Monday, 11 February 2013

Rjukan, Vemork Bridge & Upper Gorge

We planned for an early start but with a group of 8 people is always a bit tricky to coordinate. We ended up leaving by 8h30am and head straight to Vemork Bridge. The place is just magical, a true Ice Park, ice cragging on it's best. From the parking we walked 10 minutes dow the gorge and saw ourselves surrounded by all types of frozen waterfalls. Different colours, heights and steepness. Amazing.

Down to the Rjukan Ice Park

Down the gorge it was really cold, at some points while belaying I could hear all my metal gear tingling because I was shaking too hard. The whole river was frozen but we still had running water bellow, it all seemed very consolidated until I broke the ice cap and splashed my left foot straight into the river. Luckily I had just a quick wash but it could forced to go back to the house and get changed. A few hours later Jo hurt her toe from too much kicking, it was black and big. The rest of the guys also ended up finishing quit early because of the cold and we were lucky to have them on the top of the bridge to take a few cool pictures of me and Stewart.

View from bottom of the gorge

Paul following The Three Musketers, WI4

Me and Stewart at Vemorkbrufoss Ost, WI4 

Stewart starting the second pitch of  Vemorkbrufoss Ost, WI4 

Stewart in the second pitch of  Vemorkbrufoss Ost, WI4 

Almost at the crux

Today we climbed:

Tungtvann, WI4 (2 pitches) - led first and follow second pitch. First was probably a III. Stewart led the second which was a proper 4. The exit from the cave feels quite exposed and Stewart led consistently, placing a single screw. Amazing. Very nice warm up.

Vemorkbrufoss Ost, WI4 (2 pitches) - led first, follow second
It was now my time… as always on ice, it felt way harder then what it looked. Quite steep first pitch. A guys who climbed earlier said the first pitch was actually the crux. The second, from the moment you exit the cave it also steep but shorter. I was really proud of this lead and I think it has being the highlight of my trip so far. A proper big sustained WI4. Feeling way more confident on steep ice, my legs shake way less as well :-)

Nedre Svingfoss, WI3 - led onsight
Because of the cold and late start we had time to just do one more route and this seemed like a nice one. Instead of avoiding the hard bits I went specifically for the steep part and manage to make a WI3+ out of it. The ice was proper hard, my triceps are still having spams after such long cold day. We needed about 5 blows to actually get a good placement, incredible. Never have climbed such hard ice before. Nice experience. Feeling really confident!! 

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