Magnus Midtbö and the Hanshellern crag in Flatanger, Norway
Norwegian climber Magnus Midtbö sheds some light onto the Hanshellern cave (also known as Flatanger) in Norway.
We mentioned it a couple of days ago when Dutch climber Jorg Verhoeven freed Nordic Flower: the cave Flatanger is all the rage this summer and on everyone's lips. This is why we decided to ask Magnus Midtboe to shed some light on this mysterious cave just a few hours to the north of Trondheim.
HANSHELLERN, ALIAS THE CRAG FLATANGER
by Magnus Midtbö
I had heard great things about Flatanger for a few years and all the rumours had got me really curious. I'd been told that the cave had some great potential for some very hard steep climbing, but it´s always hard to know for sure until you actually go there and see for yourself. The problem is that Flatanger really is in the middle of nowhere, so due to its location it took me a while to actually go up there with my drill. It's 10 hours on poor roads from where I live...
Some routes on the side of the cave had already been bolted, though the main section inside the cave was untouched when we first got there. All the routes through the cave are at the very the limit of what is currently possible and the the only way of knowing if they can actually physically be climbed is by bolting your way up and checking it out.
The thing about Flatanger is that it´s hard to compare to other places. It´s like the Santa Linya cave, multiplied by four, and the rock is like the one you come across when bouldering in Switzerland. So many formations and different holds! In addition, the ground follows the vault creating a sort of natural stadium inside the cave, which makes it great for spectating! You can watch the climbers pretty close by, even when they're 80 meters into their route.
There are a lot of other caves and rock faces in the area and there is also a bouldering area called Vingsand only two hours away. So there is definitely enough to keep climbers busy for more than one generation!
The weather in Norway varies a lot from place to place. The cave is located close to the sea and the landscape is pretty flat, so most of the rain passes pretty quickly and the mosquitos are whisked away by the wind. I think it´s climbable from early April through to October, though the best time of year is the summer. This is great news because there aren't really many great places to climb during those months, apart obviously from Ceuse and South Africa.
As to the grades, many have asked me if there are only really hard routes in Flatanger. I can assure you that there are far more easier routes than hard ones, starting at grade 4a.
I realise that after reading this some might say this sounds like a poor publicity stunt for the place, with nothing negative at all. To those who think this: I really cant help it. I have completely fallen in love with the place and same goes for everyone else who has been there!
P.S. in truth the region is called Flatanger, while the cave was named Hanshellern. There's actually a funny story to the name but you'll have to find out yourselves. Ask the locals about it when your there ;-)