'For Adventures of a lifetime'

Saturday, 9 February 2013

Rjukan Day 6- Back to the Lower Gorge...........Last Day of Climbing in Rjukan


Slow out of bed, huge amounts of coffee and bacon this morning, I think the week of Norway ice is taking its toll on all of us (Ed. the old boys are giving the youngins a run for their money though eh Richy? ;-)). Minus 13 degrees Celsius on the thermometer this morning didn’t help with the aches, pains and tiredness. The lower gorge was to be our last day climbing in Rjukan. After a short drive up the valley we were soon committed into our biggest and best abseil of the trip (50+ meters free hanging) into the gorge and directly to the foot of our chosen routes.

While Dean set off to climb Swiss Army (WI 4/5**) Cliff took the lead on the very long Pentium (WI3*) to warm both his body and head. A good route which was fat with good ice, albeit a little wet in places. After a speedy second by myself we were soon down and coiling ropes ready for my lead. As I walked around to where Dean and Ed were climbing the very impressive Swiss Army came into view, Dean had already lead the left hand variant so that left me with the right hand side (WI4**) begging to be climbed. As I racked up I could not help but feel a little nervous as I knew this would be my ‘lead’ of the trip. Four ice screws in and I was into the thick of the route with a couple of short steep sections before the impressive and very steep slab above, which normally does not form ice. Pulling myself up onto the slab left me with two ice screws, a daunting thought with the slab towering above me still to climb. Luckily the ice on this section of the route was good almost perfect with one swing placements of my axes and crampons. A number of moves later and with my last screw in place it was time for the run out to the top, an amazing feeling and a route I will never forget. A big thank you to Cliff for holding my ropes and of courses his many words of wisdom!!  (Ed. J)

This was to be my last lead of the trip as I was more than happy to leave on a high. With my adrenalin still running we trudged down the valley to another route ( Hjemreisen (WI4***)) THAT Dean had eyed up a coupe of days previously. It was here that Cliff had ‘the great’ idea of a speed climbing competition, top roping a short section (15 meters) of ice. This proved to be hard as both axe and crampon placements needed to be perfect first time every time. A good effort by all especially Dean who won the race at 33 secconds. Ulei Steck eat your heart out : ) . (Ed. I’ll get him next year J)

Dean now warm he moved onto his route an amazing looking line with a steep head wall.......good work mate : ) a good steady and inspiring lead.

After losing my feet through the “frozen” river I decided to call it a day to trudge up the side of the gorge back to the car to warm through, while Cliff and Dean climbed another couple of routes to finish off. Even after 6 hours in the warm and dry my big toes still have no feeling making walking in my stiff boots (Ed. Who’s boots?) hard and painful (That will teach me I suppose). All in all we have had an amazing weeks climbing with amazing conditions rarely experienced in Norway. Lets see what next year’s trip brings.

(Ed. Last night we invited our neighbours in the cabin opposite (Jen and Dan, remember them from the first blog? hahaha) in for a drink as we had spoken to them a few times during the week and thought they might enjoy a spot of chatter and a bit of a social.  They were kind enough to bring a huge bag of chocolate as they were returning to the UK this morning.  I would just like to say guys we have demolished the whole bag, and no Jen it wasn’t just me (Cliff)...honest ;-) lol.

Writern by Richy Reed. 

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