Tuesday, 12 February 2013

back home

So im back home now in bollington and as anybody whos been away on climbing trips knows, it takes a few days to get back to normal. especially getting out of the climbing routine of wake up, breakfast, sort gear, go climbing, finish climbing buy food, eat food, drink whiskey, talk about climbing (youre climbs better than there climb), sleep and then repeat.

Even thought theres still snow on the hills here its just not the same, im happy to be back but would loved to of stayed for another week at least. The first week you spend getting used to the area and getting fit for climbing, by the end of the week youre feeling strong both mentally and physically.

Now im back im concentrating on the next adventure which will be chamonix in summer, so ill be upping the training and finding new ways to beast myself (im buying a snorkel and tractor tyres).
In the meantime im going to try and get up Scotland before the session is over and do alot more drytooling in between trad climbing and bouldering (not enough hours in the day)

For anyone thinking of going to rjukan ice climbing stop thinking about it and do it, its one of the best places in Europe to go ice climbing because of the accessibility and amount of venues and routes.

The accommodation we used was the Rjukan Hytteby http://rjukan-hytteby.no/en/index/ which is second to none, located right in the centre of town and in the middle of everything.

We used hertz for the car rental as they worked out cheapest and we always seem to get upgraded as we fly to torp airport as it the easiest airport to get to rjukan from.

we had an awesome week and cant wait for next year which we are already talking about, and many other adventures to.

Thanks to Ed, cliff and richy for amazing company and fun times all the way.
see you next time......

Saturday, 9 February 2013

Lower gorge- take 2.

Today we headed back down to the lower gorge as with most areas here in rjukan there are just so many amazing lines you just can't do them all in one day,

Once we had located an adequate tree to abseil from to get to the base of the gorge, as this is the only way down. One by one we ab'd off, it turned out once at the edge of where we could see to at the top it was a 40m overhanging cliff.

Once down cliff and richly headed over to a route which was not in the book but was a WI3 ramp route of about 35 metres. Me and Ed went over to Swiss army a WI5 steep tower onto a an undulating ramp. In hie sight I should of warmed up both physically and mentally (school boy error). I set off up the route and got to about 3/4 of the way up the steep tower and my head went and I all I could think was to down climb and get off. At the bottom I looked back up at the route and couldn't believe how close I had got to the top and then down climbed using energy I could of used to finish the hard section off.
At the bottom I was so angry I down climbed, so I shook out and got straight back on it and climbed it happily adding one more screw before topping the hard head wall.

Video on YouTube http://youtu.be/q50kQSVJoN8

Next up was richly and he decided to do the right line of Swiss army a WI4 line up beautiful ice, this would be his final and greatest lead of the trip and one he enjoyed immensely. Once completed he retired on a high and what a route to finish on.

Next we decided to have a bit of light competition with a speed climb, I was up first and had to set a president. Of course I did with a good time of 45 seconds, next Ed with 1 min 10sec then richly who unfortunately had a fall at the top and got 1m:25sec, then came Sunderland's finest (cliff) who came in at 1m 15sec. Needless to say I was one happy camper but thought I could improve so we all went again, I still won and then my third and final attempt I managed to get 33sec which I was happy to walk away at.

NOW I felt warmed up properly and wanted to do a nice looking line I had seen the previous day called hjemreisen WI4 in the book, but today it was far steeper and fatter than shown in the guidebook. From the bottom I didn't think I would enjoy this as much as I did once completing it. It was a really good climb, steep ice all the way and great steady climbing. Highly recommended if you ever go there.

Time was getting on and me and cliff decided to do one more route with the little light we had left, so we decided on knerten. A 2 pitch WI 4 route up good ice and into an amphitheatre and the first pitch which cliff led, it then went up another steep section of ice for the final pitch. However this upper section was gushing with water, which me n cliff couldn't understand as it was -13 and in no time my gloves and arms were frozen stiff with all the water splashing and running down my axes.
A quick ab off and we were speedily packing up and off up the steep gorge side with only the thought of a Huge burger and chips from the hytteby Resturaunt, which was a hot topic of the day.(it didn't disappoint)

All in all a great days climbing to finish on and a week we have all thoroughly enjoyed and are already talking about the route we want to do NEXT TIME we are here.
Tomorrow we head home unfortunately and my only regret is that we didn't come for two weeks as I am now feeling really fit and strong and have so many amazing routes i want to do but will now have to wait for..

Rjukan....... Till next time!!!!!

Friday, 8 February 2013

Vermork bridge- cold conditions and hot aches.

Today we decided to head to the vermork bridge area as me and Ed were wanting to bag the classic line of vermorkbrufoss vest WI5 3 star, we also wanted to check out the new ice park that the climb inn had established on the opposite side of the gorge using water pipes to form new ice lines where previously there were none.

unfortunately for us (if you see it that way) as we were checking out the surrounding climbs in preparation for the main tick, water started pawing down the main route we wanted to do, so we had to look to a new route (gutted).

We decided to do a route on the rjukan climb inn ice park side of the gorge, from the bottom it looked like a simple line up a steep wall to a ramp and then finding your way through undulating ice formations to the top.

On completing the first wall section of the route which was really bobbly and the ice in cliffs words " was like per-specs plastic" Which I agreed with, felt really dodgy.
The next ramp felt like I was climbing on a bath tub, every axe placement and crampon echoed with a eerie thud which didn't fill me with confidence.

The next section of the wall was not like anything I had climbed out here in rjukan, It felt really artificial and the formations of the ice looked all most like coral. Weird hollow tongues of ice and the sketchiest hooks I've ever used got me finally to the top of the route, once at the top and clipped in to an anchor my left foot got hot aches (if you've had it you'll understand) I then brought cliff up the route and once he got closer his face sed it all. It was a really spooky lead, as you did every move you weren't sure if it would hold.

Cliff didn't like it on second but I really enjoyed it as the higher I got the scarier it got( good times ).
At the top of the route cliff got hot aches that bad that afterwards he sed he was nearly sick. Me and richly were wetting our selves while cliff sang to impressed.

Next was Ed and once he had reached the top of the route he hastily ran off up the hill to the car to nurse his hot aches in the private.

Needless to say everyone didn't need much convincing to get the hell out of there and go for a coffee and cake at the local cafe/bakery.once warmed up again we got provisions (wine and pasta sauce) and went back to the digs, on arriving back we met to climber at the huts which we had met at krokan a few days earlier. After a brief exchanges of stories we invited them round for a drink after we had got our selves together and the rest is history.

Tomorrow we are back in the lower gorge and hopefully no one will be on Swiss army and there are a few other routes I've got my eye on.

Happy camping!!!!!!!!!

Video http://youtu.be/3SY2F9XHRbA

Thursday, 7 February 2013

Lower gorge and even lower morals.

After our supposed rest day yesterday (see previous post) we all woke up not feeling our best.
Today we chose to go up to the lower gorge as we were told by a couple across from us at the hytteby huts that all the routes were excessively iced up and there were even route formed that weren't in the guide book.

On arrival to the car park there was another group of six Spanish climbers gearing up, once we had found an adequate tree to abseil off to reach the base of the gorge we geared up and one by one ab'd down into deep snow (gaiters would have been useful).

On first inspection Richie and cliff went to do the pleasantly named skrotfossen WI 3 ramp route which Richie led and me and ed went over and started on camillas foss WI 4 3 star steepish route which I led.€€
Camillas foss had a good step angle and was alot steeper and wider than shown in the guide book, it had seen a bit of traffic so there were plenty of steps and hooks cut by previous climbers which made the climbing a touch easier.
When stood at the base about to start I looked at the route and not feeling 100% I was going to take a easy line but once climbing I felt really good and strong so I went up the steepest section which was highly enjoyable and a great route to shack the cobwebs out on.
Walking back down the gorge we found cliff and Richie who'd just finished there route which they sed wasn't in the best condition, cliff sed the ice was wet and chewie and the axes placed first time but the ice wasn't trust worthy. I

Mine and Eds next route was one that was not in the roxfax guide book and accessed by a short solo up a ramp to an amphitheatre with a steep but short lived ice buttress into a gully stance then finished by a short wall WI 4. Ed led this one and whilst he was climbing i got hit by a ping pong sized piece of ice right on the bridge of the nose(it made my eyes water) I followed up the route which from the bottom didn't look as steep as it felt as once I was on it, luckily it was short lived and I was in the safety of the stance in no time.

Cliff and Richie had head over to our previous route, camillas foss which cliff led and had equally enjoyed.

The next route we had our eyes on was one called Swiss army, a WI 5 which was in extremely good condition and had a lot more ice than was shown in the guide book. Unfortunately the afore mentioned Spanish team had set up shop for the day and my ambitions for this route had been smashed. One of the Spanish team members came over to use and told use of some "mucho hielo" (lots of ice) thankfully cliff used his Spanish vocab and we headed off down the gorge to our next route.

After what seemed like a long trudge through a deep snow filled river basin filled with boulders we arrived at the base of lillebror, which in the book says its a WI 3(not a chance) with the additional ice making everything a lot steeper this was no exception. The route in the book showed one route but we could see at least three independent lines all of exceptional quality.

Me and cliff decided to led the route at the same time side by side, unfortunately much to my disappointment cliff wasn't in a chatty mood while we were climbing and all my attempts to spark a conversation had no effect, as I think cliff was concentrating to much to chat (stuck in a sea of ice).
This was an amazing route and in the guide book only gets 1 star, I can tell you now it's worth 3 stars.
A great route of steep undulating bulges and three steep near vertical sections of 45 metres in height, well worth doing.

On completing our route and getting to the bottom cliff had an idea that he should strip off and get some nude pics of him self in his harness on the climb and myself and Richie got the unfortunate job of taking pictures which can be seen on www.clifflowtherroxcoolblog@blogspot.com

After the photo shoot we set of up the banking back to the car and to the supermarket to get the ingredients for a curry which Richie was making.

Another great day of climbing and psychologically building ourselves up for the big ticks we want to bag before we leave.

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Multi-pitch route called klappfoss.

First order of the day was to drop off cliff and Richie at the route they were doing, which was called Fabrikfossen, so while ed was doing taxi duty I jumped in the shower and then put cliffs camp boot slippers on the heated bathroom floor ready for his return. (ed. I was very happy with this :))

Today the plan was to have as a rest day and climb something multi-pitch but easy going so Mine and ed's route was called klappfoss a WI 4, 2 star route which in reality was far more iced over than pictured in the book, as have most of the routes on this years trip. After a short walk of 20 minutes up through the woods behind the kino (cinema) up a wooded path we arrived at the base of the routes.

Stood under our rout of choice klappfoss we couldn't help but notice all of the usually visible rock was covered with ice and bulging immensely, even the overhanging roof route of "solfesten" and "for alle men" had solid ice stacks formed on them. Looking up at the route in its current condition this was no rest day, but one which most climbers would be happy with on a day where the 'going was good' (what a pair of numptys we are).

Once we had found a stash spot for the sack we were leaving at the base and put the belay jackets and dried bag of fruit and nuts in the sack we were going to carry we were ready to rock and roll.

Established at the base of the route I placed a screw whilst still on the ground to stop me falling down the hill side if an unfortunate tumble would happen in the first few moves, on starting climbing my first thoughts were that why were we climbing this route and why is it so steep as this was supposed to be our rest day, none the less I cracked on to about 3 metres off the ground to place my first screw which for the life of me I could not get started. Every time the thread bit I knocked or twisted it so that the whole process would be started again, once I got it going within about three turns it went into an air pocket (yay) and was no use what so ever. baring in mind i'm hanging from one arm, my left arm was getting pumped from messing about with it for so long so I clipped it and carried on up the rest of the section and over the bulge to then place a legitimate runner( ice screw ). The next section before the first belay was not as steep thankfully and I traversed round to the right and over a large bulge the find a nice ledge of knee deep soft snow to hack my way though to achieve the first belay stance.

Once at the stance Edward set off on his lead of the second pitch, which started off up a steep depression in the ice and followed an obvious line round to the right,then direct up a brittle and strangely steep ramp to the right of a tall and sketchy looking headwall of ice. Once established at the second belay stance ed brought me up after which seemed forever to me as I was stood in shin deep snow and ice cubes and the normal feeling in my feet had been replaced with pain and numbness, I was very happy to start moving again.

On the third and final pitch all there was to do was a long undulating snowy ramp and then out right to the safety of the trees. At the top of the ramped section I found either thin ice on slabby rock for my feet and soft unsecured snow for my axes which,made a delicate twitchy sprint for freedom.

Now for the abseil down ( yay u say ). After abbing down a few levels I found I was about 10 feet from the next ledge and tree so I had to untie and climb down. Ed then came down half way to set up a new abseil so the ropes would reach the ledge. Once down with me we couldn't pull the ropes down as they had conveniently wedged themselves behind a tree, so that meant numb nuts here had to climb back up and re-set up the ropes and abseil through a pine tree so that the rope was in a straight line and could be retrieved, after the initial malfunction three abs later a lot of tangles and stupid little bushes getting in the way we reached the base of the route.

The great thing about climbing is that it doesn't matter how cold you're feet get, how much the rope gets tangled or how many bushes have it in for you, those bits don't seem as bad once the route is finished (Ed. especially after downing a couple of whiskies eh Dean lol) and you're down you just remember how awesome the route as a whole was.

Great adventure today :)))))

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Day 2- Back to krokan.

After yesterday's session at krokan and with so many great routes to climb which we didn't get to do, we decided to head back to krokan again.
After a hearty breakfast of bacon egg and cheese butties, we all headed off with a lot of excitement a healthy amount of psyche for all the routes we had seen the day previous.
On entering the venue cliff and richly got stuck into bullen, a WI 3 fat waterfall, I headed of up the right hand side of this fall on a route we dubbed scotch corner as it reminded us all of a route you may find I Scotland, it started as a nice ice ramp and in a gully like formation from half height which took you out into the trees to finish.
We then headed down to the far left end and got stuck into the large, steep independent icicles hanging from the rocky cave.
Edward led the first of the icicles which started on a free hanging formation, led onto a ramp and then onto a steep top section, this route wasn't in the guide as the shear amount of ice this year had made additional formations.
Cliff led the second of the icicles which the lower 3/4 had broken off but wedged its self against the rock face behind , which made a great technically challenging transition from the lower part to the fix upper section. Cliff stuck in a few heel hooks and breezed his was to the top of the section.
I then went on to led a wide but excessively thin and delicate route were a campus move and light foot placements made the start of the route accessible and from there tentative axe hooks and controlled footwork got me to the top of the icicle, once there it was a case of shovelling of deep snow and hacking up a very rotten and brittle ramp to a stance in a corner where I finished the final section up large runneled awkward ice over a bulge and through deep snow t the safety of the belay.
Once ed had seconded up we went to the next fat route to the left of us and ed led the next route, after that went wanted to finish of on the classic line of jomfrua which ed led onto the belay stance and then I follow to which cliff turned up and wanted a slice of the action, so I climbed up and led through the second pitch and to the top to set up a belay to bring the two of them up.
Ed was halfway up and cliff at the base so I decided to bring them both up at the same time, to which it was a similar experience to crab fishing, I was fighting with two people climbing at two different speeds and I couldn't see one of the until he came over the bulge, so I had to watch ed climb and feel the other line for the tension dropping so it knew when cliff was moving and to pull the rope in. I won't be doing this again, to much hassle.
Once down we all headed back to the hytteby for mackerel, pasta crisps and whiskey. Another awesome day had and tomorrow will hopefully be another great day out.

Check the video on YouTube http://youtu.be/76e5gr8qn-4