The first independent climbing route in the Troll Wall during winter: In the winter of 1982, Hans Christian Doseth, C. Brooks and Håvard Nesheim climbed the Trollkjerring route. This was the first time someone had climbed a new route in the Troll Wall during winter. The route has grade 7 and 22 rope lengths.

Død åt alla: This route was first climbed in the winter of 1986 by Ø. Bårdsnes, Aslak Aastorp, Øyvind Vadla and Bernt Pedersen. This was the second time someone climbed a new, independent route in the Troll Wall during winter. The route has grade A4, 18 rope lengths.

Due to huge sections of the wall has collapsed in the Troll Wall in recent years, climbing the wall is associated with such great danger that there has been almost no climbing activity there for many years.

TROLL WALL – An Unforgiving Climb up Europe’s Highest Wall

Video/Text: Wide Boyz

Troll Wall, the tallest rock face in Europe, and possibly one of the most dangerous. The danger of the wall doesn’t come from difficulty, steepness or height, but from the quality of the rock itself; It’s loose.

The Pioneers of the Troll Wall

Written by Tony Howard

If you were into new routes and big walls in the 1960s you would have known about a monster in Norway about which ominous stories circulated that can be summed up in one word: ‘unclimbable’. The Troll Wall was also known as ‘the Vertical Mile’, and described as ‘the largest overhanging wall in Europe’. It was reputed to be smooth and holdless for 5,000 feet, and impossible without the aid of bolts.

The hike from Trollstigen to Stabbeskaret and to the Troll Wall

Written by Øyvind Heen

NOTE! This is a challenging hike in alpine terrain. Use Guide Services from the Norwegian Mountaineering Centre at Åndalsnes on this hike. They deliver tailor-made adventure-hikes in the mountains in Romsdal and have guiding service both to Stabbeskaret, Bruraskaret and to Store Trolltind starting from Trollstigen.

The hike from Trollstigen to the Troll Wall is one of the most spectacular hikes in Norway. Follow the trail from Trollstigen Restaurant towards the northernmost and main view point at Trollstigen, but take to the right on to another trail just before you arrive at the view point (look for the sign where the trail start). The first part of the hike is easy, but then there are some steep and rough terrain with a lot of big rocks. Soon you can see the back side of the Troll Wall peaks. Continue across a flat area which is usually covered by snow, also during summer. You now reach the point “Frokostplassen” where it is common to have a break and a meal while enjoying the great view to the mountains.

Fra Store Trolltind, Romsdalen langt der nede. Foto: Lars Rikard Morstøl
From Store Trolltind, Romsdalen Valley below. Photo: Lars Rikard Morstøl

You can continue straight ahead and up the scree to Stabbeskaret or towards left and up the scree on the backside of the Troll Wall towards Bruraskaret. It can be difficult to see the trails, try to spot them while you have a break at “Frokostplassen”. Soon you can hear the sound from the Troll Wall. You can feel it in the body just before you reach Bruraskaret, which was the most common EXIT point for BASE jumping in the Troll Wall before it was banned. Just before you arrive at Bruraskaret, it is quite “exposed” where you have to round a mountain ridge on a narrow shelf.

It is possible to continue the hike from Bruraskaret to Store Trolltind, but here you should also use rope and guide.

NOTE! The scree you have to cross, on the backside of the Troll Wall, is often covered with snow. The scree is steep, and it can be dangerous to cross the scree if it is covered with snow. One can accidently slide down the scree and hit the rocks at the bottom of the scree at high speed.

It is normal to use approximately 8-14 hours on this hike, on the round trip with start and end at Trollstigen. Use a map and compass and plan your hike well in advance. You should be in good shape and bring necessary food, water and equipment (proper hiking shoes and clothes).

(The hike to Nordre Trolltind which is close to Store Trolltind is another hike that can be done with start from Soggeberget, start from the car park down by Trollstigen Resort. This is also a challenging hike, you should use guide-service from the Norwegian Mountaineering Centre at Åndalsnes).

IMPORTANT! The weather can change dramatically in these mountains. This is why you have to follow the Norwegian Mountain Code when hiking in the Norwegian Mountains. It can change from summer and sunny weather to winter and frost in minutes!

Season: July – September, depending on the amount of snow in the mountains.

BASE-jumping from the Troll Wall – The history

Written by Bjørn Kjetil Krohn

– Man small, why fall, ground call, thats all…

In 1980, some Finnish skydivers came to Åndalsnes. They had traveled around Norway in a search of mountains from which it was possible to jump with parachute. They decided to try the Troll Wall, and at Bruraskaret they threw out stones to check how long it took before the stone hit the base of mountain. The time it took was 17 seconds. They decided to try to jump from there.

BASE-hopping fra Trollveggen på 80-tallet, før det ble forbudt. Foto: Bjørn Kjetil Krohn
BASE-jumping from the Troll Wall in the 80s, when it was legal. Photo: Bjørn Kjetil Krohn

The first man to jump was Jorma Øster, who had a seven-second free fall. Next out was Pentti Pukkila with an eight-second free fall. Then Timo Liukkonen and Jukka Heikkinen made a double jump. They jumped out simultaneously and pulled the parachute after about 10 seconds. This was the first time someone had jumped with parachute from a mountain in Norway. The couple Carl and Jean Boenish from Canada, experienced jumpers i.a. from El Capitan, was filming the jumps from the top of Bruraskaret.

They did not jump this time, but came back to Romsdal later to jump. They both jumped from Bruraskaret. Carl would try to jump from another point in the Troll Wall, from Trollspiret with higher altitude. The shelf he jumped from has been called the Boenish shelf. The next day they wanted to jump again, but due to that Carl had injured his foot after an accident with a hang-glider, they tried to jump from Mt Stabben instead. It was a shorter hike to Mt Stabben. This had catastrophic consequences. The jump ended in the wall and Carl perished. His wife Jean, who witnessed the accident, did a farewell jump the day after. She jumped with an American skydiver.

Trollspiret is the highest point that is suitable for BASE-jumping (most free fall) in the Troll Wall. From Trollspiret, BASE-jumpers have had up to 24 seconds of free fall.

In 1986, the Norwegian Parliament made a law banning parachuting from the Troll Wall. This law was introduced after many difficult and risky rescue operations, where parachutists had been stuck in the mountain wall.

On July 17, 1986, Gunnar Elmen, Benny Sundberg and Per Anders Emne jumped for the last time legally with a parachute from the Troll Wall, they jumped from Bruraskaret. These were the last legal jumps before the ban came into force.

Salmon Fishing below the Troll Wall, in the river Rauma

In Norway, salmon fishing in the rivers has been important to people since the dawn of time. At the end of the 19th century, the salmon rivers also became an important source of secondary income for those who owned the rivers. That was when the English tourists discovered Norway, and the Salmon Lords became a well-known phenomenon. It was people from the English upper classes that travelled to Norway and the fjords to fish for Atlantic Salmons in the rivers. The river Rauma, which runs through the Romsdalen Valley and past the Troll Wall, was one of the rivers which the salmon lords liked. Today, Elveguiden offers salmon fishing in 22 fishing spots in the Rauma river, several of the spots are located just below the Troll Wall.

Trollveggen Camping

Trollveggen Camping is located at the foot of the Troll Wall, only separated by Rauma River. On one side you look straight up to the Troll Wall. If you turn around 180 degrees, you look straight up to Mt Romsdalshorn. There is hardly any more spectacular place to have a campsite than where Trollveggen Camping is located.

The Norwegian Mountaineering Centre at Åndalsnes

Norsk Tindesenter is a visitor centre at Åndalsnes, in the heart of Romsdalen Valley. The centre accommodates the Norwegian Mountaineering Museum, Norway’s highest indoor climbing wall, a restaurant and a gift shop. The centre is starting point for the spectacular climbing experience Romsdalsstigen Via Ferrata and deliver tailored guiding to the Troll Wall and other mountains in Romsdal.

Video – Trollveggen seen from different locations

Romsdal and the Romsdalsfjord Area – What to See and Do

From snowy mountains to beautiful coastline of islands and reefs. Experience all this in one day due to the short distance from mountains to coast. Ona Island and Lighthouse, The Atlantic Road, Midsundtrappene, Trollstigen, The Troll Wall, Romsdalseggen, The Romsdal Gondola and Litlefjellet are great places to visit. The Romsdalsfjord is located in the county of Møre og Romsdal, north in Western Norway.

Accommodation at Åndalsnes and in Romsdal

Grand Hotel Bellevue at Åndalsnes
Aak Hotel at Sogge outside Åndalsnes
Hotel Geist at Øran at Åndalsnes
Åndalsnes Vandrerhjem på Setnes
Åndalsnes Camping by Rauma River
Mjelva Camping at Mjelva outside Åndalsnes
Trollveggen Camping by the Troll Wall
Accommodation in Isfjorden

FJORDS – Accommodation in Western Norway

Great Hotels in the Fjords of Norway
Bath and Spa Hotels in the Fjords of Norway
Fjords Living – Special Accommodation in the Fjords of Norway

FJORDS – Useful Links

Go Fjords – Big and Small Fjord Experiences
Visit Norway – Official page for Norway
Fjord Norway – Official page for Fjord Norway

Official Tourist Information – Visit Romsdal
Romsdal.com – Hiking in Romsdal
The Norwegian Mountaineering Centre at Åndalsnes – Guiding in Romsdal

Trollveggen in Romsdal – Map Overview