THE MERRELL BLOG: WHAT'S NOW. WHAT'S NEXT. LET'S GET OUTSIDE.
Rjukan Ice Trip 2014: Paradice!
The Final Day of Jake's Ice Climbing Series in Norway - More upper gorge action, Top Gear Challenge and a night time surprise!
Sore, aching and just a little bit broken! We all stumbled out of bed, made some coffee, necked some scrambled egg and a banana each, and made our way over to the Upper Gorge. Today Joe, Dan and I were going to climb as a three together, and the plan was to do a nice WI4, unfortunately we arrived a little bit late today and all the routes were looking pretty busy. After a bit of searching we found a route named “Nedre Svingvoss”, Joe took the lead, Dan and I followed, and it turned out to be a very enjoyable climb. Next was “By the Way”, it was my turn to lead, as I looked up I could see that most people were taking an easy line to the right, but on the left was what looked like a short but technical and steep section of ice flowing from underneath a cave roof, I got to the base of it, made a few moves up and placed an ice screw, then went for it and it was seriously beautiful! At one point I had to bridge my foot out across onto a hanging ice chandelier, then traverse onto it by switching hands on my ice axes, super fun!
After descending we started walking out to the car ready to sort out all of our kit, as we walked past the base of a 3 star rated WI2 named “Lettvann” (an easy angled ice route covered with deep snow), I hear Joe say “Jakey boy… Top Gear Challenge? Dan can race back to the car up the path while me, you and the other boys can solo (climb without ropes) up Lettvann and try and beat him to the layby on the road?” (Lettvann finishes just below the road). The challenge was on! To no one’s surprise Dan beat us, so whilst pouring with sweat, hands numb and calves burning, we headed back to the hut ready to get some food down us and start packing for tomorrow’s flight home!
Munching on some pasta and sauce, I think we all felt like we hadn’t quite had enough from the day, and we wanted to finish the trip on a major high. Searching through the guidebook, Joe found a climb named “Svingvoss”, a steep frozen waterfall that pour’s onto the side of the road. We piled everything into the car headed up the main road and found it, a beautiful blue ice pillar coming from the top of a roadside rock face, we pointed the car headlights at it, got geared up and had the most fun we’d had all trip, an awesome way to end!
So sat hear now having had a good old rest, I can’t help but wish I was back there now, sharpening my ice tools and diving into the world of ice climbing, Rjukan I will be back!