Monday, 13 April 2009


It was warm. Too warm. The weather forecast had said it would be. Still, we'd come this far (and had to fight all the way), so we were going to do our very best to actually climb something...

Friday evening, a rush to the airport straight from work led into the nightmare that is super budget flights with the likes of 'scum-air' [name changed to protect the guilty] and the hundreds of seemingly mindless people that book them and then fail to have any comprehension of how an airport actually works.

Despite my many ravings about how getting stressed at the airport is completely unnecessary, I did indeed get myself ever so slightly hot under the collar. I just couldn't help it – my tolerance for selfish, ignorant people barging into me to cut into the queue is remarkably low...

So how could it get worse? How could my enjoyment levels plummet any further? Well it was quite simple really – we got diverted.

Oslo Gardermoen (or however you spell it), is nowhere near Oslo Torp and as such was nowhere near where our hire car was. By nowhere near I of course mean it would have been a simple matter of an additional 2 ½ hour bus ride, at midnight. Then, of course, the hire desk, and probably the whole airport would have been closed. Great.

Anyway, in the end it didn't prove to be too much of an issue – Patrick managed to arrange a one way hire from Oslo Airport (where we landed due to fog) to be returned to Oslo Torp (where we were supposed to have landed 2 hours previously), and so we were on our way.

We arrived at our cabin in Rjukan at approximately 4am. Only 4 hours later than anticipated. We had planned to be up and heading out by 6am in order to catch the coolest part of the day - when the waterfalls were most likely to still be icefalls, so we stayed up – it seemed like the most sensible course of action given the circumstances.

Stunning. Absolutely stunning. The valley was beautiful in the sunshine – the trees and the mountains, and the ice! We were going climbing!

I love ice climbing. My first real ice experience in Cogne back in February had already convinced me that I want to climb ice, that I want to be an ice climber. I'm not sure what it is about climbing ice that draws me so, perhaps it is something about the transitory nature of it all, how you are impacting against and fighting your way up something that in a few months time will not even exist. Perhaps it is because with these routes, I know I'm good enough. I know that there will not be a single move that I cannot do (unlike with rock climbing where there is always that element of doubt), I know that as long as I can hold myself together mentally and overcome my fears and trepidations that victory can be mine.

Whatever the reason, we had a good day.

I climbed my first WI4s (one of which may have been a WI4+ even), Patrick found an ice screw, and he brought me chocolate at the belay – what more could a girl want? I was sat in a beautiful place having climbed one of the hardest routes I'd ever tried, with memories of a wonderful taste lingering on my tongue, a glint in my eye and a smile on my face...

I was right, I really do love ice climbing.

1 comment:

  1. Lauren climbed superbly that morning – all the more remarkable given the lack of sleep that we had had, as she explains. However, I think I can explain her success in part – we didn’t have much food with us but Lauren was particularly greedy and had a double helping for breakfast. That must be where she got all her energy from.