Day two in Rjukan and it was back up to Krokan to climb a few lines we had spotted the day before. Walking in to the river bed on a full stomach after Ed’s bacon, egg and cheese wedge sandwich for breakfast, the mood was relaxed and focused.
I started by leading Bullen a WI3 route which had caught my eye the day prior but looked a little too steep to get my head in the right mind set yesterday. According to Dean and Ed. it was much steeper than what they had experienced the year before and more like WI4....I’ll have that like J.
While I was leading Richy up this route Dean was leading his Dad up the route on the left edge of the ice wall of Bullen which we have affectionately called ‘The Scottish Gulley’. Before I had even hit the steep section Dean was at the top of his route...A promising start to the day.
Ed. then went on to lead the first of the steep free hanging icicles of the day...a few steep controlled moves with precision crampon work saw him at the top of the icicle and motoring on up to the steep section of ice above. Dean then led the same route in similar style showing that the ‘youngins’ are not all about brawn. Mean while Richy had spotted a lovely little line to the right of this route which finished in the same place. Confident climbing and good ice screw placements were the order of the day. (Grade top end WI4)
Back to my lead and yesterday an icicle which had detached itself from the main ice sheet, but had somehow had managed to stand securely in place without falling to the floor, was calling my name ‘Cliff come to me....lol’ . The problem with this route was it was a touch too high to solo and I knew from the start I would have to place a screw in an awkward position...my fears were brought home as I hung out with a heel hook around the top of the icicle....deep breaths and a little positive ‘self talk’ and the reassuring encouragement from Richy pushed me to the top. (Grade top end WI4).
Ed. then went on to lead an unnamed WI3 not made any easier due to the amount of snow lying on the top...Quite an enjoyable route which encouraged Richy to lead the same taking a slightly different line to the right of Ed’s route. This route did a lot to boost Richy’s confidence after showing his ‘cool’ side and sending a 6 metre vertical section with a considerable run-out.
Dean then decided to do the third and last free hanging icicle of the day...A controlled campus move to start got him into some hollow sounding ice but the young lad held it together and rather nonchalantly strolled to the top of this steep route.
Dean and Ed. finished their day off with a rapid ascent of the classic 2*WI4 route ‘Jomfrua’...fat ice and 89% secure hooks found them at the top...Great leads by both Dean and Ed.
My turn to make tea tonight... Pasta with fish and tomato sauce with huge slabs of bread and butter accompanied by more whiskey and copious amounts of chocolate for afters...it costs a lot of money to get a body like mine ;-)
A great day had by all and psyched for tomorrows adventures.