The Magical Kvaløya Island

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The Norway tour was everything I had hoped for. I left home with a three day notice, expecting to spend two weeks in Northern Norway. I was traveling with Rami and Liisa. We brought gear for climbing and ski touring. Two weeks later, I found myself in Nissedal in Southern Norway. First we drove from Tampere to Kvaløya.

Kvaløya is an island right next to Trømso, Norway. Kvaløya provides a great playground for activities such as ski touring, climbing, bouldering, hiking, running, fishing and mountain biking. If you link well, you can do it all in one day.

Norway takes my breath away.
The clear blue sky was greeting us in Norway. This is a beach somewhere between Trømso and Kvaløya.
Ersfjorden is one of the coolest crags I’ve been to! Photo by Rami Valonen
Ersfjordbotn, Kvaløya. Heading back to the car after clipping bolts at Ersfjorden. Photo by Rami Valonen

I’ve wanted to go to Kvaløya since last summer. I went climbing in Lofoten while Rami and Lauri went to Baugen and Blåmannen. After hearing their stories and seeing their photos I realized Baugen is where I want to go next.

Our main goal was to climb in Baugen. Baugen is a part of the Hollenderan mountain range, the historical epicenter of the Kvaløya climbing, as the Kvaløya – Selected climbs describes it. Baugen is the alpine climbing venue in Scandinavia. The wall consists of about 20 sustained 250-350 meter routes, in the 5.10 to 5.12 range. Plus the variations.

For anyone who seeks beautiful views, Kvaløya offers many established trails and top tours. Photo by Rami Valonen
For anyone who seeks beautiful views, I recommend Kvaløya. Me and Liisa filling our bottles. Photo by Rami Valonen
The approach to the Baugen hut.
The approach to the Baugen hut. Photo by Rami Valonen
The view from the saddle. The Baugen hut is located a ten minute hike away from the hut.
The view from the approach. The Baugen hut is conveniently located a ten minute hike, or a two minute ski away from the climbing.

The Baugen hut is run by the Trømso climbing club. It is the cutest and best equipped hut I have stayed in. Wine glasses and slippers are included! First day we hiked in (3 hours) and went climbing in the evening (more hours than I care to admit). We were back at the hut around 3am.

The Baugen hut is very cosy. Bring your binoculars and check which routes are dry. There is also a lot of interesting things to read and topos you can borrow.
Hanging out in the Baugen hut. The in-house library offers a lot of interesting reads, including topos. Photo by Rami Valonen
Liisa is enchanted by the view of Baugen. I am sleeping. Surprise! Photo by Rami Valonen

The climbing was excellent, just as promised. We climbed Baugsprydet (6-/6) and Vårrusen (5-).

Belaying Liisa on Vårrusen. Photo by Rami Valonen
Belaying Liisa on Vårrusen. Photo by Rami Valonen
Me and Liisa at the top after climbing Baugsprydet, which is the first route at Baugen! Photo by Rami Valonen
A bolted rappel line is always nice. Photo by Rami Valonen
The bolted rappel line can be tricky to follow, unless you know exactly where to go. Photo by Rami Valonen

As much as I love climbing in the mountains, I don’t feel shame in admitting, that the climbing is scary up there. Even if I say I enjoyed climbing a route, I most certainly experienced moments of discomfort during the day. I remember a time, not long ago, when I was blissfully unaware of things that can go wrong. The North is s great place to practice, because during the summer months, the sun never goes down. Say no for getting benighted, hurray!

The steep…ish snow traverse is not my favorite. It felt steeper than it looks. Photo by Rami Valonen

For me, alpine climbing is the most empowering and exciting form of climbing. Someone asked me why. Why do you do this? Aren’t there challenges here, somewhere closer to home?

The very fact that someone asks me this question, tells me, that there is no point in trying to explain why.

Mountaineering is as meaningless as life itself – that’s why its magic will never die.  – Peter Wessel Zapffe


A week spent in the Kvaløya island gave me just a tiny a glimpse of what it has to offer. I can’t wait to go back!

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