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5.10d, Trad, 1300 ft, 12 pitches, Grade III,  Avg: 4 from 29 votes
FA: A. Meyer and B. Tollefsen
International > Europe > Norway > Lofoten > Presten


The most famous and sought after route in Lofoten, and likely one of the better long 5.10 free climbs you will ever do. A short approach, pitch after pitch of fun and varied climbing, all on a clean granite wall rising above the emerald waters of the Norwegian Sea. Justifiably, the route is popular and it is not uncommon to see a party on almost every pitch on a sunny afternoon. But during midsummer, you can climb it at any time of the day or night so with the right strategy you can still avoid the crowds.

P1: (5.9, 45m) Climb the corner up and right. Be mindful of rope drag as you will make a traverse left about half way up the pitch. Traverse left across easy ground and then continue up corner. The book mentions a fixed belay here, but it is a rappel anchor on the face just right of the corner and not very conveniently located for a belay. Build an anchor at a small stance in the corner at roughly the same level as the chains.

P2: (5.10a, 40m) Continue up cracks, climb on top of big flake, then continue straight up face/cracks above. Belay at fixed anchor.

P3: (5.10b/c, 50m) Climb up the crack/thin left facing corner above. A tricky move around the bulge comes early in the pitch, but the climbing remains sustained. Belay at fixed anchor.

P4: (5.8, 20m) A relatively short pitch up and right to Storhylla Ledge. It is more pleasant to climb up and left on the face just before reaching the ledge, avoiding the grungy crack in the corner, but either way goes. Belay at fixed anchor on the right side of ledge.

P5: (5.7, 30m) From the anchor, look up and notice the pillar with the triangular top almost straight above - this pitch ends there. Scramble up and right on the ledge to cracks leading up the right side of the pillar. Belay at the top of the pillar.

P6: (5.10b, 45m) Straight up a nice, short hand crack to a thin right facing corner. Small nuts protect the corner and careful footwork gets you through. Continue up crack until a big ledge is reached - set a solid directional here to protect the second when they follow the corner below. Traverse down and left on the ledge until it more or less ends, then up about 10 feet to a nice belay ledge below a beautiful corner. Some rope drag.

P7: (5.10d, 45m) Climb the beautiful, thin left facing corner. The tricky crux comes early on in the pitch and protects well. Continuing up, the climbing remains sustained following the flake/cracks above to another tricky move stepping left from a thin crack to a more secure crack. After you pass by the small roof (off to the right - you don't climb it), go over small bulge and build a hanging belay at the base of the spectacular left facing layback corner.

P8: (5.9, 40m) Layback up the clean, sustained left facing corner. About halfway up the pitch, the difficulty eases. Continue up a corner to a nice ledge right below the Slating Corner.

P9: (5.10b/c, 40m). The Slanting Corner. Straightforward but sustained climbing up the beautiful, exposed right facing corner. Some tricky moves higher on the pitch where you climb out onto the face/thin cracks to the right of the main corner. The book mentions belaying at the top of a "block". It is likely a better/more comfortable belay at the first good ledge above the corner.

P10: (5.7, 35m) Assuming you belayed at the first good ledge above as mentioned above, continue up the crack to a good ledge. From here, climb up and left on easy ground to the base of the loose flake. Climb carefully around the flake - fortunately, your feet can do most of the work here and you shouldn't need to really pull on the flake. Then head up and left up a corner to a belay ledge below a thin crack. Some rope drag.

P11: (5.10a, 35m) At this point we were thinking it was pretty much over and we were just going to cruise up to the top. But its not over yet. Climb up the thin corner. Gear becomes sparse near the top, but a creatively placed small cam before the traverse should protect the second. Step down a few feet (you do not need to go down and right several meters). There is a thin seam cutting horizontally across a slab with a boxy handhold at the start (which will take a shallow .75 Camalot). Step up onto the slab and friction traverse (with some rope drag) right into the gully. Climb up the gully a bit and belay at a flake on the right side of the gully.

P12 (5.dirt, 58m) Climb up the gully using steps kicked into the dirt/grass. Can be muddy and slick. Belay at the top.


Approach: A trail heads up to the base of the route from the left side of the main parking area. The trail hits the wall more or less at the start of the route. The climb begins at a small flake/ledge. Start on the right side of this and traverse a few feet into the main corner.

Descent: It is highly recommended to have a decent pair of shoes for the descent. From the top of Presten, while facing up the ridge, identify the triangular summit of Festvagtinden across the void to the right. You are aiming for this - the descent trail passes just beneath the summit. The first part of the descent is very exposed in places and involves weaving across the ridge on a narrow path with some sections of 3rd/4th class down climbing depending on the route chosen. Up, down, up, down, then back up again to a point where it would be easy to continue straight along the path. But remember, you are heading towards the summit of Festvagtinden which is now off to your right. Go right here up the ridge towards Festvagtinden. Just below the summit, follow the hiking trail down and left towards the lake, then down right to the road.


Gear to 3".

It is possible to bail (with two ropes) from the top of P4 via fixed rappels with chains. Be aware that you will be rappelling straight down the route. Above this, bailing will require leaving gear.

Note that depending on which guide book version you have this route may be listed as either “Vestpillaren” or “Vestpillaren Direct”.

Photos [Hide ALL Photos]

The beautiful view from the top!
[Hide Photo] The beautiful view from the top!
High on Vespillaren.
[Hide Photo] High on Vespillaren.
route goes up the right skyline.  magical.
[Hide Photo] route goes up the right skyline. magical.
Pitch 11
[Hide Photo] Pitch 11
The 8th pitch
[Hide Photo] The 8th pitch
Claudio in the slanting corner
[Hide Photo] Claudio in the slanting corner
The Slanting Corner.
[Hide Photo] The Slanting Corner.
Topping out at midnight mid June, 2017.
[Hide Photo] Topping out at midnight mid June, 2017.
unmatched scenery
[Hide Photo] unmatched scenery
perfect cracks
[Hide Photo] perfect cracks
Climbing up to one of the crux overlaps on the 3rd pitch.
[Hide Photo] Climbing up to one of the crux overlaps on the 3rd pitch.
Start of the Priest
[Hide Photo] Start of the Priest

Comments [Hide ALL Comments]

Tony B
Around Boulder, CO
[Hide Comment] If this route were in Yosemite, it would be one of the best moderates in Yosemite, and the best of the routes I have done there. This is the very definition of a "destination route." Jul 14, 2014
[Hide Comment] Climbed this in 2009. One of the best routes I have ever done. The walk off is almost as good as the climb. Oct 27, 2015
[Hide Comment] Concerning the climbing, for the mid-tens probably the best route I have ever done together with Sunset Strip in Squamish and Sunshine Crack in the Bugaboos. Perfect rock on all 12 pitches, very well protected, nice moves even on the easy pitches, do it! Aug 18, 2016
[Hide Comment] The first and finest route we did in Lofoten. Twelve pitches of granite bliss. We were blessed with sunshine, and had the entire wall to ourselves. We carried a single rack up to #3 camelot which proved to be sufficient. Perfect rock. A destination route indeed. Jun 26, 2017
[Hide Comment] Among the finest multi-pitch 5.10s I have done in close to 40 years of climbing--stands among the very best in Yosemite, Squamish, the Bugs, the Alps, anywhere. Only here, you have a good chance of having the entire route to yourself. Lofoten feels empty for such a "popular" destination. Excellent climbing pitch after pitch, only broken by the two easy pitches across Storhylla (which easily link into one pitch), and the final "5.dirt" gully to the summit. The middle four pitches--from the top of the triangular block to the end of the slanting corner--are brilliant. The "loose flake" on pitch 10 is a definite concern. If you are 5'9" (my height) you can get around it without touching it at all; but my two daughters had a devil of a time avoiding it. The route will be better when it inevitably goes. Climbed in 9 easy hours in a party of three with my two girls, 12 and 15, including a nice, long lunch break on one of the good ledges. Jul 15, 2018