Two climbers, three legs, one mountain. This July, Johan and me will climb for two weeks in the Lofoten and Narvik area, and have set eyes on the majestic Stetind. It’s a huge granite pillar rising 1329 m out of Tysfjord, with a unique shape and climbing history. Its one of those mountains that makes you question if there is some truth to the old norse myth about giants and trolls, who else would have cut the top of that pillar so clean?
The normal route stands at Norwegian grade n4 (ca. Yosemite 5.4-5.5) and involves a lot of scrambling and an exposed traverse pitch, it’s a long day out. However, if weather, conditions and psyche allow us, the n6- “Sydpillaren” (South pillar) tempts us. It’s a 14 pitch trad climb that is described as one of Norway’s finest climbs and classic alpine test piece. We shall see how our mojo is after training on the Lofoten for a week, maybe we can get the first 3 legged ascent of that route.
I lost my lower left leg during a traffic accident when I was ten, and have lived in pirate mode ever since. Due to my loving family and the well-working German and Norwegian healthcare systems, I grew up just fine, running, cycling, swimming and skiing like everyone else. Five years ago I started climbing, and have been hooked on it ever since. I actually broke two normal prosthetic legs during climbing (carbon fibres apparently do not like big whippers) until I found out I should probably get a proper climbing one. Thanks to my amazing climbing partners the grades and number of pitches under my climbing prosthetic are steadily rising.
Had I lived in another corner of the planet, things would be very different. Normal things like buying groceries, walking outside the house and doing dishes would be unattainable luxuries to me. Prosthetic technology has evolved extremely far these days, greatly improving the life of amputees in countries with well-funded healthcare systems. But this technology is all too often unattainable in poorer regions of the world. To start that fight against this inequality, the charity Range of Motion Project (ROMP) supplies prosthetic and orthotic care to people in need in Equador and Guatemala. You can find more info on their website http://www.rompglobal.org/. If you can, support their great effort with a few dollars, you will make someone walk, run, dance and climb again. Johan and me will keep you updated on our three legged climb for ROMP! For more information on what I am up to visit https://sebastianmenze.w.uib.no/.
UPDATE ---> we did it :)
Thousand thanks for your support! We can gladly report that we made it up Stetind via Sydpilaren two weeks ago! It was a great adventure through beautiful rock, starting in wet clouds and 7 degrees in the morning, and touching the summit during a beautiful sunset, followed by a beautiful sunrise on our way down. We had a little detour after pitch 8 where we went up the wrong dihedral that was harder to climb, being much more vertical and overhanging than it looked. As it turned out we climbed way to far left and replaced a 6- and 5+ pitch with a very long grade 6/6+ pitch. But after that we made it to the fantastic final pitch. Car to car it took us 18 h, with 10 h of climbing (due to the detour :-D) 3 hours approach and 5 hours descent via the normal route ridge. The days after we recovered by one of Lofoten’s beautiful beaches and picked up another friend for more crack climbing. We will post some pictures and a video in the coming weeks.