Pillaren NW Spur with the Slabs climbing Area on the left
Lofoten archipelago, including five big and five smaller islands, lies off Norway's Northern coast, West to Narvik and about 200 km North to the Polar Arctic Circle. These breathtaking islands offer a wide choice of granite rock-climbing as well as both winter mountaineering and summer scrambling.
Surely Lofoten are one of most charming climbing area in the world: climbing on these cliffs gives exciting sensations and unspeakable views over a unique landscape.
Pillaren (The Pillar) is located in the island of Austvågøy; it's a big spur rising above the hidden lake named Djupfjordvatnet along the Road 816 towards Henningsvær (not visible from the road) and located along the Eastern side of Djupfjord, close to Budalstinden. The cliff, facing North-West and getting the sun late in the afternoon, constitutes the Vågakallen North West buttress, ending in Point 713. Pillaren beautiful granite slabs, nicely overlooking the lake and close to Henningsvær, are one of most popular climbing destinations of Lofoten. The cliff has several routes, but the classic one and most frequently climbed is Bare Blåbær.
GETTING TO LOFOTEN
There are various possibilities:
- By ferry boat from Bodø to Moskenes, Værøy or Røst (South of Lofoten)
- By ferry boat from Skutvik to Svolvær or Skrova (North of Lofoten)
- By plane from Bodø
- By car from Narvik via Evenes to Svolvær
It's possible to approach the cliff directly from Svolvær, Lofoten major center, following the road E10 for about 20 km and also from Kabelvag, in about 15 km. along the same road, turning to left to Henningsvær (Road 816) at E10 and Road 816 forking. Otherwise the shortest way to approach the cliff is from Henningsvær (less then 5 km.), or from Lyngvæar (less then 5 km), a good place along E10, about 20 km. West to Svolvær. The coastal road to Henningsvær crosses Djupfjord narrow isthmus in the beginning (parking before the causeway).
All the routes on Pillaren are approached following a good path, starting from the road 816 close to the isthmus and running along Djupfjord North-Western shore (on your left-hand side when you’re looking inside at the fjord). The trail gains the terminal moraine, which divides the fjord from the hidden inner lake. When you’re getting to the path’s first junction close to the moraine, don’t follow some cairns heading to right – it’s the path heading to Vagakallen-Kvandalstinden Col and Pillaren longest routes area - but follow the trail on your left-hand side. After a pine wood and a bit before reaching the lake, the obvious slabs are approached following a good trail forking from the main path and rising towards right along steep vegetated slopes (1 hour from the coastal road). Some enourmous cairns mark the climbing area.
Where to stayCamping - In Norway camping is allowed in every place, if not expressly forbidden. Best free campsites in this area are located in Festing, in front of the Gandalf cliff, and Paradiset, just close to Henningsvaer.
The nearest equipped campsite is the “Lyngvaer Bobilcamping” (campers, tents and cabins), 20 km. West to Svolvaer and a few kilometers from Djupfjorden climbing area.
The picturesque village of Henningsvær is quite close to Djupfjorden climbing area and it's a bit of a focus for climbers. There is also a climbing school, besides several possibilities of accomodation.
Pillaren Routes (Norwegian Scale)
***Bare Blåbær Slabs Area:
- Coley Smoke 5 120 mt.
- Child’s Play 5+ 125 mt.
- Very Expensive Ticket 7 220 mt.
- Whale Meet Again 7- 40 mt.
- Bare Blåbær (Only Bilberries) 5- 240 mt.
- Thiras Mirith 6 240 mt.
With its magnificent granite mirror, the great classic of Bare Blåbær is maybe the most popular climbing route of this grade on Lofoten, notwithstanding the cliff is not just close to the road. The route is facing NW: at the height of summer the route gets the sun in the middle of the afternoon until late in the evening and after rainy days it dries very quickly. Bare Blåbær – literally “Only Bilberries” – is a Norwegian expression to mean an easy play.
***Pillaren Point 713 long routes:
- Celebrian 6- 400 mt.
- Hostgull 7- 400 mt.
- Elgfesten 6 400 mt.
When to climbBest months for climbing are late May, June, July and August.
Red TapeNo particular restriction in climbing and hiking.
ClimateOn Lofoten the weather can change suddenly from clear and blu sky with sunshine or the Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis) to violent storms with rain or snow. Maximum temperatures go from +30°C in June and July to -15°C in January and February; the average temperatures for these months are from +12°C to -3°C. The period with the minimum rainfall goes from April to June, while we may expect the maximum rainfall or snowfall between October and December.
Midnight sun: from 27 May to 17 July
Polar night: from 6 December to 6 January
The Northern Lights can be seen over Lofoten from September to April.
Useful info about climate: Meteorologisk Institutt
Guidebooks and maps
"Lofoten Rock" by Chris Craggs and Thorbjorn Enevoid
External LinksClimbing info: Rockfax Lofoten Guidebook
Tourist info: Lofoten Islands