Dušan “Stoupa” Janák about second ascent of Freya, finishing Fram and other routes done in 2005
ClimbandMore: Dusan, you had a great summer season, and I’d like to talk with you about the best ascents you did last summer. Let’s start with Lofoten where you went in June. Storpillaren on the north face of Vågakallen is known as Bonatti Pillar of Lofoten. Do you find this comparison appropriate?
Dušan “Stoupa” Janák: Yes, I do.Both of the walls have similar figure: first third are slabs, second third is steep, the last part is easier and the top is a peak. When you come to Lofoten by ferry this is the first and dominant big wall you see, just like Petit Dru in Chamonix. But the Storpillaren isn´t so sharp and outstanding, it is more a part of a wide ridge.
You did probably the second ascent of famous Robert and Daniela Jaspers’ route Freya. Only four pitches of Freya are aid ones, the remaining part is free climbing. What is your opinion about the quality and beauty of those pitches. And how do you remember the most psychologically demanding ones?
The local Arild Meyer, who did the first ascent of Storpillaren many years ago [the first route on the face was established in 1980 – ed], said that our ascent was the first repetition of the Jaspers’ route. Most of the pitches are of the best quality, only the first part of the wall is a little bit loose and wet. There were also the most psychologically demanding places with unprotectable unprotected runouts. The hardest pitches are in solid rock. Three hardest free pitches go through slightly overhanged and endurance finger cracks without fixed gear.
What was the style in which you did the most difficult pitches?
On the hardest free pitch I rested twice . I was really pumped by placing the gear (friends, nuts). I think the on-sight is possible, if you are a friend with "friends" and are able to place them quickly.
And what about the tactics? The Jaspers used portaledge bivouacs. Did you do the same thing?
We used portaledge but I can imagine climbing Freya without it. But for the Jaspers´ bivouac portaledge is necessary. Good sleeping place is one or two pitches before their bivouac (8th or 9th pitch) and then only on the 20th pitch.
News about Jaspers’ ascent said that they hadn’t used any bolts for protection, that they were used just for belays. How many pieces of fixed protection, like pitons did you find on the route?
The news are right. We found only one piton on second pitch, one bolt on third and one nut on the hardest one. Also not all of the belays are bolted and not all of them are fixed. But rappel descent is possible.
What about aid crux of A3+? The Jaspers used beaks and RURP-s there…
There is one really long move from hook to the start of tiny crack, where I had to tie up three bad bird beaks together but then good beaks and blades follow on the next 60 metres through the crack in the mirror slab.
Three years ago you did interesting ascent on the Pik 4810 in Karavshin region (Kyrghyzstan). You made your own variation Fifteen to the Chimney to route Krizok (6b in Russian scale). It would be interesting if you compare seriousness of Freya to this route…
Generally, climbing in Kyrghyzstan is much more serious and more demanding. The broken leg there is a serious accident because it is at least one day from the nearest garrison and the only helicopter we saw there, was the one shot down in the next valley. Higher altitude, higher wall, glacier and much colder weather (each morning we had frost on our portaledge fly-sheet) play their part . But the climbing itself is of the same sort: poor protected, combining aid and free climbing. I name it “animal climbing”, you go up as you can as an animal. Only the line and general style (more free and more quickly) is of your interest. Not if it is 9- or 9+ but if you fall down or not is the main effort.