Eilertsen had barely started up when the pick on his axe broke at the beginning of a 20-metre long slab traverse. He didn’t give up and fought his way with one ice axe and a great deal of technical prowess.
millimetre-thin ice, my last piece of protection was far below me, the Pecker. I made delicate placements with the razor-shar p pick of my axe, so as not to disturb the thin glaze. A few metres higher the ice looked solid, but the appearance was deceiving.With every placement, I could hear that ominous, hollow sound. Shit, I became anxious. After a few more metres of careful climbing, the first solid ice screw bit into the compact ice. I sent out a cry of joy into the landscape. Made it!
Then, disaster struck. Eilertsen had barely started up when the pick on his axe broke at the beginning of a 20- metre long slab traverse. He didn’t give up and fought his way with one ice axe and a great deal of technical prowess. He repeated a pendulum across the traverse, piece by piece; that means unclipping, swinging over and jumaring up to the next piece and then starting it all over again. I was a little worried that the pro wouldn’t hold and he would end up taking a giant whipper. Everything went well, though it took three hours. It wasn’t until Eilertsen arr ived at the belay, exhausted but unharmed, that I realized we mastered the crux section. We still, however, were a long way from topping-out. Thomas was with his camera, hanging above us in position and was able to give Eilertsen his ice axe and we continued up the last 200 metres of vertical ice. It was a day we will both remember for a long time to come. We accomplished the first ascent of ‘Finnmannen’ and for me, a free ascent. We topped-out under an amazing starry sky, accompanied by br illiant green northern lights. We were a total of 19- hours underway that day. Just enough time to get to the airport in Tromsø and catch our flight home.