There was even ice outside the window of the Lair and the fjord was frozenWe found the valley almost by accident and traipsed up through the woods to the hillside. The trek up was not as bad as I had imagined although Dave pointed out that was because I wasn't breaking trail! Got to the bottom of a very nice looking route, two pitches, just off vertical in the first and a bit more broken up in the upper. Dave opted to lead the first pitch which turned out to be much steeper and more sustained than it looked - a great lead. I followed up and then ticked off the top pitch while Simon relaxed at the base and Mike took some amazing photos. I topped out just as the sun set and we scurried back to the car and drove to Hemsdal, bumping into Katharine, Cecilie and Lyndsey in Voss.
Me cranking steep ice in Bergensdalen (Photo c. Mike Hutton)
We had booked a cabin just south of Hemsdal and when we arrived there, Sandy and Rich were already settled in with a big fire going. Headed to bed after a couple of bottles of wine and some pizza.
Dave topping out as the sunsets on an awesome day
Simon "I'm in semi-retirement" Dale
Cabin near Hemsedal, note the very scary looking WI6 in the background
Next day was super-cold (-15c) and we headed south to a new venue. Had directions which turned out to be spot on and we found it no trouble. It was a small gorge with several fat, steep ice falls and a couple of mixed lines. There were also some other people climbing there - shock horror! including to crazy french guys climbing some very radical mixed lines - lots of dry tooling and icicle smashing and a couple of Norwegian guys, doing what they do best and hogging the easiest line with a top rope.
Because the obvious warm-up (is that the correct term when its -15?) was taken I opted for a mixed line which turned out to be fairly easy, despite the fact that the ice was very brittle and there was a gnarly step sideways at the top. Then moved on to a steep line straight up the main fall. Wasn't sure if I could do it, but doing something seemed better than freezing to death and in the end it went fine. Pretty sustained but fairly straight forward. The day wore on, everyone except "Simon, I am in temporary retirement", ticked a few routes in between standing around and shivering and chatting. A good day and a good spot to know about - but bloody cold.
Dangerous stuff this ice climbing lark
Headed back to the cabin and meet up with the ladies who had been skiing. A big chilli was made and a considerable amount of wine was consumed. At one point a bottle was being opened every ten minutes! Eventually we stumbled off to bed.
An evening of fine food and wine
Rjukenfoss near Hemsedal. Ice fun for everyone
Then we headed back to the Big B. Driving conditions were pretty crappy and it was carnage on the roads with all sorts of cars in ditches, up hedges, in gardens etc. We had a few slides but nothing to bad, making it back in time for an evening of extreme sports vids.
The boys stayed at the lair while I went to work on Tuesday and then headed back Tuesday eve. It was great to see them and great to climb ice. Found some excellent new locations, did some good lines and I can safely say that the rat is fed and back in his box, at least for a couple of weeks.