The day started as usual, albeit a little earlier, with the standard bacon, egg and cheese sarnie, coffee combo prepared by cliff himself. Today we split up into two teams Ed. and Dean climbing Klappfoss (WI4**) on one side of the valley and myself and Cliff climbing the six pitch classic line of Fabrikkfossen (WI3 ***) on the other.
After a short walk in (30minutes) up the hillside through the trees we were soon racking up and keen to get on with the day. However, a keen Spanish team had beaten us to the start so we decided to take a steeper optional line directly in front of the kit up area. I lead the first pitch which turned out to be a gem. A steep wall followed by a ramp leading up to the first stance 55 metres away
Cliff was soon at the belay (which of course was in the wrong place....Cliff!!) and ploughing through the second pitch. After another pitch on wet ice and dodging ice blocks being kicked off from above by our new amigos the Spaniards. We were soon half way through the route and in need of a brew so taking our time and allowing the Spaniards to get ahead to prevent the barrage of ice from above, we pulled out our flask of ...Hot juice folks!!! . By this time the weather had closed in and the snow was heavy, giving the day a very Scottish winter feel.
After I had a good dose of the "Screaming Aabb Jabbs" (Hot aches!!) it was Cliffs lead again this time up a 12 meter head wall following some amazing ice formations and once again finishing up a bulge of ice to a ramp, this time with a good tree belay. After some battling with knee deep snow I was again on the lead on some very soft and chewy ice heading up a steep step to the last stance, looking above I couldn’t help staring in ore as the last 50 meter pitch presented itself which I myself would have loved to lead. Yet again Cliff pulled one out the bag and in fine style topped out after climbing through ice which took on the consistency of a melting ice lolly.
After a brief look over the top myself I was lowered to the last belay to prepare the ropes ready for the five abseils for the retreat to the bottom. Joining us for the descent was the Spanish amigo team, Cliff as usual exercising his Spanish lingo and convincing them it was a good idea to work together. By now a good two inches of snow had fallen in the valley and arriving at the kit up area the snow had completely covered my pack (we only took one pack with essentials in on the route) only visible due to the hip pad being clipped around a tree!! Ropes coiled we now trudged back down the hill for perfect timing and fulfilling Cliff’s wishes to meet Ed. and Dean in the lower car park.
All in all a great day, even Cliffs knee seems to have sorted itself out........is a ground up ascent of Lipton on the cards Cliff?? : ) (Ed. Erh NO Richy! Lol)
Written by: Richy Reed
Dean Dalton's little bit...
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 meters 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 head -wall 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 :)))))