Lying in bed in the dark this morning I awaited the alarm going off....only to find that I hadn’t actually set one and we were late (7.30am)....According to Dean there is no such thing as being late on these trips...especially seeing as him and me still have 10 days to go.
As I messed about preparing breakfast (porridge, coffee, bacon and eggs with a slice of Jarlsberg cheese – breakfast of champions) I decided the boys would appreciate some gentle music to encourage them to face the cold, ice and snow outside. The Staves are a harmony style band of two girls who in my opinion are very cool and worth checking out. Dean pipes up and asks who the band is...only turns out he was sitting next to The Staves drummer on the flight over...how bizarre!
Cliff’s turn to drive today J...and we headed up the valley to the ice venue of Krokan approximately 6km outside of the town. Arriving at the base we realised the routes were well formed and in some cases actually better formed than last year when the ice was really fat. The whole crag was dripping with ice and even the temperature was good hanging around -2 all day.
I quickly led up Bullen one of the classic WI3 routes of the crag...while Ed led John up the right hand side of Bullen, a route we call ‘Scottish Gulley’. Following this very straightforward route Dean and I did an alternate lead on Jomfrua with Dean picking the steepest line possible on the imposing yellow ice on pitch 1. The upper section caused no problems. As we landed at the bottom of the route from the abseil Ed was just starting up the steeper looking left edge of Fyrstikka WI5 and did a great lead on a thin looking top section. John found out about the mental side of climbing today but give the route a good go...we just need to convince him to focus on what lies in front of him and not worry (too much ) about what lies ahead...not bad though for his second day on ice.
Dean and I then headed off to do Kjokkentrappa WI4 which I had wanted to do last year but missed out. The route leads up a couple of steep sections with a short almost over hanging top section...This route is very aesthetically pleasing to the eye being made up of pure blue/white water ice. Ed and John then had a go at a go at an Unknown WI4 at the far left of the venue which proved difficult at the top due to the amount of snow.
Our last climb (ok so only Dean did this as I didn’t like the look of it) was a dry tooling route not listed in the guide but easily a M6 with the weirdest sequence of moves at the beginning being 5 ‘stein’ moves in a row.
Following Deans antics on the dry tooling route we quickly packed up and headed back down the hill to our cosy accommodation here at Hytteby. John cooked an awesome curry tonight polished off by everyone!
Another grand day out in Rjukan
Conditions: As described above the routes at Krokan are all mostly well formed with the odd route still having water running in places. The roads are easily drivable and we had no difficulty at all up or down the valley....that might have been my expert driving skills though J