Saturday, 22 February 2014

Rjukan round up

As like most climbing trips, by the end of it you have everything dialed in by the end of you time there. The first couple of days you spend putting your cramps on before your harness and putting you're rack at the bottom of you're sack under your food and belay jacket. By the time our trip ended me and clif didn't even have to speak to each other once we got to belays and tot the top of routes, we just knew what each of us had to do and got to it. Untying of the rope, threading the tat or tree for the decent and coiling the rope the chuck down for the abseil were all done with little communication and almost Autonomously.

One of my many conclusions was the my crampons are insufient for there purpose, I have black diamond cyborgs and I have adapted them by by putting mono grivel Rambo points on them which are a lot better than the original points, for climbing they are great but for walking in they are horrendous. I would walk 2 steps and they were balling up with snow badly. I was like having 4kg platform heels on and dangerous on slopes to. My mate has a pair on the petzl lynx crampons and from what I saw they were amazing,they didn't ball up, they are light and the front points are long and replaceable. They are defonetly my next crampon purchase and I think they are the best on the market at the minute. 

The weather wasn't Particularly bad on this trip, the coldest day was only -4 so keeping warm wasn't an issue. My clothing choices consisted of a pair of light weight ski pants I bought from tk max for £50, my base layer was a medium weight ice breaker( merino wool ) long sleeve top, a rab polar techy top and either a rab soft shell of my rab latok hard shell, depending on wether I thought it might be a wet or cold day. I used the mountain equipment alpine guide gloves as they have a great balance of warmth and dexterity, plus they are water proof which massively helps. 
For socks I use a pair of ice breaker ski mountaineering socks which keep my feet warm enough. 

All in all the trip was a massive success and I loved every minute. We did all the climbs we wanted to do bar a couple due to poor conditions on the day and not due to nerve or skill level. 
I can't wait to see what this year has in store and I'm hoping to get upto Scotland before it melt. Fingers crossed. 

Keep cranking!!!!!!!!

Saturday, 8 February 2014

Vemork bridge assault

After yesterday's forced rest day by the snow, today we decided to head up to the Vemork bridge area. The two routes we want to do were vemorkbrufoss vest and øst, on arriving we found a team of 4 on øst and only 2 on vest, so vest it was. Once we had glisaided down the steep track to the base of the gorge there was a nice well trodden and solid path leading to the base of all the routes.

It was my lead so after letting cliff sort all the ropes out for me whilst I sorted my gopro out I set of up the first pitch of the route. The first pitch was nice climbing, not to steep but steep enough to keep you interested. On arriving to the belay stance I met one half of the two person team who were on the route before us, after a brief chat I found out she was 73 and had only started ice climbing at the age of 62. ( there's hope for us all) and her partner who was doing all the leading was 65, legend. 

Once cliffs had dragged his ass up to meet me he set of up the final short pitch, which was nice climbing in beautiful surroundings. At the top we decided to walk round as Ed was going to do the climb behind us. 

Now all that was left to do was vemorkbrufoss øst, this route wasn't as steep and had a lot of big pillows and changes in angle. I climbed up to the first belay to find a lad sat down in a small cave feature about to belay his two friend up the route, I asked him if he was col and he replied with 'yes I'm freezing and I haven't got water proof pants on', why he was even sat down in the first place escapes me but he must of been sat there for about an hour if not more. His nuts must have been freezing. 

Cliff finished the route off, which was a steep pillar start off the belay, good job he didn't fall because he would have landed on my head. I set off and as I got over the steep section the upper part of the route had a crusty layer which gave way under pressure, so axe placements took a few try's. 
On this route we decided to ab down and the snow in places was chest deep, fun fun fun. At the bottom we all decided it was coffe time as jon had had a bit of a nightmare fighting demons in his head, unfortunately he didn't manage to complete any route today but tomorrow is another day. 

Every ones pretty knack erred tonight and I for one can't wait to hit my pit. 

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Don't believe everything you read on the internet.

Not believing everything you hear and seeing for you're self is an important lesson I've learnt over the years climbing and today was no exception. One persons storm is another's shower, so today we headed off to krokan.

 On the walk in we could see the snow was quite deep down at krokan and we could also see that there was a lot of ice to be had as well, the path down to the main area was well trodden and nice and consolidated. 

Today me and CLIFF started on bullen, CLIFF had the first lead and I followed him up whilst Ed and jon started on bullen right hand side. After CLIFF and myself had abseiled down the route CLIFF had lead we tottered over to jomfrua.

It was my turn to lead and I picked the steepest line on jomfrua and once I got established on the face it started to feel quite steep and when I tried putting a screw in which was blunt and didn't want to go in I started to fell pretty pumped in the forearms. Me and CLIFF decided to do the route in two pitches, so once I had set up a belay CLIFF came up and finished the route. 

Next on CLIFFS list was kjøkkentrappa, which CLIFF didn't climb last year. However to get to the route we had to cross a sketchy section of the river which had melted and re frozen several times and looked pretty dodgey, CLIFF kindly let me test the ice and cross first (nice of him).

CLIFF sent the route with ease and once I got on it it was a really good route with difficulties In the changing angles. It was a really nice route that made its way up some short steep sections to a cave like feature where CLIFF employed a nice back and foot technique. The abseil down was the hardest part as anyone knows who has ever abseiled over overhanging ice onto smooth rock, it's a mare. 
When me and CLIFF got down we headed over to see what Ed and jon were upto, once regrouped we dipped ove to the fission bowl and I jumped on a bolted route at the far left side of the bowl, it was a blank slab leading to a snowy corner.
The first 5 moves were stein pulls and everything else was facing downwards, there was hardly anything for you're feet throughout the whole route. The first 3 bolts were comfortably close together then there was a massive gap to the next which I clipped. There where a few axe placements that i just placed and pulled on not knowing if they would hold as the snow was to deep to see what they were on, it was a really fun and thin route. 
Tonight john made a chicken curry which hit the spot, we are still undersides on what tomorrow's plans are so stay tuned. 

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Rocking at ozzmosis

WToday's climbing took us to ozzmosis, which is located on the hairpin roads up towards the gaustatoppen ski resort. This morning I woke up feeling like I'd just closed my eyes, it felt like forever to get to sleep the previous night, as I was so excited and couldn't wait to get back on the ice again. 

 On arriving to ozzmosis I got ready by putting our crampons on before our harness's which were at the bottom of our sacs (school boy error) once down the steeper than remembered path to the base of  the climbing I got racked up and got stuck into the first of many routes to come.

 It felt great to be back on the ice, all the drytooling and training seemed to pay off and even on steep ground I felt more than happy, we did 6 routes in total. I did ozzmosis which is WI4 which I've been wanting to do for a while, it was nice climbing and I really enjoyed it and felt comfortable all the way on bomber pockets and foot placements. 
 The route was steep to start but the drop in temp helped make the ice chewy and all the placements sank in and felt solid every hit. 

I thought I'd get tea making duty out the way and do the honours tonight, so it was garlic chicken, cabbage and spuds on the menu tonight, which was better than it sounds. 
It's Krokan tomorrow and I can't wait to attack the tick list I've been growing through the year. 

Friday, 31 January 2014

Rjukan is upon us.

So it's that time of year again, on Monday I'm off to rjukan. Hopefully all the drytooling, schmoozing and training will pay off as I've got a tick list as long as my arm. Climbs like juvasoyla WI6 to fision at krokan which is m10 and a lot inbetween. 

This year I'm going for 12 days as I didn't think a week was long enough last year, by the time you properly got into the swing of things you're coming home. 
Hopefully this year I should be cranking away. Time will tell. 

I'll be blogging conditions and pictures of where we've been, so if you're coming over soon and what an update on conditions stay tuned