Troll Wall, first solo winter ascent by Marek Raganowicz in Norway

Interview with Polish alpinist Marek Raganowicz who, from 11 - 26 January 2017, made the first solo winter ascent of Troll Wall (Trollveggen) in Norway by repeating the climb Suser gjennom Harryland (6/A3).
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Marek Raganowicz during the first winter ascent of 'Suser gjennom Harryland' up the North Face of Troll Wall - Trollveggen in Norway (11-16/01/2017)
Marek Raganowicz

After the first ascent of Katharsis in 2015 together with Marcin Tomaszewski, this January Polish alpinist Marek Raganowicz returned to the legendary north face of Trollweggen in Norway, better known as Troll Wall, to carry out the third winter ascent, and first solo ascent, of Suser gjennom Harryland. Put up in 1996 by Halvor Hagen and Kyrre Østbø, this right tackles the Trollryggen pillar and although it does not reach the main summit of Troll Wall, it is significantly steeper and more technical than the other routes on this part of the face. On his own for 16 days, Raganowicz climbed ground-up without ever returning to the base of the mountain and, in doing so, completed the first solo winter ascent of this inhospitable face.

Marek - the first thing that springs to mind when looking at the photos: cold!
Troll Wall isn’t the warmest place in Europe!. But to be honest, the real cold I experienced was when it thawed, water dripped down like rain. I was absolutely soaked and frozen.

Why this route?
My main aim was to to the first winter solo ascent of any route on Troll Wall. SGH has the safest approach and that was important to me.

You chose to climb without fixed ropes. What makes climbing in one push so special?
Thank you for this question because after chatting with some climbers I realize that people don’t really car much about fixed ropes as the element of style in big wall climbing. If you approach the wall and fix the ropes, everyday until you finally leave the ground you have the chance to rest in a hotel or tent, you can buy more gear or food if necessary and you can bail quickly. When you finally leave the ground you have to haul much less food and water and you also spend far fewer days on a portaledge, instead of real bed. Climbing in a single push involves playing a real game right from the very beginning.

You also added a further difficulty: no capsule style. No fixed camps, but instead you hauled your portal edge higher every day.
When you climb capsule style it is more like Himalayan siege style mountaineering. The climbing is easier, safer and heavier, but you also need to put in less effort as you can have far longer rests.

So how much stuff did you take with you?
I think the weight of all my gear was about 100kg, and this included the snow I hauled up with me for cooking.

What was the gear like on the route
The belays are OK, which surprised me after reading Andy Kirkpatrick’s trip report after the last winter ascent in 2013. One belay is natural, the others have at least one good bolt, so I did not replace or add any gear.

How alone were you?
I was 100% alone:) I did not suffered any solitude or alienation. Frankly speaking, solo climbing comes very natural to me, I really enjoy it.

First Katharsis with Marcin Tomaszewski, now SGH. You have a special relationship with the Trollveggen wall. Why do you keep coming back for more?
I still haven’t figured it out. But evidently this wall must exert some form of magic power on me...

Thanks to: Patagonia, Zamberlan, MBC Ltd (Grivel UK, Edelweiss UK, Sea To Summit UK), CAN Ltd and Polish Alpine Association.

04/11/2016 - Marek Raganowicz solo climbs Plastic Surgery Disaster on El Capitan
18/02/2015 - Trollveggen Troll Wall, Polish alpinists Marek Raganowicz and Marcin Tomaszewski add Katharsis
02/02/2013 - Difficult winter ascent of Trollveggen Troll Wall in Norway

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