Words and photos by Paul Bride
Photography Objective – Over a two week period in February 2015, I traveled with Arc’teryx athletes Jon Walsh, Jesse Huey and Paul McSorley on a mission to Senja, Norway. Senja is located at the 68th and 69th parallels north of the Arctic Circle and offers technical ice and ski mountaineering with steep lines and couloirs that descend to the Norwegian Sea.
My objective, while working with a small and fast team, was to document first ascents while ice climbing and skiing throughout this incredible area of the world.
After 3 days of travel from Boulder, CO. Jesse Huey is stoked to finally be off the plane in the Arctic town of Bardufoss Norway.
After two days of travel (Left – Right) Paul McSorley, Jesse Huey, Mike Pennings, and Jon Walsh waiting at the Oslo airport for their final flight to Bardufoss, Norway.
Jon Walsh battling huge winds and spinddrift on the first route of day one – “The great corner”. A fresh dump of snow over a 24 hour prior mixed with high winds made for less than ideal conditions.
A view of the potential climbing seen from the highway during a scouting mission the morning after arriving in Senja Norway.
Where are we? Jon Walsh and Paul McSorley lost on the road to Senja.
Jesse Huey, Paul McSorley, and Mike Pennings breaking trail up the ‘Great Corner’ of Senja Island, Norway.
Seeking refuge from the howling Arctic wind, Paul McSorley contemplates skiping out on another power bar while getting back to his Viking roots.
A view of the upper pitches of the route as the morning winds became nuclear.
A visit to the local fishing village yielded new friends and a free Cod. Apparently these Norwegian waters are the richest in the world with Cod. Next time we are getting Halibut, which we were told would NOT be on the house.
john Walsh pulling onto our first bit of Norway ice. Steep from the get go!
Jesse Huey on pitch 5 of Finnkona, one of the routes crux ice pitches.
Jesse Huey on pitch 3 of the Senja classic Finnkona, a 300- meter M4, WI6+. The final hundred meters were some of the most exciting and sustained ice either of us had ever climbed.
The Trophy wall, home to Finnkona on the left and Finnamen on the right.
The wall we came for. A truly world class ice climbing venue. They day before John Walsh and I climbed the left of the two obvious ice lines. Both of us unanimously agreed that it was one of the best ice climbs either of us have ever climbed!
Jesse Huey leading high on the first pitch of Finnmannen M9+/WI6+
Jesse Huey traversing above Bergsfjord during the approach to Finnmannen M9+/WI6+ looking over the Norwegian Sea.
Jon Walsh belayed by Jesse Huey on the second pitch WI4 climbing up the to the amphitheater to start Finnmannen M9+/WI6+
Jesse Huey arriving at the base of Finnmannen M9+/WI6+. A route put up by fellow Arc’teryx athlete Ines Papert. The 5 km approach was done on skis.
Mike Pennings about to cleanse his soul during a beautiful morning in the town of Hamn i located on the Norwegian Sea.
Jesse Huey and Paul McSorley on the approach to the Scottish Wall. The two made a first accent of the wall calling the route (Ice Princess M6+ AI4)
Jon Walsh belayed by Jesse Huey leads out the delicate traverse on Finnmannen M9+/WI6+
Left to right – Jesse Huey, Mike Pennings, Jon Walsh making the walk back to the car on their final ski tour in fjord country.
Jesse Huey taking in the views on the last ski tour before heading back home to Boulder, CO.