Mælumsåa

Stig and I had in effect done a day and a half's climbing the previous day so were now due for an easier day. Both the energy levels and psych were a little depleted. The single pitch route called Mælumsåa sounded the ticket as it was even closer to our accommodation than Bjørndalsbekken, plus Anna and her partner Bjørn Erik had climbed it the day before so we knew it was in good condition. The trail to the route would also be bashed of course.

The route
Despite being just a single pitch it was almost a full rope length and felt like a proper route. The ice was an improvement on Bjørndalsbekken in that there was no wet ice low down, and brittle ice high up was less of an issue. I took an interesting line, initially up the right side, that was quite easy to begin with but then ramped up more steeply to 80+ degrees. It was probably the crux, although easier than yesterday's, maybe partly due to a few helpful hooks from the previous day's ascent. Also a few cheeky ice screw placements in existing holes. Small things to be grateful of when feeling not the freshest. The ice wasn't great for screws through the steep section but I had made sure to lace it a little more below this point to compensate. 

On the crux
(Photo by Stig Jarnes)
At mid-height the ice ran out on the right side and the the curtains to the immediate left looked too hard (for me) and poorly formed. This initiated an exciting delicate traverse leftwards along the base of the curtains until easier ground in the centre of the icefall could be reached. It was a traverse of 8m at a guess? Half ropes were a blessing, although I still needed to avoid screw placements around the middle of the traverse to keep them running roughly straight and free of drag. I managed to kick some decent steps into the soft ice beneath the curtains to compensate, and where the curtains separated low down to form small pillars, the shelf behind presented some solid axe placements. 

Once past the traverse the final ice to the top was of moderate difficulty. The line was around WI4, although a tad easier than yesterday's route due to the difficulties being less sustained. 

Stig near the top
We were back at the bags for 13:30 and lunch. Enough time remained to climb another line in theory but in practise the motivation levels had dropped due to flagging energy and psych. Climbing the same icefall again via a different line felt a little contrived as well. There looked to be a more sustained line up the middle, via a faint chimney, which looked fun but more of a line of strength. No doubt good training had I been game. As it stood, I was thinking more about a hot chocolate. Plus some cake to accompany. 

The descent
(Photo by Stig Jarnes)

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