Romsdalshorn 1550 m is one of Norway’s better known mountains – more because of its shape than its height, I guess. This wonderful 1550 meter tall tower with its unforgettable outline stands just in front of another famous peak, the thousand meter vertical Trollveggen, the Troll Wall. Romsdalshorn is located 10 kilometres from the town of Åndalsnes in the municipality of Rauma, in Møre og Romsdal county.
There are two classic routes to summit the mountain, the North wall is one of Norways most popular alpine climbing routes, while the eastern Halls renne variant is the original route and is easier in difficulty. The trip starts in the Vengedalen Valley, 20 minutes drive from the regional centre Åndalsnes.
"Nordveggen" (North face) is the route that sees most climbers on Romsdalshorn, more than the Normal route. It's a great classic climb to summit an icon amongst Norwegian mountains! This route is quite satisfactory because it has much to offer: beautiful positions above the Romsdal valley, very nice climbing for the grade and a convenient abseil line.
It should not be underestimated, however. Although Romsdalshorn is only 1550 meters high, its latitude and proximity to sea make the weather pretty unpredictable. Most belays are not bolted, so you should be able to place fast protection and to create belays. Popularity also introduces the problem of falling stones, coming from people above you either climbing or abseiling. The abseil line is situated very close to the route.
On the other hand, the rock is sound in most places and the opportunities for protection are good. Even the more difficult pitches can be climbed in several ways and a mistake of a few meters right or left won’t get you into trouble, as long as you stick to the belays. It's a fine adventure and said to be a good introduction to climbing mountains in the Romsdal area.
The reference town to climb Romsdalshorn is Åndalsnes, located at the mouth of the river Rauma. Getting to Åndalsnes by land:
- From Oslo E6 Northward to Dombås 375 km
- From Trondheim E6 Southward to Dombås 160 km
- From Dombås E136 Westward to Åndalsnes 105 km
- By air to Molde and train to Åndalsnes.
The trip starts in the Vengedalen Valley, 20 minutes drive from the regional centre Åndalsnes. From Åndalsnes take the road to Isfjorden, then the toll road to Venjedalssetra. Pass the big lake and several parking spots until you reach a parking spot with information signs, just before the last two hairpins that mark the end of the road.
Pick up the track that begins here and heads roughly West in the direction of a col on the ridge to the right (North) of Romsdalshorn. The track, which is well trodden, first climbs to a small lake and a cabin under a boulder. Then it ascends a steep scree slope. After an emergency shelter the track ends at the edge of a boulder field (large cairn). Scramble up through this, at first heading right and then up until you reach the col (large cairn). From here you have a magnificent view of Romsdal and Åndalsnes - if the weather is clear, of course.
(An alternative way to get here is by parking earlier on where the ridge is quite low. Follow the obvious path to a lower col. When you reach this, head left and climb the ridge by a cairned track. Less strenuous, but longer).
From the col head left and climb the ridge in the direction of the North face. Follow sections of track and cairns and scramble up a steep section of the ridge, until you reach a place where the ridge flattens. From this, a good resting place, descend to the gap (‘gapet’) that seperates the ridge from the North face. Cross the gap directly, or, easier, slightly to the left and lower. Then follow a track that leads up to the beginning of the route. This is also the end of the abseil piste.
Romsdalshorn North face report
Summit altitude: 1550 m
Difficulty: 4- (Norwegian)
Climbing length: 230 m, 6 pitches
Starting point: Parking lot at the head of Vengedalen
A great classic climb to summit an icon amongst Norwegian mountains!
(Unless stated otherwise, by left and right is meant: left and right when facing ‘in’, facing the wall).
From the end of the track it is an easy scrambling for the first 100 meters trending up and left, through easy terrain, then the wall steepens.
L1 - Climb a ramp slanting left reaching a belay 2, 60 m.
L2 - Climb directly on easy terrain to a belay to be equipped under a slanting dihedral, 2, 45 m. You reach a platform beneath a steep section. The next two pitches lead through this section and are the hardest. Some antiquated ironware (pegs and stakes) may be found here.
L3 - From the left of the platform climb a corner trending right and up until you reach a ledge with a double bolt anchor 4, 50 m. This is also the fourth abseil belay.
L4 - From this, climb slanting left and up over steps and then around a corner. You are now below a steep wall. Climb this to the next belay, which is situated left of the bottom of a gully and has no bolts 4, 50 m
From here there are several options to continue. One option is to scramble up the gully. Another one is to climb the rock pillar on the left, which I found offers good opportunities for protection (3). On top of the pillar is the next belay, with one bolt. From here, the original route heads up and right. First a big vain of white quartz (sharp!) is passed. Then a system of rock bands going up and right is climbed. Gain the highest of these and follow it to its right end, where, on a corner, there is a good spot for another bolt-less belay (3). The next pitch is a long scramble up and a little right through easy terrain until the summit cairns are reached (2). Beware the loose stuff on the last few meters of this pitch. It can be avoided on the right.
(Alternative from the top of the rock pillar: don’t make a belay as described before but continue to the big ledge above the top of the pillar. Here you’ll find a double bolt anchor which is the second abseil belay. Use this as your belay. Then climb the steep wall via its left edge until you reach the double bolt anchor of the first abseil belay. From here, follow the ledge to the right until a gully provides a way to scramble to the summit. Difficulty unknown)
In the vicinity of the summit cairns, scramble down a steep gully, back into the North face, to reach a ledge. Follow the ledge to the right (facing the valley) until you come to the double bolt anchor that is the first abseil belay. Take care on the first abseil pitch as you are now positioned above the middle part of the route. Pass a couple of overlaps until you reach a big ledge. A few meters to the right is the second abseil belay. From here, abseil through the gully until you come to its bottom. Right of this is the third abseil belay. From here, abseil straight down then go a little bit left until you reach a ledge where is the fourth abseil belay. This is the double bolt anchor that you’ve passed and used when going up. From here, abseil down trending right until you reach the fifth and last abseil belay, which is located on the right edge of the platform. The last abseil pitch takes you to the end of the track leading up from the gap (‘gapet’). From here, follow the same route down.
A helmet is absolutely necessary! Double ropes of at least 50 meters in order to use the abseil piste. I used double ropes of 60 meters and this route description has been based on that.
Protection gear. Enough to secure yourself on pitches of Norwegian difficulty 4- and create belays. Most belays have no bolts. I found I used Black Diamond Camalot .75 and 1 a lot, as well as middle size Wall Nuts.
Mountain boots for the approach. Early or late in the season you may encounter snow.
When descending, a GPS may be helpful in finding the beginning of the track that starts at the edge of the boulder field below the col. Especially when darkness is falling or visibility is poor.
Parking – gapet: 1.5 hours. Gapet – Romsdalshorn: 2 hours. Romsdalshorn – Gapet: 1 hour. Gapet – parking: 1 hour. Total: 5.5 hours. Time without resting, for experienced mountaineers with a good physical condition.
No fees no permits required
The best period to climb goes from the end of June to middle September. Winter ascents can be very problematic.
Different possibilities in Andalsnes and surroundings.
- "Walks and scrambles in Norway" Hiking, Scrambling and Mountaineering in Norway guidedebook by Anthony Dyer - John Baddeley - Ian H. Robertson - Ripping Yarns 2006
- "Klatring I Romsdal" (Norwegian)
- "Climbs and Walks in Romsdal" (English).