Here is a list of the ice climbing first ascents Steven Berwanger and I completed on our February 2016 trip to the Alta area of Norway.  We spent 2.5 weeks exploring and climbing.  From the locals we contacted, these routes were all likely first ascents.  Of course in ice climbing, not many traces are left behind, so it’s possible they could have been done before.

Oldersfjord Area

Visible from the road about 10 mins north of Olderfjord.  Approach time is about an hour.  Skis recommended.

Russevannfossen (WI4-5, 130m)
Pitch 1-2 (WI4-5 80m) Could likely be done as one pitch with an 80m rope.
Pitch 3 (WI4 50m) Features interesting windblown death sombrero ice features at the top.

The first pitch was climbed about two weeks prior to our arrival by Sven-Inge Schult.

Skillefjord Area

Visible in the back of Skillefjord.  Approach times are about an hour.  Snowshoes recommended.

Miller’s Moondance (WI5 M7R 320m)

Pitch 1 (WI2 M2 75m) – Climb up beneath an ice flow, move right across ledge for about 5m with a few moves of easy mixed.  Climb low angled ice and belay beneath a steep pillar that dead ends.

Pitch 2 (WI4 M5 60m) – Traverse left on lower angled terrain, then up steeper ice and traverse back right on turf and up through a final bulge to a belay ledge in an alcove with big blocks.

Pitch 3 (WI5- 60m) – Traverse left on thin very exposed ice above a roof to gain easier ground. Continue leftwards across easier terrain and belay near a steep pillar.

Pitch 4 (WI5 M4 40m) – Climb the steep pillar then begin a long traverse left crossing several columns of ice and some mixed climbing.  Belay at a final ice pillar.

Pitch 5 (WI3 M7R 25m) – Climb up the left side of the pillar then move and through an overhang into a prominent crack on the left side of a corner.  Follow turf up through easier ground and a final steep bit before reaching the ledge system.

Pitch 6 (5th Class 60m) – Traverse left across the exposed ledge.  Belay at large trees.

Descent: From the end of the last traverse pitch, do a 62m rappel from big trees to a large ledge, the final 25m of which is free hanging.  A second rappel from trees leads to the ground 50m.

Gear: ice screws, lost arrows, knife blades, cams 0-4 (extra fingers to hands suggested), small set of stoppers.

Kafjord Area

This area is just above the E6 highway.  There is a little pull-off just below the cliff.  We approached via a WI1-2 flow of ice and deep snow.  Approach time was 20-30 mins.  There is also a WI2/4 just to the left of what we climbed and other short flows further left.

For the Love of Lisa (M8+, 15m)

Climb overhanging cracks between hanging daggers. Belay from trees at the top.
Gear: 1 set of cams from 0-4. 2x .4

Nuvsvag Climbs

These climbs are just a few minutes north of Nuvsvag and are visible from the road.  Approach times range from 30 mins to 1.5 hours. Nuvsvag is accessed via a ferry from Øksfjord.

(Left to Right)
100% God Smak (WI5, 70m)
We split it up into 2 pitches.  Steep and exposed!!
H.A.M. (WI4, 70m)
Name stands for (Hard As a Muthafucker). Also a rap song by Jay-Z. Named for the bullet hard ice. This climb felt much steeper than it looked.  It looked like a ramp, but felt overhanging at times.
Glass Castle (M5 WI6, 70m)
Named because of the fear that the whole thing might shatter and fall down.  Could also be done as a scary WI6 pitch in the conditions we experienced.


This climb in on the cliffband above town.  Approach time is about 20-30 mins, depending on snow conditions.  There is a WI3 to the left of the climb.

Poop Stain (M7, WI4+, 25m)
Named because the brown/yellow ice looks like a bathroom accident.  The line we took started on the left, traversed right on horizontal cracks onto a sloping ledge.  From there, it went up an overhanging right facing corner (some ledge fall potential), then back left to gain an ice covered ledge behind the hanging ice.  We tunneled through a small window to the outer face of the ice and followed that to the summit fighting significant rope drag.  The anchor was off of a few groups of birch trees. Gear: Cams to a #2 Camalot, 1 #4? stopper was used.

Botn Area

The Botn area is just a few minutes south of Nuvsvag at the back of the fjord.  The climbs are not far from the Øksfjord Glacier. Approach distance is close to 5k.  About 45 mins. of skiing followed by 30 mins. up the steep hill.

Ava Winter (WI3, 40m)
Farthest left climb.  It’s in a gully of sorts, so it’s hidden from view.

Spicy Mamma (WI4, 70m)
The big wide climb.

Rosey Posey (WI3+, 60m)
Harder variations are possible.  The headwall on the right was overhanging!

Lulumatic (WI4, 60m)
Farthest right climb.