The Setesdal valley is located in southern Norway, southwest of Oslo, and is one of Norway’s most accessible climbing areas from the rest of Europe.
The climbing is centred on the town of Valle, where there are many large granite domes scattered on either side of the valley. These granite domes provide many excellent slab routes, both long and short. However not all the routes are slabby with a good mixture of wall and crack climbing also available.
There is a variety of long multi-pitch routes up to 18-pitches long, and shorter single pitch routes at the cliff bases. The climbing is spread across a wide range of grades with lots of routes between Norwegian 5 to 7 (English VS to E2/3 or French 4+ to 6c). There is also a mixture of traditional and sport routes with many of the belays bolted on good quality granite rock. Towards the southern part of Setesdal, close to Evje, is where the bouldering is found, with around 150 boulder problems.
The best time to visit Setesdal for rock climbing is from late May to late September. Setesdal has the added advantage of sitting in the rain shadow of the mountains in the west coast. This means that when high pressure system establishes itself over southern Norway, as it often does, the weather is very settled and warm.
The current guidebook is simple called “Setesdal – Climbing in southern Norway”. This guidebook describes around 500 routes with more than 1,500 pitches, with all the routes shown on colour photo topos. Published in 2013 the guidebook is written in Norwegian, German and English throughout. Buy this guidebook from our shop.
Getting to Setesdal is relatively easy. For northern mainland Europe access via Denmark is straight forward with a ferry to Kristiansand being the quickest route. Alternatively fly into either Oslo or Stavanger, which is then a 4-hour drive to Setesdal.With regards to accommodation there is a campsite at Valle. Here you can also hire a Hytte (Hut), which is more convenient if you are flying into Norway to avoid carrying heavy camping equipment.