Sabotørfossen (WI5) + Kroken, Rjukan

I clipped my quickdraw to the wire... Not the type produced by Wild Country. Rather a wire akin to metal wire fencing that lay in-situ in the ice like a giant abalakov thread. Strong enough to hold a fall. Then a little higher two more loops of wire to clip in a similar manner. One for each half rope. The latter part of the first pitch of Sabotørfossen had transformed into an unorthodox sport route. Incidentally, the ice on the first pitch in excellent condition. More than could be said for some of what would follow...

In-site wires
More wires

Normality returned by the second pitch, which Christian lead. The ice steepened, although the narrow build-up of ice at the first steep section made for some cramped moves.

Start of the second pitch of Sabortørfossen

Then the classic third pitch. The final portion clearly looked as though it would present the most challenges and worth reserving as many screws as possible for. The surface of the ice on steeper sections had become wet but largely still friendly to axes and crampons. At least until the upper fall, where the ice was dripping wet and best avoided. Fortunately the left side offered a weakness that was both drier and less sustained, climbing a sequence of steep steps. The ice was thinner in places over rocks but in good condition with plenty of surface area to place screws elsewhere. Soft climbing for WI5 but a classic route nonetheless. The Smiths Gully of Rjukan maybe?

Conditions became wetter during abseil descent, courtesy of my belay plate partially ringing the damp ropes dry, soaking my gloves in the process. The bolted belays at least made rapid work of the rappels.

View back up towards the upper part of the route

Abseiling the first pitch of Sabortørfossen

The main event was concluded but it wasn't yet midday and therefore still plenty of opportunity for more climbing. We each made a quick accent of Nedre Svingfoss (WI3), on the opposite side of the gorge via the steeper right-hand line. The ice was generally good, although Christian managed to sink his arm in a puddle of water whilst coming over a steep section onto flatter ground, meaning a cold hand for much of the day. Steady climbing otherwise.

Start of Nedre Svingfoss

Abseiling Nedre Svingfoss

With still a couple of hours of daylight remaining we headed to Kroken. Jomfrua (WI4) and Fyrstikka (WI5) provided a good finale. Very steady climbing due to the hooked-out nature of the ice but still enjoyable. There was some rotten ice littering parts of Jomfrua but Kroken as a whole looked to have drier and better quality ice compared to what we saw in the Upper Gorge earlier. Good reason to return the next day.



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