Espedalsrenna (WI4/M4), Espedalen
|View of Skoroa (WI4) from the road. Looked steep for WI4!|
We very carefully parked the car so as not to get it stuck in the snow as had happened yesterday. We blocked the drive to a hytte in the process but clearly nobody was visiting for the weekend.
We messed up the approach by following by tracks into the trees just north of the parking area. The tracks brought us to beneath the larger ice route of Sprenabekken again, which then meant a moderate traverse along the hillside via some fairly deep snow to reach our desired route. We actually found two routes, since there was an obvious independent ice line to the right of Espedalsrenna.
|Matias at the belay beneath Espedalsrenna to his left|
Espedalsrenna reminded me a little bit of the first pitch of Bakveien in Rjukan in the way it curved around the corner out of sight. The style of climbing, sunny aspect, and the high setting over the nearby broad lake reminded me equally of an ice crag just south of Alta called Solisen.
The steepness throughout the route was not that great but the neighbouring leaning roof made the climbing cramped if not careful. Often I would need to jointly climb and traverse steeper sections rather than mounting them directly, else be lured under the roof. It maybe made the route slightly more technical and sustained for its steepness but still felt fairly easy for WI4. There was also no expected mixed climbing on the route unless stepping on a rock counts as M4. Maybe we had better conditions compared to typical, or those of the first ascensionists.
The route was close to a full sixty metres but no need to break it into two smaller pitches as suggested by the guide. The top twenty metres was a gentle gradient and relatively straightforward, with just a moderately steeper last few metres. An easy abseil from the tree belay brought us back to the base of the route.
|Easy ground in the upper half of the route|
Matias then led the route to the right whilst I belayed in bright sunshine, no wind and around -15 degrees. Fine weather. It was around WI3+ with an interesting finish trending right at the very top.
|Matias leading the bonus ice to the right of Espedalsrenna|
We finished in good time, which gave me a chance to check out the ice further down the valley in daylight during the drive home. Earl Grey was looking better than last visit but there was still an absence of ice in the middle section that looked potentially problematic. Earl Grey and Skoroa seem the obvious routes to return for maybe I'll wait for a little beta to lure me back first, else wait for another year with more reliable conditions.