Sunday, 18 December 2016

-4 Degrees and Raining in Golsjuvet

We were running out of climbing options around Hemsedal with yet more warm weather on the way. Temperatures were forecast to climb into the positive numbers today, particularly at altitude, with +9 degrees expected on Skogshorn's summit. There looked to be a big temperature inversion on the way and therefore it looked best to go low and sheltered in order to find the trapped cold air. 

Golsjuvet looked the obvious option but obvious option would inevitably by the busy option. Since it looked like Hemsedal centre would stay below freezing until around 1pm we optimistically stopped by Rjukandefoss first on the off chance there were leading conditions. The ice in the base was unfortunately wafer thin so we turned south and headed to Golsjuvet. 

Rjukandefoss

It was -4 degrees and raining by the time we arrived at Golsjuvet. A pretty grim combination. Evidently the warm temperatures had already moved in at higher altitudes. Given the warm forecast for the following days we were keen to take advantage of the remaining freezing temperatures though, despite the torrid rain.

Single pitch cragging never encourages me to leap out of bed at any speed and race to the crag. As a consequence there were already four top-ropes in place by the time we arrived with about the same number of lines in some sort of condition. A lot of the ice was fissured and wet, which didn't encourage leading. I wasted a good while trying to set a top-rope up over the Vårspill ice before giving up due to the Trapp/Tripp routes becoming free. This ice looked ok to lead compared to everything else, mainly because it was less steep.

Anna led a line approximating to Tripp, although finished right of the bolted lower-offs via couple of ice screws. I seconded the route and then made an awkward traverse across to the bolts. We then top-roped Trapp, which was too thin in the upper half to encourage either of us to lead. It wad actually more fun to top-rope anyway because it allowed us to try the really delicate structures directly under the abseil bolts. Firstly a short column less than 30cm wide, followed by a short hanging curtain that needed delicate crampons to avoid kicking it down (The features are visible in the left side of the below photo). Not really steep enough to build the pump significantly due to some good rests but quite technical.

Anna leading Tripp at Golsjuvet 

We climbed until dusk, with temperatures holding in the blue numbers. Our time around Hemsedal looked to have concluded prematurely though. We had planned a week's climbing in the area but after just three days we were out of options, other than more top-roping in Golsjuvet. The immediate warm weather and already thin conditions had encouraged us to cut our losses and move on in hope of better conditions elsewhere. 

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