Anna and me planned an easy first day (of five) in Alta after a late arrival the previous evening. No alarm clock set... get up when we wake up. Of course a late start at sixty-nine degrees North somewhat limits options. Our unadventurous plan therefore was for something short and close to the road. Lots of fresh snow lay on the ground further dissuading too much exploration..
Kløftan looked to have a good density of routes. Nettisen (WI3) and Nettisenkløfta (WI4) looked suitable entry points for our trip and close to a lay-by. The latter proved to be too thin to consider but Nettisen looked worthwhile.
A very short bash through the snow brought us to beneath the route. A gentle-angled start held a lot of snow but ceased where the ice steepened. I followed a weakness up the centre of the fall, over a step, and then up a short steep corner. The ice was hard and brittle, shattering regularly, needing care to find sound placements. Then, as the angle eased back, the snow clearing began. A delicate rising traverse right to the top of the ice followed. Rather spicy for a 3 but partly due to the ice conditions.
It was only 2pm and we had hopes of cramming a second route into the day. Nearby Kløftanisen (WI3) looked the obvious candidate. This prominent icefall lay 500m back down the road and was wider than it was higher and climbable by many lines. We chose a short line up a blunt rib at the right-hand end, which was largely snow-free, until exiting onto the easy ground above. Anna led the main wall before I continued up a short isolated second tier a little higher. Not quite as good as Nettisen due to the contrived nature of climbing such a wide fall. Largely free of drama though, apart from fading light. Sunset was 3pm (not 3.30pm as I had vaguely recalled). Nearly two hours earlier than Oslo. Hopefully tomorrow the alarm clock will make a re-emergence.
|Kløftisen (WI3)... close to the road|
|Anna leading Kløftisen|