Jon, Phil and me climbed Contamine-Grisolle on the Tacul Triangle for acclimatisation purposes. The lower slopes of the Triangle were icy and lean but the snow conditions on our route were excellent. The route was of no great difficulty and we moved together for the entirety. We abseiled down the Western side of triangle on completion.
Phil between my legs. On the lower slopes of Contamine-Grisolle
Passopp was too good to pass by. It looked in fine condition and not particularly intimidating for a WI5. We were making our first visit to Vinstradalen and there seemed little need to explore beyond the first handful of routes, given their close proximity and quality. Ice conditions, as with the previous day, would prove to be excellent.
The first pitch of Passopp was sustained, following a vague groove, with nothing overly steep. Plus the placements had been softened from previous ascents. Maybe closer to 4+. The second pitch, finishing up the top tier, was possibly harder than normal due to the right hand end not having formed. Instead the taller ice towards the centre offered the only passage and proved steep for the first few metres before it gradually eased back. Not much easier than the first pitch and probably Anna's hardest lead. Good effort. A really fine route.
It didn't look as though we were going to top Passopp but neighbouring Skila (WI3+) looked potentially a f…
A Silly Game
Esoteric... intimidating... worrying... exhausting... are some of the words that I would best describe climbing on the white cliffs at Dover. It's one of the most unique and memorable places that I have climbed at and somewhere that has filled me with equal measures of dread and ambition. The style of climbing is far from perfect but it is partly the imperfections combined with the unique experiences and high levels of adventure that kept me returning.What's more the journey time of under two hours from my former London home made the area positively 'local' by London standards.
Mick Fowler's exploits were one of the main catalysts to me trying chalk climbing. I visited Saltdean a few times to climb the bolted chalk routes at Saltdean but was keen for bigger adventures away from in situ protection. An excellent article on Dover by Ian Parnell in Climb Magazine further raised my interest in the purely trad form, particularly in a route called The Tube, …
The valley ice around Hemsedal was in terrible condition. In Grøndalen the start of the second pitch of Vøllokula had partially melted away, the easier right hand side to Murekløve looked too thin to climb, the Snusveggen routes had looked good a couple of weeks ago, however were now also too thin. Nystølfossen had dramatically shrunk also. With other routes in Grøndalen it was a similar story. Ice close to Hemsedal centre looked no better. Kyrkjebønsstølsfossen and Grøtenutbekken looked too damaged to climb and Grøtesigene looked partially melted and shrunken. Maybe Haugsfossen and Flagetfossen would be ok but we were less inclined to further investigate routes that we had previously climbed. The faces on Skogshorn and Skurvefjell also clearly had no winter conditions after weeks of dry weather and warm weather bouts.
Short of options we decided to check out an ice line that I had seen a few weeks ago besides the toll road leading to the Øvre Lauvdøla / Botnajuvet area. It had alread…