A Senja Island winter climbing week is one of those trips that you never forget. The island is a world class ice and mixed climbing venue, covered in great climbs and potential new objectives across the grade range. Senja lies at 69 degrees north – some 300km north of the arctic circle on the north west coast of Norway. It’s a very remote spot with amazing mountain and fjord scenery and the winter climbing potential on this spectacular island is endless. The climbing is best described as being ‘like scotland on steroids’- with everything from european style roadside icefalls, to Cuillin like ridge traverses, to huge 500m high ice and mixed faces. This is a week for experienced winter climbers, who want to climb high standard ice and mixed routes, including the possiblity of making first ascents.
Please visit our Covid-19 Climb Information page for Covid FAQs, details of our new participation requirements, travel advice and what to expect on your trip.
Dates and Prices
This trip is available on demand through the winter season with the best window (for daylight hours/conditions) being mid February to mid March. You may book as a group of 2 along with your regular climbing partner, climbing at 1:2 ratio with the guide at the quoted price above per person.
If you would prefer to climb 1:1 with your guide, you may also book as an individual – please contact us for a quote.
This is an advanced level trip. To take part you should be at Fitness Level 3 and Tech Level 4 (see our Fitness/Experience guidelines). To get the most from this week, you need to be comfortable seconding Scottish grade 4/5 on both ice and mixed terrain (WI4/M4). A typical day will feel very much like a Scottish day out: up to an hour and a half’s walking (but sometimes only 10 mins) often requiring snowshoes, 8 hours of climbing and finishing with either a walk off descent, or more often by abseil back down the line, or a technical mountaineering descent. All in all, the mountains are relatively small – mainly 700-900m in hight, but they make up for this in other ways!
One IFMGA guide climbing with 2 clients.
Included in price
- 6 days of guiding
- All guides expenses
- 7 nights full board self catering accommodation at Senja Lodge
- Travel during the trip in shared hire vehicle
Excluded from price (see factsheet for cost estimates)
- Drinks and hill snacks
Our accommodation on Senja is the Senja Lodge located in a tiny fishing village on the far north side of the island, surrounded by stunning mountains and just a stones throw from the Arctic ocean. It is owned and run by local mountain guide Bent Vidar Eilertsen as a self catering skiers and climbers lodge – formerly a fishermans cottage, it now makes a stunning base from which to explore the island, and is a very comfortable place to hang out.
At the Lodge you will find shared bedrooms (2-4 bunks in each room), a toilet and bathroom with shower, drying room, equipment and work room for servicing gear, a fully equipped kitchen and two living rooms – one with a wide screen TV and a large collection of ski/climb/expedition films, and one with a huge library of mountaineering books. The bunks have duvets and pillows, but not linen/covers so you need to take your own linen/covers or a light sleeping bag or liner. We will self cater and buy food supplies locally. Please let us know if you have any special dietary requirements. Lodge details can be found on our Accommodation page.
Fly from London Gatwick via Oslo to Bardufoss in Northern Norway, pick up hire car and travel to Senja Island (2 hrs drive). Evening Briefing – your guide will run through kit checks and safety routines, before going on to discuss the current weather and mountain conditions and how these affect our plans.
Days 2 – 7
Senja Island winter climbing. There are a wide variety of established routes on the island at all grades, some examples of which are shown below.
First Ascents – a big draw for climbing on Senja, is it’s huge potential for exploration. We’ve been climbing on the island for several years now, and been privileged to play an active role in the development of this amazing place, with 20 or so new routes of all grades. As a result, we have an excellent knowledge of the mountains and a long list of ideas for as yet unclimbed lines and new adventures!
- Chockstone Gully – WI3+. A nice 4 pitch ice route by the sea, threading a big chockstone
- Knoll and Tot – WI4. Nice ice flows overlooking the sea
- Big Blue – WI4-5. Excellent steep ice column by the sea
- Hesten South face – WI4+. An amazing 9 pitch ice smear on an impressive face
- Finkonna – WI6, the islands mega classic hard ice route
- Kyles Keyhole – AI3, short but atmospheric Scottish gully, 45 mins from the lodge
- Band of Brothers – AI 3-4, a long and impressive gully/face route
- Loki – AI5/M5. Superb steep gully with a mixed finish
- Fjolhaugen South Face – AI5/M3. Icy face climbing to a mixed ramp line, finishing on a superb pointy summit.
- Stormbringers – M4. 4 pitches of excellent turfy corners and chimneys.
- The Trolls, the Trolls – M5. 6 pitches of turfy grooves leading to a deep chimney, then a superb ice gully to finish.
- The Great Corner – WI4+/M6. One of the best mixed routes on the island. 5 pitches of ice and mixed up a huge corner/chimney line. Simply awesome.
Early start, in order to drive back to Bardufoss Airport for flights home.
The most convenient way to reach Senja is fly to Oslo, with connecting flights on to Bardufoss airport (BDU) or Tromso (using the same airline). Your guide will collect you from the airport on the evening of Day 1, and drop you off on the morning of Day 8, in time for return flights. For transfer to Senja and travel during the trip, your guide will transport the team in a hire vehicle. Please contact us to discuss the most suitable flights for your chosen dates, and for any other help with your travel plans.
Norwegian and SAS airlines offer flights from several UK airports including London, Manchester and Edinburgh. Check Sky Scanner flight comparison site for your best option.
Further information and travel links can be found on our Travel Planning page.
To enjoy this trip you should be comfortable operating at Fitness Level 3, and Tech Level 4 (as appropriate for the style of climbing on this trip ie Alpine, rock climbing or ice climbing).
Fitness Level 3
You do 3-4 hours CV training/sport per week. At this level you are happy doing a 5-6 hour hillwalk, 50 mile cycle or 3-4hr mountain bike ride without being totally exhausted. If you are into challenges – then the thought of doing a road sportive, or training to do a 1/2 (or maybe even a full) marathon, wouldn’t seem too ridiculous. Eg: you should be able to do the full Langdale Horseshoe: Langdale – Pike of Stickle – Angle Tarn – Bow Fell – Crinkle Crags – Pike of Blisco – Langdale in a day without finishing up exhausted.
Tech Level 4
Experienced climber. Leading multi pitch trad rock climbs at VS – HVS / multi pitch winter climbs to Scottish grade 4 / alpine peaks at AD – D standard. If you mainly climb with guides or seldom lead climb, you have extensive experience seconding at this standard.
To view all climbing Technical and Fitness Levels, and for advice on trip preparation and training, please visit our training advice page.
Alpine Ice Kit List
Equipment can take a real hammering in winter-time, so a substantial hardshell is preferred, rather than lightweight summer waterproofs.
- Waterproof Jacket – full weight breathable model preferred
- Waterproof trousers – durable model with 3/4 or full length side zips
- Socks – warm ‘Smartwool’ type, plus thin liner socks and spares
- Gaiters – made from breathable material
- Wicking thermal baselayer tops – synthetic not cotton!
- 2 fleeces – or equivalent insulating mid-layers
- Belay jacket – down or synthetic insulation
- Powerstretch tights or warm mountain trousers – should fit comfortably under your waterproof trousers
- Thin inner gloves
- Warm mountain gloves – Goretex or equivalent water/windproof model
- Second pair of mountain gloves as above – one pair will often get wet
- Hat or balaclava – must fit under a helmet.
- Spare mittens – especially if you suffer from cold hands
- Water Container – at least 1 litre
- Headtorch and batteries
- Map, compass and whistle (optional, but a good idea)
- Personal medications and blister kit – zinc oxide tape, compeed, painkillers etc
- Sun Glasses – CE rated 3 or 4 with side protection
- Goggles – for windy/snowy conditions
- Sun and lip cream – factor 30+
- Wallet and passport
- Alpine Club/BMC card (if you are a member) and insurance docs
- Rucsac 40-50l – to handle extra winter kit
- Rucsac – superlight 15/20l model, for taking on long multi-pitch icefall routes (optional)
- *Rigid 4 season mountaineering boots – Axe, Boot and Crampon advice
- Harness, locking karabiner and belay device
- 120cm sling and locking karabiner
- Climbing helmet
- Technical ice axe and ice hammer
- Crampons – vertically orientated front points are best, or sharp new mountaineering crampons are also fine
- Snowshoes or ski mountaineering equipment for Winter Couloirs/Norwegian ice climbing trips – please contact us for advice
Your guide will have ropes, climbing rack, first aid and survival equipment.
*Boots: These are VERY important to the success of your trip! Its best to have your own boots and break them in well before the start of the trip – see advice below.
Recommendations and Advice
Visit the Knowledge Base section of our website or our blog for equipment advice. If you can’t find what you’re looking for, please get in touch!
Backcountry UK in Ilkley offer an excellent mountain boot fitting service and general equipment advice.
Please see our Equipment Hire page for more details.
For this trip you must have specialist travel insurance providing medical, emergency search/rescue and repatriation cover for climbing and mountaineering activities as outlined in the course itinerary. We also strongly recommend that you purchase cancellation cover, in case you’re unable to attend your trip due to personal circumstances or injury. Please arrange your insurance as soon as your trip is confirmed to run.
Please find further details on our insurance info page.