Monday, 1 February 2010

The Lower Gorge & Krokan, Rjukan

Stewart and me decided to explore the Lower Gorge this morning. We were the first people at the venue however it soon became busy. We climbed firstly LP-plata (WI3), which felt steady enough.

Stewart leading LP-plata (WI3)
We followed this up with Kursruta (WI3). The steep start made the route felt slightly harder than LP-plata despite being the same grade. Climbing was also steeper and more sustained in the lower part than the crux of Bølgen yesterday and so a good progression in difficulty for me.
Me leading Kursruta (WI3)
(Photo by Stewart Young)
Me leading Kursruta (WI3)
(Photo by Stewart Young)

With two routes complete and many of the others now occupied we decided to head to Krokan for variety-sake in the afternoon. The venue was a short drive up the hill passing roadside ice routes on route with great views back down the valley.

Valley views
Krokan
I had plans to attempt Gaustaspøkelse as my first WI4. Somehow I got sucked into trying Topp, which was a WI5. It looked hook-out so figured the route was within my ability. Things started well. I hooked my way up the route, placed an ice screw in the hard ice with great difficulty and continued on. Near the top of the steep section things turned for the worse. The ice was bullet proof. I tapped a hole with my axe for the ice screw to sit in. The screw would initially bite but then quickly lose its bite. I would give the screw a gental tap to try and regain the bite but it would repeated quickly be lost again. With the screw half buried I cut my losses and clipped the shaft of the screw with a quickdraw. My forearms were wasted. I climbed a little further before they gave up. I let go of the axe shaft to take the strain on my leash... My leash was not done up tight enough... My hand promptly slipped through the glove and I fell leaving an axe and glove in-situ in the ice. I landed upside-down a matter of meters above the ground. The half-sunk ice screw had held and consequently saved my neck (quite literally). No harm done, but I'll register that as a 'near miss incident'. Stewart was left with the task of climbing up to retreave my axe and glove as my forearms were done for the day. He didn't fancy leading on either and so abalakov'ed off. Maybe I will try and WI4 tomorrow...
Climbing Topp (WI5)
(Photo by Stewart Young)
At the screw that wouldn't sink on Topp (WI5)
(Photo by Stewart Young)
The photo tells the story... (note the half-sunk ice screw)

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