Welcome to SP!  -
Vestpillaren Direct Start

Vestpillaren Direct Start

  Featured on the Front Page
Vestpillaren Direct Start

Page Type: Route

Location: Lofoten/Austvågøy/Nordland, Norway, Europe

Lat/Lon: 68.17909°N / 14.22884°E

Object Title: Vestpillaren Direct Start

Route Type: Trad Climbing

Season: Summer

Time Required: A long day

Rock Difficulty: 5.10a (YDS)

Difficulty: TD sup., UIAA VI

Number of Pitches: 12

Route Quality: 
 - 2 Votes


Page By: Silvia Mazzani

Created/Edited: May 26, 2011 / Nov 27, 2015

Object ID: 718325

Hits: 7158 

Page Score: 92.04%  - 37 Votes 

Vote: Log in to vote



Geographical classification: The Scandes > Lofoten Islands > Presten > Vestpillaren Direct Start

***Vestpillaren Direct Start

Summit altitude: 680 m
Difficulty: TD sup., UIAA VI+, Norwegian 6, YDS 5.10a,
Equipment: not equipped
Climbing length: 470 m
Exposure: W
First ascent: Arild Meyer and Brynjar Tollefsen in 1978
First free ascent: Hans Christian Doseth and Havard Nesheim in 1979
Starting point: Route 816 to Henningsvaer (parking)

A world classic rock climb, the first route realized on Presten mighty pillar. A must!

Djupfjorden from Presten summit
Djupfjorden seen from the summit
Getting to Henningsvær
 Presten seen from Flakstadøy
Presten seen from Flakstadøy

Presten (The Priest) is surely one of the best known cliffs on Lofoten: a majestic 400 m granite bulk straight up from the ocean, situated close to Henningsvær, a charming village nicknamed “Lofoten’s Venice” located on the South-Western end of Austvågøy, Lofoten’s largest island (Vågan Municipality). Presten unmistakable outline overlooks with its famous granite “Nose” the coastal road running to Henningsvær, giving unforgettable views when seen from here.

Vestpillaren Direct Start topo, Presten
Vestpillaren Direct start topo route

A great number of routes run on its West face, but the classic one is Vestpillaren (West Pillar). This is the original route of the face, up a system of corners and cracks on the right hand side of the "Nose". Here is related the “Direct start variation”. Not equipped.

A small island from Vestpillaren
Small island below the West wall
Last corner
A shallow corner
Stunning Vagakallen seen from Henningsvær

Getting There

Getting to Lofoten

There are various possibilities:

- By car from Evenes airport (located between Harstadt and Narvik) to Svolvær
- 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

Road Access

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 campsite along E10, about 20 km. West to Svolvær. The coastal road to Henningsvær crosses Djupfjord narrow isthmus in the beginning, then reachs a pull-out along the road, just below Presten.

A stunning view of Presten pillar appearing from Festvågtinden summit notch
Stunning Presten pillar seen from Festvågtinden
An exciting seascape from Vestpillaren on Presten, Lofoten
An exciting seascape

Approach path

From the pull-out on the R 816 to Henningsvaer, just below Presten, follow a grassy trail heading towards the right-hand side of the cliff. Vestpillaren Direct Start begins about 20 mt. left to the obvious steep and grassy gully where starts “Vestpillaren original start” (10 minutes from the road).

Vestpillaren Direct Start report

Thin cracks on Vestpillaren, Presten (Lofoten)
Thin cracks...
Vestpillaren, Presten: the Slanting Corner, Lofoten
The slanting corner - Photo Silvia Mazzani
Vestpillaren sixth pitch s corner - Presten, Lofoten
Sixth pitch beautiful corner

Vestpillaren Direct Start report UIAA Scale

The starting point lies below three shallow corners.

L1 - Climb the right-slanting corner, the central one of three ones, reaching an easy ledge, then traverse left along the ledge to a steep crack leading to another small ledge below a corner. Belay on the ledge. V+, 45 mt.
L2 - Up the corner towards a flake on the left, climb the flake, then a thin finger-crack, widening in the upper part and leading to a belay VI-, 40 mt.
L3 - Straight up along a thin grooves’ system, ending towards left on a diagonal ramp which leads to a small stance. VI, 50 mt.
L4 – Straightly over the belay, then climb up an hard corner – maybe a variation – leading on the right edge of the big grassy ledge named Storhilla. V, VI+ the hard corner’s variation, 20 mt.
L5 – Along Storhilla move towards right around a big block, climb a crack on the right side of the block and belay on its top. IV, 30 mt.
L6 – Straight up climb a thin crack, then a clear corner, ending over a good ledge; traverse the ledge towards left – some blocks – and belay over a higher small ledge below a magnificent shallow corner. VI-, 45 mt.
L7 – A bit slantaway towards right to enter the corner, then follow the upper fine flake, becoming a thin crack. Traverse left to take another cracks’ system in the left face of the groove, belay a bit hanging below a steep bulge into the groove. VI, 45 mt..
L8 – Up along the groove with steep sections, then head towards right to a stance below and a bit left of a magnificent right-leaning corner, “The Slanting Corner”. V+, 40 mt.
L9“The Slanting Corner”. Up the corner with superb climb to a tiny ledge, then climb a thin technical crack
to a belay at a block. VI, 40 mt.
L10 – Up then left towards a big loose flake; climb the flake and a chimney-groove and belay over a ledge below a shallow diagonal corner. IV+, 30 mt.
L11 – Climb the nice corner to its end, then move down and right along a delicate slab, gaining the grassy final gully. V+, 35 mt.
L12- Scramble up the gully gaining the pillar’s summit.


Vestpillaren Upper Slanting corner, Presten
From Presten view over the Djupfjorden, Lofoten
On the top admiring the Djupfjorden

Descent (2 hours): from Presten summit walk up towards South-East, then scramble along a ridge, gaining a col between Festvagstinden (541 mt.) on the right and Budalstinden (663 mt.) on the left. From here there are two different ways to go down;

- from the col cross the ridge descending directly along a steep grassy gully with enormous ferns, then head to right – West - along blocks and grass, reaching the small lake of Heiavatnet. From the lake a marked steep trail leads to Festvag on the coastal road between Presten’s parking and Henningsvaer.

- from the col follow the ridge towards right to the summit of Festvagtinden, reaching the path that goes down to Heiavatnet. From here follow the same previous trail to the road.

Essential gear

Rope 2 x 50, helmet, all size friends and nuts

Where to stay

The closest town is Henningsvær, located a few km. from Presten.
The closest equipped campsite is Lyngvaer Lofoten Bobilcamping, located in Lyngvaer 4 km. to Presten along E10.
A free campsite is available in Festvag at about 1 km. In Norway free camping is allowed in every place, if not expressly forbidden.
In Svolvær and surroundings there is a wide choice of different kinds of accommodations: hotels, campgrounds and the traditional and typical rorbuers, the Norwegian fishermen's cabins, available in Svolvær, Henningsvær, Kabelvåg, Kalle.

When to climb

Lofoten are not at all famous about their meteo conditions, anyway sometimes “High Scandinavian” and “Gulf Stream’s” warming effects can bring fine weather with blue skies and sunshine. The best months for climbing are late May, June, July and August.
Midnight sun: from 27 May to 17 July
Polar night: from 6 December to 6 January


On Lofoten the weather can change suddenly from clear and blue 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

Month Avg Low Avg High Precipitation (mm) Wet Days Daylight (Hours)
January -2°C 1°C 65 18 5
February -2°C 1°C 60 17 10
March 0°C 3°C 65 18 14
April 1°C 5°C 55 17 20
May 5°C 9°C 55 18 24
June 7°C 12°C 70 18 24
July 9°C 15°C 65 18 24
August 8°C 15°C 90 20 22
September 7°C 13°C 100 22 15
October 5°C 8°C 110 23 10
November 3°C 6°C 85 19 6
December -1°C 3°C 75 19 2


Meteo Henningsvær

Meteo Lofoten

Guidebooks and maps

Lofoten map

Guidebook Lofoten Rock
"Lofoten Rock" by Chris Craggs and Thorbjorn Enevoid

External Links

Climbing info: Rockfax Lofoten Guidebook

Tourist info:
Lofoten Islands


An exciting seascape from Vestpillaren on Presten, LofotenFrom Presten view over the Djupfjorden, LofotenVestpillaren sixth pitch\'s corner - Presten, LofotenVestpillaren, Presten: the Slanting Corner, LofotenThin cracks on Vestpillaren, Presten (Lofoten)A stunning view of Presten pillar appearing from Festvågtinden summit notchStunning Vagakallen seen from Henningsvær
Presten West FaceVestpillaren Direct Start topo, PrestenLast corner on Vestpillaren, PrestenGetting to HenningsværPresten West FaceVestpillaren Upper Slanting corner, PrestenA small island from Vestpillaren, Presten (Lofoten)
[ View Gallery - 4 More Images ]