Friday, February 22, 2019

Kilian Jornet Skis the Troll Wall

So, Alex Honnold's Free Solo makes my hands sweat. While inspirational, it's still often hard to watch. The same can be said for a short film that was produced by Salomon about Kilian Jornet's ski descent of Norway's Troll Wall.

The Troll Wall is a famous big wall alpine climb that is notoriously loose, notoriously cold and notoriously is not and has never been considered, a ski line...

Big wall climber John Middendorf writes, "in the 1960's and 1970's, as Yosemite's great walls were being climbed, similar feats of big wall endurance were being performed on an arena quite removed from the temperate California scene, on the 1100 meter Trollrygen (Troll Wall), Norway's monster north facing big wall. At first sight, the wall seems just another buttress of rock along a high and majestic granite canyon. Then the "trolls" are spotted: a unique series of spires and pinnacles formed along the summit rim of the Trollrygen. Legend varies, but possibly the trolls that once inhabited this coastal mountain region (and still part of area's lore), were petrified forever for their sins. Each of the dozen- or-so 300 foot spires has its own name, such as Trollkjerringa, which translates directly to 'Troll's wife', but locally conjures up an image of a troll hag armed with evil spells and potions. After a moment, the size of the shadowed wall below the formations becomes evident: huge corners, concave roofs, and crack systems appear in the broken and foreboding rock face, which, if you happen to be a big route climber, is soon followed by a self-destructive impulse to approach the wall and thrust oneself onto the vertical."

Most of the routes on the wall are standard big wall climbs with aid grades, free climbing grades and commitment grades. But there is one steep snow and ice line, the Fiva Route. This is what Jornet decided to ski.

Some of the following video is in French, but most is in English. It is an amazing and heart pounding thing to watch:

--Jason D. Martin

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