'For Adventures of a lifetime'

Friday, 8 February 2013

Rjukan Day 5 - Perspex Ice and Ballsey Leads

The lead of the trip from Dean today... but this blog does contain a video of an ice climber expressing his feelings :-)

-11 on the car thermometer this morning (no clothes removal today ;-)) and considerably colder in the Vemork Bridge area...even the big belay jackets weren’t really warm enough.  Richy and I were happy to go with the flow today...secretly I think we are tired but can’t let it show to the Cheshire boys ;-).  Dean and Ed had their eyes on the huge Vemorkbrufoss Vest a WI5 which they had seen the year previously.  Unfortunately or fortunately depending how you see it, as we were walking past water started to run, actually gush, down the whole route making climbing it out of the question.

The low temperatures overnight and the relatively mild conditions experienced the previous few days had combined to make the ice rock hard and took on the consistency of thick Perspex.  This makes climbing these routes a little sketchy along with this in certain areas the locals (supported by the tourism board) have turned this part of the gorge into an ‘Ice Park’, expanding the amount of steep ice available to climb.  So Dean, unperturbed by these conditions decides to lead a lovely looking line up the centre of some of this new ice.  What a lead it turned out to be and only really appreciated by those who followed him up it.  Sketchy hooks (normally bomb proof) did not inspire confidence and that combined with the bobbley ice generally made ascent very scary indeed. The ramps which normally bring relief for the calf muscles turned out to be hollow and vibrated every time an axe or crampon was placed as if it was completely detached from the rock below it.  Scary even on the top rope but unthinkable for the leader...Dean is my current HERO!!!!  What a boy!

For anyone who has ever had the ‘Hot Aches’ (rapid warming of the hands after being very cold) I had the worst case ever at the top of the above mentioned route (no tears though Craig ;-)...just!) ...These can be so painful (as they were today) that you are unable to do anything and you rely on your ‘friends’ to help you...However, when you are in most need they tend to laugh behind your back and take sly videos of you suffering...of course being away with a group of ‘macho’ men I shouldn’t have expected anything less.  ‘What goes around comes around’!!!  J

We soon escaped from the climbing and headed into town to ‘lick our wounds’ in the fabulous local patisserie and do some reconnaissance for possible future Roxcool trips to the valley. Following this we headed up to the Osmosis area for a quick look and a little play (soloing) on the ice.  The routes here were steep but full of huge hooks which you could haul ye ass up on with no problems.

Ed is currently in the kitchen area concocting some dish for our tea with the remainders of our food, Richy is chilled next to me playing Solitaire on his phone and Dean having just come out of a cold shower (Richy spent a long time in there for some reason ;-)) is surfing the net to see if people are ‘liking’ our blogs J
Last day climbing tomorrow and the plan is currently to go into the Lower Gorge area again.

Cliff signing out.

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