Kroken (continued)

With so mainly multipitch routes in the bag this winter I was keen to return to Kroken on Sunday to try some steeper shorter routes. Kroken was relatively quiet, apart from a climbing course in the vacinity of Bullen and Tipp. Christian and me headed to the Eastern end to try some shorter 5s.

Ice at the Eastern end of the crag

Our 'warm-up' route was probably the hardest on ice that day. We chose to start on a colomn of ice to the right of Karius in the vague open corner. The lower part was largely vertical but looked to have some small breaks with which to gain a rest. In reality the ice was rather poor. It dinner-plated regularly and made hard work for my mono-points due to the broken nature of the ice. 'Sketchy' springs to mind. A short section at the top of the route offered a different type of entertainment. A short wall marked the end of the climb but above this lay half a metre of semi-consolidaed snow stacked on a ledge. Further complicated by tree branches hindering the exit and upsetting my axe swing. Somebody had tied some tape to the tree and presumably abseiled from it, however it didn't look stable enough. After much snow sweeping I managed to haul myself over the top whilst tustling with the tree branches. All a bit dramatic for a first route of the day...

Abseiling down our first route (directly behind the line of the rope)
My girlfriend Anna leading Kjøkkentrappa in the immediate vacinity

Next up was the curtain of ice, referred to as 'Unknown' in the Rockfax guide. Made slightly more interesting by a small gap running horizontally half a metre from the ground, which made it unsupported at the base. The ice looked in good shape though. A bit thin in places for the feet low down but easy to punch a front point into without too much impact. Plus there was a steady line of hooks which greatly helped with matters of delicacy, although the rising rightward traverse to the exit made the moves more interesting. Once up the curtain the climbing was much easier. Overall easy for the grade, given the short height in difficulties. A fun climb all the same.

Climbing the 'Unknown' Route (WI5)

Next on the agenda was Topp. I fell off this five year on my first ever ice climbing trip. On that occasion I hadn't lead anything harder than WI3 but thought I would get straight on a 5. It didn't work out! Read the last paragragh of this for a laugh. With hopefully a little more competance since gained I thought it a good idea to make another attempt. This occasion the climbing felt very steady, although just as stepped-out, as it was five years ago. Very similar to climbing the stepped chalk at Saltdean in fact, of which I was well-versed in.

Christian top-toping Topp (WI5)

Time for just one more route... maybe? I tried De kaller meg fjård (M7) immediately right of Topp but didn't get the sequence right around the third bolt. Not much for the axes, plus I didn't arrange the feet correctly. No time to practice some more so it will have to wait until next time. It's always good to have something to return for though.


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