Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Next stop Norway.

The Corrie of Mael-Rjukan-Norway.
A weekend of fun and ice was planned and on Friday I joined the hundreds out in Norway. With only two full days of climbing, I knew we were going to have to be canny to get in as much as possible.
On Saturday we headed to the area known as Mael, which is infact a small corrie towards the North of the Valley overlooking the town. With a 45minute walk uphill and an abseil approach we guessed it would keep the masses at bay and we were right. The Corrie itself was pretty majestic, with 4 very obvious icefalls across it’s back wall. These would come in somewhere between 200 and 250 mts so it is a full day out.
We climbed the route of Isoroser which is the left most line on the photo. A WI3 so the guide said. The first pitch was nice, with a steep wall for about 25mts before laying back into a bay. My first all Ice Screw belay, this winter! Anyway after leading the second pitch, Andy my partner for the day had a blow from some ice and wanted off, luckily the other team were able to split and as Andy went off (2 hours in a hanging belay waiting for this to be sorted) John joined me. I then went on to lead the rest of the route which was magical, thick steep ice that took screws, albeit some of it was rotten in places. The route was full on Scottish IV with a sting in the tail, I took a right hand finish up a vertical pillar for 15mts before topping out onto a small shelf. WI 3 certainly has plenty to keep you busy!
Whilst up there I saw a very dodgy team on the route to my right, I say dodgy because it was obvious they were not strong, moving on wobbling sticks and looking a little gungho about it all. This resulted in the leader taking the biggest fall I have seen, it must have been over 80ft with 50ft of it free fall. To my relief he just got up and abseiled off! I thought he was dead.
Day two dawned and we went to the craging area of Krokan. The day started ok with a quick, very, very easy WI2 route upto set up a top rope on something “nails“. I dropped off and let Andy sort the top rope, this was a mistake as it took over one and half hours and by the time he was done I was ready for home with lots of pent up frustration. We climbed around this area till about 1pm with a few WI4 and WI5 being done! By then my faff patience had run out and I needed to escape. The very busy nature of the area and my mood made for a pretty forgettable day to be honest.
My lesson for the weekend is to ensure on a trip like this you are out with like minded individuals as it is easy for aspirations to be different and to be left feeling disappointed.
Still a good introduction to get my bearings, I will be back, to get some of the harder routes done.

Ice bouldering at Kroken area-Rjukan