Well a gentle intro was the order of the day for us boys out here in Rjukan on our first day out in Norway. We had decided to head to Ozzmosis which like most Rjukan ice climbing venues is within 10 minutes of the town centre. This was a venue which we’d looked at last year after climbing elsewhere but didn’t have time to do any routes.
Temperatures today in Rjukan were forecast to hover around zero and up at Ozzmosis to be a little lower. Arriving at the car park our virgin ice climber (or anything wintery for that matter) John was asked the question, “so what do you think”? “Oh F*%#!” Was his answer!!! Talking later to John had said that the car journey up the road had scared him to the point of feeling sick but had kept quiet.
Arriving at the base of the routes we knew there was only one other party (one car in the car park) at the venue...Dean had already walked down in front, had ropes uncoiled and racked up ready to go, I think he was a little excited! As I arrived I acknowledged the other party which bizarrely enough turned out to be our friends, Jen and Dan, from the year before. After laughing about the coincidence of our meeting again, we all cracked on with the climbing.
We started easy at the far right hand side climbing couple of WI3 (Water Ice) routes to get in the groove again. From here Dean and I went to the middle section and again did the WI3 route up the steepish wall. This route pushed out at the top and give some good exposure. On from here we went to the far left (and up a bit) of the venue which give a steep and thin route well worth its WI3 (possibly WI4). Dean and myself were feeling good so we headed over to the route of the crag, ‘Ozzmosis’. This WI4 route is well photographed and was worthy of three stars, although today it turned out to be a little stepped out (this occurs when a few people have done the routes and created small ledges which actually make the route feel easier). After doing five routes we headed back to the centre of the venue where Dean sprinted up an ice arête at WI3/4 a very enjoyable route indeed.
By this time the crag had become a little busier with parties arriving from Carlisle (x8) and two Australian guys...making a total of 16, all having a great time. Meanwhile John and Ed (Deans Dad) were making similar progress to Dean and myself. John was surprising himself by actually enjoying the climbing and boosting his confidence for what might lie ahead tomorrow.
Tonight has been about chilling and eating...Dean did well making his Polish Garlic Chicken with cabbage (my choice) and potatoes...and the rest of us drank whiskey and added photos to Facebook. Later a couple of CD’s helped pass the night (Don Whillans and Stone Monkey for those that are interested).
PS – The party from Carlise had reported trying to get into The Lower Gorge area earlier in the day but had decided to abort due to the amount of snow and the river being unfrozen and headed to Ozzmosis. Very easy and well trodden path into Ozzmosis.