Torsetfossen (WI4), Hemsedal

Murilo was keen to maximise the short daylight hours with as much climbing as feasibly possible. Langesetfeltet sounded a sure bet given it's Northerly aspect and high altitude. There looked to be numerous short climbs around 4/4+. Of course we needed the approach road to be open in order to get anywhere near the climbs and as it turned out it wasn't. Nevertheless the morning detour provided some inspiring views of Hydnafossen.


Inspiring view over with, we needed to find a plan B. Luckily formulating plan B's was becoming second nature in recent weeks. I knew Torsetfossen had been climbed around 10 days prior so this seemed like a good choice.

From the car park the route looked to have a couple of really steep sections. With half the walk-in completed the route was still looking rather steep and slightly intimidating. Only when in direct proximity did the line of weakness present. A lower tier had an obvious channel that would hopefully facilitate bridging, whilst the upper tier looked to have a welcome escape on the right in order to avoid some intimating ice pillars.

Beneath the route

Murilo led the first pitch, which proved not only steep but also exhilarating. Fortunately the channel offered some great stepped bridging to facilitate rests. Furthermore some positive hooks presented towards the back of the channel where the the ice was not fully formed. The downside was that the screws proved harder than expected to place due to the general lack of compact ice. A couple of screws placed low down was followed by a barren patch without gear until towards the top. Murilo looked a little tense but the climbing at least always looked in control.

Start of the steep climbing
Nearing the top

He made a belay between the two tiers from where I led the remainder of the route. The difficulties through the top tier proved much briefer than below, although lacked screws again where most needed and maybe the ice was a little less cooperating. Only after I'd given Murilo a small black eye from falling ice did I cut my eyebrow in similar manner. I arrived at a rather dubious belay consisting of a pair of ropes hanging from a tree high above, which joined at a heavy duty maillon. One of the ropes was encased in a pillar of ice. The ends of the other rope, which was free of the ice, were not looking in best of condition but at least everything looked well frozen in place.

Top of the second steep section
Our frozen rope belay

Above us lay a narrow gully, which didn't look overly difficult, or in particularly great condition either. We decided to climb it nonetheless in order to make the most of the day. As it happened the climbing was rather taxing but enjoyable with some proper Scottish moves. I was presented with an assortment of thin ice, deep snow, running water and rubbish ice screws. The steepest section of ice was particularly problematic as I didn't trust the ice above for fear of both my axes simultaneously ripping. And so I back-and-footed my way up the adjacent walls on small blobs of ice in order to gain enough height to revert into to bridging position and gain the step. It felt maybe M5 but probably much easier were the ice reliable enough to simply heave on. Also probably much easier for the second who could heave and hope without needing to worry about that laughably poor ice screw below him.

View up the gully...
...and back down

The gully petered out after thirty meters and so we set about abseiling from whence we had come. We
convinced ourselves that the frozen maillon belay would be ok for this purpose but prudently we backed-up it up for the heavier climber to test it out first (me of course). Soon we were back at our bags and content with having ticked an even better route than yesterday. It all boded well for what might follow in the coming months.

End of the abseil descent


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