Hans Christian Doseth and the fatal accident at the Great Trango Tower with Finn Daehli
Hans Christian Doseth

Numerous first ascents of routes on Trollveggen (Troll Wall), which is Romsdal’s north-facing huge wall, were among his accomplishments. These ascents took place throughout both the winter and summer seasons. Both the first winter ascent of the “Swedish Route” (1980) and the first all-free climb of the wall (1979) were accomplished by him. One of the routes was called the “Rimmon Route.” In the winter of 1982, he made his first climb of the technically challenging “Trollkjerringruta” (the Troll’s Wife), which was followed by the free ascent in the summer of 1983. All of these accomplishments are noteworthy. Even though it is a moderately rated climb by to today’s standards (Norwegian grade 7, French grade 6c+), it is a challenging and severe climb through granite that is partially loose and inadequately protected, and it has only been repeated two or three times up until very recently. In addition, Doseth was responsible for raising awareness of sport climbing in Northern Europe. In the early 1980s, he introduced routes in the 5.12 range, which corresponds to the French 7b/c grades, in Norway and Sweden.

The death of Doseth and his climbing companion Finn Daehli occurred during an expedition on Great Trango Tower (6286 m) in Karakoram, Pakistan, with Stein P. Aasheim and Dag Kolsrud. The expedition was on descent following the construction of the Norwegian Buttress, which was the first route to scale the gigantic east face of the peak. Unfortunately, the reasons for the accident remain unknown.

A total of two independent Norwegian expeditions were successful in climbing the Trango group, which is located in the Karakoram mountain region in Pakistan.

It was in 1984 when the Norwegians Hans Christian Doseth and Finn Dæhli made the first ascent of the east face of Great Trango, which led them to the East Summit. Unfortunately, both of them passed away on the descent.

In the month of June in the year 1999, four Norwegian climbers named Robert Caspersen, Gunnar Karlsen, Per Ludvig Skjerven, and Einar Wold embarked on a journey to scale the unclimbed northeast and north faces of the Trango group, which is located at Trango Pulpit, which is 6,050 meters in height. Up until A4 5.11, the team acknowledged experiencing issues. After 35 days of ascending without a break, the ascent may now be considered finished. After enduring 48 rappels and going without food for three days, the climbers nevertheless managed to make it back to base camp.

Doseth also made a name for himself as the foremost sport climber in the Nordics, and established many climbing routes in the upper part of the grading scale. In 1981, he established the first grade 8 rock climbing route, and the following year the first pure grade 8 in Norway. He also established many difficult routes in Bohuslän in Sweden at this time – routes known to be hard for the grade, and which represent a challenge even for the best climbers at today’s level.

A finger injury caused Doseth to take a break from sport climbing, to concentrate again on big wall climbing. He was the first Scandinavian to repeat the technical routes “The Shield” and “North American Wall” on El Capitan in Yosemite in California. In 1983 he established a new route on the mountain Thalay Sagar in the Indian Himalayas, via the north-east pillar (with Frode Guldal, Håvard Nesheim and two Polish climbers). At this time, Doseth was a central part of the plans for the first Norwegian ascent of Mount Everest (1985). But before this trip, he wanted to attempt the unclimbed “world’s highest vertical drop”: the enormous east face of the Great Trango Tower in Karakoram, Pakistan.

Doseth’s ascents

The guidebooks made it simple to locate Doseth’s ascents; however, it was more difficult to locate any material that went into further depth on this specific climber in the English language. During an expedition with Stein P. Aasheim and Dag Kolsrud, he was murdered together with his climbing partner Finn Dæhli on the Great Trango Tower (6286 m) in Karakoram. I was aware of his birth year, 1958, and that he was born in Romsdal, Norway. Additionally, I was aware that he was killed during the expedition. The Norwegian Buttress was the first path to ascend the huge east face of the mountain, and it was both of them working together to construct it.

Doseth had already accomplished multiple first ascents on the Trollveggen, which is Romsdal’s north-facing huge wall, and had established a new degree of difficulty in climbing in both Norway and Sweden before he was 23 years old. At the beginning of the 1980s, he traveled to the most northern part of Norway and established lines that would subsequently serve as a source of inspiration for me for many years to come.

Although it is sometimes challenging to picture someone based purely on the climbing routes that had obviously attracted that individual, there was one thing that I was certain of, and that was that he had a keen sense of aesthetics. I had been making gradual progress in understanding the dark art of crack climbing, and Doseth’s routes had been a significant contributor to that improvement. I cheered each time I was successful with his routes.


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