Robert Jasper is a German extreme mountaineer. He grew up in the Black Forest where he made his first climbing experience. He is a sports instructor, state-certified mountaineer, ski guide and mountain guide trainer. Jasper gained reputation in 1991 when he solo climbed the three large north faces of the Eiger, Grandes Jorasses and Matterhorn on difficult routes. Especially the north face of the Eiger has made a huge impression on him and attracted Jasper again and again in the following years. The most notable successes were the first solo ascent of the Spit verdonesque édenté route (VIII, A1), the first free ascent of Yeti (IX +) and the opening of the first Eiger route in the tenth degree of difficulty with Symphonie de liberté (X-) together with his wife Daniela.

Robert Jasper

Robert Jasper about his latest project:

I had to postpone my solo bigwall expedition to Greenland this year due to the COVID-19 crisis and an entry ban. Northern Norway came to my mind again as an alternative. The time during lockdown was difficult and it was a great feeling to finally travel again, climb, and enjoy the tranquility of the mountains.
In 1998 my wife Daniela and I visited the Lofoten Islands, an archipelago north of the polar circle. We were on our honeymoon climbing adventure. Mighty peaks rise from the ocean there. We were able to do the first ascend of “Freya” on the north face of Vagakallen, a 900-meter route ranging in the 9th grade. It was our highlight. Back then we saw the Pyramid of Stetind for the first time in the distance. Norway has been a destination of choice for me since then. Especially in winter for ice climbing. Its wild mountain ranges with the granite walls are beautiful and have remained mostly unbeknownst in my home country.

Pyramid of Stetind
The Stetind, 1392 meters, national mountain of Norway, also called the Anvil of the Gods, is the largest granite obelisk on earth. It’s been on my wish list since then. When climbing rope solo style, the climber belays himself in hard terrain. This means that the passage has to be climbed in lead, then you have to abseil back down to remove protection and then you have to ascend again to your highest point. After a few easier rope-solo routes to warm up I concentrated on my main goal.
Once the rough Norse weather offered a fair-weather window, I was already at the base of the approximately 800-meter-high south face of the Stetind. I made ground without protection in easy terrain until the wall began to get steeper. I discarded my initial plan to climb the Guldfisken Route because rockfall had deployed rubble on the ledges of the vertical wall. The noticeably large dihedral further to the right looked good. The only problem was that it ended on plain slabs. A big question mark was if I could continue to climb further.

Uncharted territory?

My biggest passion is to explore unknown terrain. I don’t know what to expect and that means lots of adventure. To achieve something like this solo poses the biggest challenge to me. I climbed pitch by pitch, or rather, I climbed up, down, and up again. It was very tedious but at least I wasn’t getting cold since I had no breaks in between and kept on moving! I have come to develop a routine while rope soloing over the course of the years and I get into a good rhythm. I’m about as fast as a rope team. The challenges and the risks are much higher when going solo and every step must be thoroughly thought thru. But I especially enjoy being alone in nature with myself. The contrast to everyday life in the valley is strongest for me during extreme situations in the mountains. They open my eyes and I grow though them in many respects.
I reached the south pillar after two-thirds of the wall height, free climbing, using only the rock as holds, working with the rope and mobile protection in clean climbing style. Ten hours later I reached the peak via the pillar at midnight. I accomplished the first ascend of “Goldfinger” (6b+), a new variation on the south pillar. The midnight sun disappeared below the horizon but it was light enough all night to climb without a headlamp. Strong winds made the descend difficult but I reached basecamp down at the Tysfjord after 20 hours, tired but happy.

Robert Jasper Camp
Further routes followed after a few days of rest, like the first solo ascent of Torskefiskaren (6b+, clean, 300 m), a challenging route on Kugelhornet. Also, the Eidetind Traverse via the route Engelsdiederet and the first solo ascent of the Swiss Variation (6a+, 300 m) on the south-east pillar of the Rundtind.

To sum it all up I can say that Norway is an absolute paradise for adventurous climbers, true to the motto: “Climb wild!” The climbing routes are barely developed and you need to place protection yourself. All this in a wild mountain scenery with constantly changing weather. It’s simply raw adventure!

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