Reven (n6-), Hægefjell

Matias and I were making things somewhat hard for ourselves. Firstly due to sleep deprivation, having stayed up too late at the Ballesteinfestival in Bø i Telemark the previous evening. Albeit sober, as a consequence of missing the Saturday 6pm supermarket curfew for alcohol sales. Secondly the final stretch of road to Hægefjell proved to be shut 5km before the camping area, making the approach a little more sporting. At least an opportunity to wake-up, magnified by a gusty north-easterly wind that was meeting with us. Hopefully we would be in its lee once on the route.

Road closure

The approach

Hægefjell in the distance

It had rained lightly throughout the night, however the Sunday forecast looked excellent and with a casual starting time we hoped to find some dry rock somewhere. Gone with the Weed had been our first choice but the broad streaks of seepage descending the entirety of the route firmly placed it in the 'wet' category. Heavy seepage also affected other nearby routes such as Agent Orange and Via Lara, however Reven looked largely to follow dry rock after some wet initial sections on the first pitch.

Seepage

The first couple of pitches of Reven offered a steady warm-up with the main resistance being water-based. Gone with the weed's first belay in comparison was semi-submerged in the centre of a shallow stream making our Plan B a justified one.

First pitch

Second pitch

The third pitch was the distinct crux. It followed a straight crack in the slab, starting at 5+, then moving to 6-. Usually a grade that I felt confident with, however the spring had been a slow start for me. I'd repeatedly irritated a mild finger pulley during autumn and made me wary to test it on indoor plastic through winter for risk of upsetting my ice climbing plans. What's more a long trip to Pakistan in July had shifted my attention away from finger strength and movement towards endurance and general fitness. I had mainly been bumbling on 5s of late but on the plus side my tall frame made slabs a more amiable gradient and I had sensed some form on rock returning the previous day whilst climbing near Drammen.

5+ moves quickly confronted me above the belay but soon the difficulties eased back with some easy footwork to help matters. Things as expected became harder in the upper half but the gear was solid, as were some strong passive finger jams. At one point the distorted proximal joint of my ring finger jammed inside the crack. Random heavy impact against the joint during the ice climbing season had left it enlarged and prominent and now needed some effort to free. Through hardest moves the passive jams were so good that it seemed better to run the moves out a little rather than compromise their purchase with gear.

Third pitch

A short section of 5+ at the start of the next pitch moved to beneath an overlap, however bolts softened the difficulties. The moves through the overlap were a simple affair, and above this the difficulties were largely over. Just a short bolted section of 5 on the fifth pitch, complicated by some wet streaks, called for extra focus. Otherwise the climbing was simple but still fun and with perfect weather to boot.

Moving through the overlap on the fourth pitch

Sixth (final) pitch

Some large blocks of snow rested on the easy angled slabs above the routes, marking the source of the seepage down the face. With so much seepage in the proximity we had been fortunate to find a dry route so early in May. It felt good to have the first long route in the bag and a sense that my rock season was now properly under way.

Hægefjell from the valley

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