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

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.

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