Romsdal on the west coast of Norway is probably the most famous alpine rock climbing area in Scandinavia. Although the mountains aren't nearly as high as the mountains in Jotunheimen, they are steep and are located very close to sea. Natural border of the area in the north are Langfjorden and Romsdalsfjorden, in the west Sunnmøre Alps, in the south Dovre-Tafjord and in the east lake Eikesdalen.
Drive from Oslo is 355km along E6 to Dombås (5h) followed by another 103 km along road 69 to Åndalsnes (1,5h). It takes about 10h from Bergen and 4h from Trondheim. Nearest bigger city is Molde (60km). The area is fairly compact with small city of Åndalsnes as a natural center for climbs in Romsdal.
As there are virtually no walking ascents in the main mountain groups, there are also very few huts. Accommodation is mainly in the cities or camping in the valleys. Some routes are so long that bivouac is necessary for most parties.
Romsdal is home to some of the longest and most serious rock climbs in Europe. Around 1100 meters high Troll Wall of Trollryggen (1742m) is one of the true big walls of the world and has several very difficult multi-day climbs. There are several other large-scale rock routes on Trolltindane. Other popular peaks include Store Vengetind (1852m), Romsdalshorn (1550m) and Mongenjura (1316m).
V/WI6 IV/WI6 III V
Howard's guidebook uses old-style overall grades in addition to technical pitch grades. As far as I know, the system is based on old UIAA alpine scale (aka Welzenbach scale), the updated version of which is nowadays known as Ifas or (French) alpine grade. The scale is supposed to be roughly comparable to Ifas so that I~F, II~PD, III~AD, IV~D, V~TD and VI~ED. Same system is used on Lennon's book "Scandinavian Mountains" for some other areas as well. It grades both Skagastølstraverse (Hurrungane, IV, 4-), Fivaroute on the East face of Store Trolltind (Romsdal, IV-, 4- (yds 5.3)), traverse of Lakselvtindane (Lyngen, IV) and SE Ridge of Stetind (Tysfjord, IV, 4/4+ (yds 5.6). According to the translation table above these should be D'ish (on the soft side) on ifas scale which sounds like a right ballpark.
For ice climbs Norwedian variant of Scottish grade is most commonly used grading system. Romsdal grades are thought to be a tad stiffer than Rjukan grades even if the grading system is the same.
Best time for summer climbing is between May and August when there's no actual darkness. Like is often the case in Norway, the area does not have very predictable weather. Also, there have been huge rock falls on Troll wall. For ice climbing March has usually the best conditions.
Isterdalen is located to the west of Romsdalen.
Areas the the west of Isterdalen consist of Kongen and Finnan groups. Kongen group has famous peaks Bispen, Kongen and Dronninga. Seldom visited Finnan is a group of high alpine peaks. Eastern corries facing Åmdalsnes - Valldal road have glaciers and permanent snow fields. Access to the eastern side is from Stigfoss cafe. Finnan (1800m) is the most prominent peak of the group with SE Ridge (Nor II-) and NE glacier (Nor II) being the most climbed routes.
Isterdalen offers access to the the western side of Trolltindane. It is much gentler than very steep wall of the east face. Majority of easier ascents on Trolltindane are from Isterdalen. Most prominent features towards the west are West Face of Stighorn and West and South Pillars of Store Trolltind. Normal route of Store Trolltind is hiking at the beginning with some scrambling in the upper part (Nor II-, 2+; 4-5h. There are more difficult variations).
During the winter there are several ice routes. Renna mellom Kongen og Dronninga (1400m, WI4 M4+), Karitind renna (1300m, WI4), TrollKlørne "Freigelinja" (1400m, WI5), østflanken på Bispen (1000m) and Vestside på Nonshaugen (1000m, WI4) are among the long mountaineering routes. Tverrelva below Stigbotnvatnet (7 pitches of WI4 (70-80°), Trollstigfossen (70°, 6 pitches) and "Black December" 100m left of Tverrelva (V/WI6, 7 pitches (400m)) and are probably the best known waterfalls.
Between Isterdalen (in the west) and Romsdalen (in the east rises Trolltindane, the most famous group of Romsdal. Trolltindane is 8km long and 1,5km high rock wall forming the western border of Romsdal. There are three very prominent Pillars supporting southernmost three main summits of the ridge: Breitind (1759m) in the south, Søndre Trolltind (Semletind, 1618m) and Trollryggen (1742m). The other two main peaks of the ridge are Store Trolltind (1788m) and Nordre Trolltind, both located to the north of Trollryggen. Norafjell is the northernmost peak. Between Trollryggen and Store Trolltinden lies the north facing Troll Wall (Trollveggen, the biggest and the most famous rock face in Norway, and a true big wall that can hold its own against any big wall in the world. Unfortunately there was a major rock fall in Trollveggen in 1998. Besides Trollveggen, classic ascents include East Pillar of Breitind (Nor V, 6; 2000+m; 10-12h), East Pillar of Søndre Trolltind (original route) (Nor III+, 5; 2000+m, 5-8h) East Pillar of Trollryggen (Nor VI-, 6; 2000+m,; usually at least one bivouac) and Fivaruta on East face of Store Trolltind (Nor IV-, 4; 1800m; 5-9h).
Traverse Stighorn-Breitind-Trolltind is between II+ and IV depending the line chosen. 14h along the easiest variation.
In the winter there are numerous long routes from Romsdalen. For example "Gutten som ville vaera en av gutten" climbs the col between Breitind and Semletind (WI5 (80-85°), 1500m). Nordøstveggen of Breitind climbs obvious waterfall (5 pitches of 75°) to the left of the bowl between Breitind and Semletind and joins the East Pillar of Breitind for the upper part (1700m). Fivafossen climbs the waterfall leading to the snow field in the middle of Fivaroute (6 pitches of WI5), then continues along Fivaroute (Nor 4) to the summit.
Higher up the valley are located Rangåfossen (1000m, WI4+) and "Vasaloppet" on the north face of Rangågjelet (WI5 (one pitch), 1000m). By far the best known ice climb of the upper valley is Døntefossen, giving 11 pitches (700m) of climbing up to V/WI6. Free standing pillar on the fifth pitch collapses regularly.
25 km long ridge of Romsdalshorn group forms the eastern border of Romsdalen. In the northern part of the group, very close to Åndalsnes, lies Nesaksla (842m), Mjelva (1215m), Blånebba (1318m), Holstind (1080m), Romsdalshorn (1550m) and Hornaksla (1515m). The latter is located directly opposite of Store Trolltind and Troll wall. Further south lies Olaskartind (1428m), Kalskratind (1797m, the highest peak of the range) and Mongenjura (1276m). West side towards Romsdalen is typically both longer and more difficult than east side towards Vengedalen.
By far the best known climbing objective of the group is Romsdalshorn (1550m), one of the most famous peaks is whole Norway. Routes on East, North and West faces are all accessed from Vengedal while most other peaks are most commonly climbed from Romsdalen.
Hornaksla is south facing wall next to the road from Åndalsnes to Dombås (12km from Åndalsnes along E136). It has excellent quality rock and is very popular with more than 60 routes up to 10 pitches long. SW Slabs is a classic (Nor IV, 5, 1800m).
Mongenjura (1316m) is located 20 km up Romsdalen close to the village of Marstein. It has almost 1000m high SW Face. Its south pillar (Sydpilaren) is probably the most popular long trad route in Norway (24 pitches, Nor VI, 6).
Uncharted glacier (Nor III) on Kalskratind s a year-round glacier climb. In the winter there are numerous long routes from Romsdalen. For example Venstre (1100m, 3 pitches of WI2+) and Høyre (4-5 pitches of WI4, 1100m) Framhaldsrenne that finnish between Mjelvafejellet and Blånebba and Haas renne climbs the gully to the right of Holstind (700m, 70-80°).
Hen at the end of Isfjorden is a small town 6 km east of Åndalsnes. On the south side are located Vengedal (S) and Erstaddal and Kvandal in SE. To the north of Hen are located Isfjord ranges, popular area among hikers and skiers. Klauva (1512m) is the obvious choice for limbers with its south face having several routes (6 pitches, Nor 6). Juratind (1712m) located 11 km east of Hen above lake Eikesdal is another popular peak. Approach is from hen through Grøvdal valley.
Vengadalen is the most popular starting point for climbs on Romsdalshorn (east side) and Vengetind group, located to the east of the valley. Access is by car from Åndalsnes (10-15km, toll road from Liabygda). Many climbers choose to camp by Vengedalsvatnet (528m, many climbers camp here). There's small road to the Hornvatnet (ca. 770m) higher up the valley. There's a small rock shelter on the north side of Hornvatnet and another one higher up on the north shore of Olaskarvatnet (1128m).
Routes on East, North and West faces of Romsdalshorn are all accessed from Vengedal while most other peaks of Romsdalshorn group are most commonly climbed from Romsdalen.
Vengetind group is located to the east of Romsdalshorn group between Vengedal and Erstaddal. It is a ridge of alpine peaks providing several worthwhile alpine routes. The highest peak of the area, Store Vengetind (1852m) is considered by many to be the most beautiful peak is Romsdal. Kvandalstind (1775m) is another important peak in the group. Prominent pinnacle of Torshammeren (25m, Nor 3) gives moderate but exposed climbing. Climbs are mostly approached from Vengedal but some climbs are better accessed from Kvandal to the east of the group. This approach is seldom used but is the most convenient approach for Kvandalstind. 16 km by car from Åndalsnes to Dale in Erstaddal. From there 8 km walk along the river Kvandal to the Mjølnir glacier below NE face of Kvandalstind.
North Ridge of Kvandalstind (1775m) is a summer snow climb (Nor II+). During the winter Isfjorden gives access ro Hals renne direkte of Romsdalshorn. It is one of the finest winter mountaineering outing giving four pitches of WI3 (60-70°) followed by show to the col between Litlehornet and Romsdalshorn. From there mixed climbing (M3) to the summit. Lang Lørdag below Olaskarvatnet (1000m, mostly 70-75°), Moafossen (600m, WI4) and Moarenna (600m, WI4) are other long ice routes of the valley.
Traverse of Vengedal-Kvandalstind-Romsdalshorn horseshoe is a three day traverse of all the major peaks around the valley. It is possible in either direction and in several variations between grades Nor II+ and V. Classic variant was made in anti-clockwise direction including many of the major climbs (Nor V). Kvandalstind-Vengetind Ridge is shorter alternative for those looking for ridge traverses at Nor III+ (14-16h).
Eresfjord is small village located 25km NE of Åndalsnes at the northern end on lake Eikesdal. Distance along the road however is 80 km (at first road 64 towards Molde for about 30km, then through Åfarnes and road 660 to Eresfjord. Main climbing attraction in the summer is the West Face (Nor VI-, 6,A2, 1350m/600m) of Goksøyra (1315m) located above the northern end of lake Eikesdal. At the south end the lake lies small village of Eikesdal. Above it rises hugely impressive Mardalsfoss, dropping 655m in two steps, the upper of which is free standing for 292m.
During the winter there are several impressive ice falls. Especially Mardalsfossen (free hanging for about 300m, altogether 900m, WI6) is hugely impressive. Stormtrakta (6 pitches, WI5) is another classic. Brown-Patey renna to the right of Husmannen is 650m winter mountaineering route.