Fri 8th Feb - Fri 15th Feb, 2008
Norway Ice Meet
It's been a long time in the making (!), and now it's an article/report/advert for the next adventure so I randomly placed it at the end of this report.
Rjukan, Norway 2008 (and for 2009)
Members Present Feb 8-15th: Colin Maddison, Al Metelko, Dave Lygate, Susan Marsden, Craig Marsden.
Guests Present: Thomas Marsden, Roisin Maddison, Phoebe Marsden.
The strap line? Fed up with variable Scottish conditions and poor if any ice, want virtually guaranteed conditions with a maximum of an hour and a half walk or as little as 2 minutes, want a choice of some 175 ice routes then Rjukan in Southern Norway may well be the place for you?
The reality was even better as 8 winter hopefuls step off the Ryanair flight to Oslo Torp, it's not that cold! Was the first cry but wait advises the meet leader, there is time yet! (I didn't know you could cross so many things!).
After some initial tribulations obtaining and then finding the hire car, the silver car turned out to be black, we were on our way to the silky accompaniment of Al's lady friend ensuring a devious and very direct route to our destination.
We eventually arrived in Rjukan to find our beds awaiting at 2 am.
A slow start on the Saturday morning (ish) showed the 1st split in the party with Dave and Al heading off to the Ozzimosis area whilst the rest of us made our way up to the ski area to sort out the skiers in the party, with clear blue skies beckoning for all. Dave started in sensible style with a nice WI2 and followed a Klassik WI3 and gains his first star, if he carries on at this rate then we expect WI6 at least by the end of the week. Al got his turn with a nice warm up on Anakje WI3.
Colin and I nipped in to sneak a first route at the Ozzimosis area to test Colin's sparkly new axes out, they are so light and very curvy, no I'm not talking about Colin here, although maybe, in geological terms!! Ozzimosis proved more than a little exciting if not painful for a warm up route! Dave Garland I now know what you were worried about all those years ago in Spain, I thought I was going to hit the first runner! After this inauspicious start, Colin made short work of the rest of the route. Not exactly what I had in mind for a warm up route but we were off to a 'flying' start.
The next morning saw the dawn, well, 11'ish, rising to get the skiers underway for their 1st lesson, full of excitement and exuberance and the climbers off to the Lower Gorge for our first full day's play on ice.
The gorge was a magical place with some classic looking lines, Camilla foss, kort og godt. The Lower Gorge provided plenty of amusement with Dave leaping up to Water Ice 4, at this rate Dave will be on Mixed 6 by the end of the week. The Skiers had a great time with the youngsters coming to grips with down hill and Sue deciding on cross-country.
Out for a pizza and back to the hut for a whisky and to decide on the next day's activities.
Day 3 saw us visiting an incredible area, the Vemork bridge, the area below the legendary power station that was attacked due to heavy water production.
A fantastic route, Vemorkbrufoss Ost WI4, gave much excitement with Dave having a few flying lessons but having a thoroughly enjoyable time.
Day 4 saw a return to the Vemork bridge area and our first foray onto a WI5 with Vemorkbrufoss Vest, a fantastic route in a superb position.
The Skiers were having a great time up at the ski area with wall to wall sunshine and virtually empty slopes. Sue decided cross-country was her thing and went for some private lessons.
Dave was determined to do some telemark skiing in the telemark region and Al accompanied him to the summit of Gaustatopen. It certainly looked amazing with fantastic hoarfrost boulders. Colin and I decided to climb in the Sun for a change and visited the Rjukan town centre crags, discretion was the order of the day however when a couple of tonnes of ice came down a few hundred metres from our line.
Day 6 saw a brief visit to the upper gorge for Dave, Al and I whilst Colin demonstrated he hadn't forgotten how to Ski in over the last 12 years. In the afternoon we made a visit to Krokan, the areas main ice cragging area where Thomas experienced his first ice climb Bullen WI3, the area classic.
The final day saw a beautiful dawn and a return visit to Rjukan Town Centre area to have a go at Tjonnstadbergfossen (***WI4) - this was a great climb with very delicate climbing on pitch 3, a great way to finish a superb holiday.
This turned out to be a very harmonious and enjoyable holiday proving that it is in fact possible to mix children and a fantastic winter playground. Everybody on the trip was great company and I won't hesitate to recommend this trip to anyone, in fact, we have booked again for 2009:
Flying out on Friday 13th of February and returning on Sunday the 22nd, flight costs £30 each way plus taxes and baggage costs. And the Sales might be on!
Accommodation circa £100 /person /week. Hire car £350 / 9 days.
We still have one place available in the hut we have booked and there is a high likelihood that there will be other smaller huts available, we have booked a 4 person one for 2 in the past. Don't forget that there is a Ski resort if you don't want to climb... That's where Sue will be and it is a lovely relative small resort with a max queue for ski lifts of 5 witnessed last year.
Give yourselves an early New Year present and book for a fabulous winter trip. Contact me if you want more information.
Members of the group were:
- Al 'clean plate' Metelko
- Thomas 'black eye' Marsden
- Susan 'Cross Country babe' Marsden
- Phoebe 'balletic' Marsden
- Roisin 'bullet' Maddison
- Dave 'Thumper' Lygate
- Colin ' What do I do with the Spare Axe / Icharus?' Maddison
- Craig 'elegance and grace' Marsden (I wonder who wrote this?)
Fed up with variable Scottish conditions and poor if any ice, want virtually guaranteed conditions with a maximum of an hour and a half walk or as little as 2 minutes, want a choice of some 175 ice routes then Rjukan in Southern Norway may well be the place for you.
Rjukan is fast becoming the ice climbing mecca with cheap and easy flights from the UK and a long climbing season.
The area around Rjukan has a very wide range of climbing available from single pitch climbing at Krokan with any from WI2 through to M10 (dry tooling heaven if that's your thing!) oh and some top roping but we won't say to much about that, the fantastic Fabrikfossen 5 pitches of easy WI 2 with a further 2 of WI3 directly above Rjukan and the 800m waterfall of Gausta giving a 17 pitch "marathon".
Rjukan is a fantastic place to try out ice climbing, it may be possible to hire gear out there. There are definitely options to hire guides for tuition including gear hire, but again not sure of the prices.
There is also a Ski area where skis and such can be rented (alpine and cross country, see website www.gaustablikk.no), an 800mm toboggan run for the inner child, a swimming pool to relax those tired muscles, the Vemork musuem for those people who like war time history.
Ryanair fly out from Liverpool, current prices:
|Day Date Depart Arrive Price|
|Friday 8th Feb 18.35 21.25 £14.99|
|Sunday 10th Feb 12.05 14.55 £ 9.99|
|Monday 11th Feb 18.35 21.25 £49.99|
|Wednesday 13th Feb 18.35 21.25 £ 9.99|
|Monday 11th Feb 21.50 22.45 £ 9.99|
|Wednesday 13th Feb 21.50 22.45 £ 9.99|
|Friday 15th Feb 21.50 22.45 £39.99|
|Sunday 17th Feb 15.20 16.15 £14.99|
Various companies: Norway Direct, SIXT, Nova, National.
Anything from £250 to £420 car and company dependent (for some examples see me)
Wooden huts are the main form.
Some directly in town:
Rjukan Hytteby. (although appeared to be full when I e mailed, but they do have a motel). Link: www.rjukan-hytteby.no.
Hut for 5 people max, NKr 1050 / night, NKr 5400 / week (£95, £490)
Nearest to shops, bars, swimming and café within walking distance (but do you want to be that close to the bars).
Rjukan Hytte og Caravanpark. Link: www.rjukanhytte.com
Various sized cabins:
|No of sleeping rooms Sleeps max Price/Cabin/night|
|Olabu 1 4 520NKr|
|Gaustasyn 2 5 1000NKr|
|Spelemannstogo 2 8 1125NKr *|
*(I have booked this and there are currently Sue + kids, Colin + Roisin and myself in this one at a push might fit two in but there would not be much room for stuff).
Rough exchange rate is 11Kr:£
There is a hostel, but not sure of prices.
There are also cabins up at the ski area, about 7Km outside of town.
See www.rgg.no (but you will need to be conversant with Norwegian)
some pictures to wet your appetites!