posted by dpm on 07/04/2012
Over the past two years or so, Norway's coastal Flatanger Cave has been a buzz word among elite climbers. Short videos and blog posts by local hardman Magnus Midtboe, Dani Andrada, and others offered a glimpse of the outrageous, huge cave of granite. American Ethan Pringle just spent some time up there and his thorough blog post, coupled with the release of his video today, have driven the point home: Flatanger is the real deal.
Ethan enters 'the eye' of Odin on Flatanger's newest 5.14c. Photo: Ethan's blog
Ethan was up there working on the first ascent of a "bounty route" project with a 1,500 Kroner ($2,500 USD) price tag on its head. The bounty was offered up as part of a local climbing festival and the capable climbers Dani Andrada, Magnus Midtboe, and Ethan showed up to gun for it. In the end it was Pringle who snagged the first ascent and split the prize money with Dani who sent just after he did. Magnus linked through the crux but fell at the final boulder problem. Check out the video below of the first ascent of Eye of Odin (5.14c).
Ethan's blog post is worth a read if you're interested in some more detail about the overall feel of the massive Flatanger cave. He offers an entertaining description of the rock type:
"The rock type and features remind me of several places in the states… It’s like if Jailhouse and Mickeys Beach had a baby, and that offspring was artificially inseminated with rock sperm from Rumney and Column of the Giants at the same time… then THAT baby grew up subsisting on nothing but muscle milk, steroids and acid… something like that. The texture of the rock feels much like Rumney and some of the big flake features are reminiscent of that crag with lots of obsidian crystals and some big, swooping basalt bands. Some of the big slopey jugs and cracks remind me a little of California granite and I hate to say it but also… coastal rock."
Ethan also took a spin up the currently hardest graded route in the cave Nordic Flower (5.14d) established by Dutchman Jorg Verhoeven. Nordic Flower has been repeated by Magnus who thought 5.14c might be more appropriate but Ethan also noted that Dani found "like 10 more kneebars" and thought it to be possibly 'only' 5.14b. You can check out some video of Nordic Flower here.
Instead of investing time into Nordic Flower, Ethan bolted a variation that links the first 5.13d section of NF into the finish of a line Magnus had bolted. The result was a 45-meter 5.14b roof pitch that Ethan named Nordic Plumber (check Ethan's blog for the humorous route name etymology.)
Sindre Sæter on a 45-meter 5.13a trad route that ventures up the less-steep part of the Flatanger cave. Photo: Ethan's blog
If it wasn't before, Flatanger is now firmly on the radar of the world's top climbers and according to Magnus' blog, Adam Ondra is embarking on a Nordic tour. Somebody give that wizard a drill; the potential is staggering.
There are a lot more pictures to drool over on Ethan's blog.