Nye Vermorkfoss (WI5) & Svingfoss (WI4), Rjukan

After pushing my grade the previous weekend and then falling off I was naturally feeling a little bit conservative with my ambitions for this weekend.

...That was until around the middle of the week when I started flicking through the Rjukan guide and talking to people. Many of the WI5s looked very amiable and realistically within my leading ability.

Nye Vermorkfoss had looked particularly doable the previous morning and not much harder (if at all) to what I had already lead this winter. Plus many of the routes in the Upper Gorge looked to have seen plenty of traffic, which would likely soften the route's difficulty. I also knew that Anna wouldn't begrudge me if I chickened out at the crux, which meant no reason not to give it a go.

As anticipated the main pitch proved straightforward with a sequence of well formed troughs with which to bury my picks. A split running up the centre of the column further aided matters by allowing me to bridge my feet up either side whilst keeping my hips beneath my arms. Keen for no more silly business I patiently laced the steep ice with screws. If anything the short pillar that immediately followed was maybe harder due to actually needing me to swing my axes.

Anna leading the first pitch

The crux second pitch

Anna made fine work of the pitches either side of this. The first pitch was still a little lean but passed without drama. The final pitch steady and enjoyable. Neighbouring Bakveien also looked to have had plenty of traffic despite the lean appearance of the first pitch.

We finished the route at 11.20am, which left plenty of daylight remaining. Keen for an easy day we drove to Svingfoss to conclude the weekend's proceedings. 'Drove' being the appropriate word, given that it lies directly beside a hairpin bend. There wasn't a huge amount of the ice but what existed was in excellent condition, firmly biting my axes mostly first time and offering enough depth to sink screws.

Abseiling from Svingfoss

We wrapped things up early but with the intention to return again in just a couple of weeks to continue matters. Hopefully by which time there will be a little more ice to encourage me to venture to parts less familiar to me.

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