Expanding the toolbox: Ice climbing

One of my highest goals in life is to be in the position where I can say “yes” to every kind of adventure. Regardless of when, where and how, I want to know that I have the experience and knowledge to manage the risk involved to a level where I can enjoy the adventure. You can't get enough experience, but you can reach a point where you can safely explore your limits and gradually push the border of your comfort zone.

 

In order to become the all rounder I want to be, and to be a truly versatile adventurer, I need to constantly seek out my weak areas to develop my skill set. I had just tried ice climbing once before

in Nepal, so my technical ice skills and my ability to negotiate steep, icy terrain were pretty limited. I decided it was time to step up the game!

 

In the beginning of January, Andreas, Chris and I packed our gear and drove out to a waterfall named Hvalsberget, partly to build skill and confidence in technical outdoor climbing and in the use of ice tools and partly to spend time as a team in preparation for Denali.

 

Aside from practicing the techniques for climbing steep ice, I also drilled (no pun intended) the routines for placing protection and anchors by using ice screws. To really trust your own protection is a big barrier to cross for any novice, and I was really happy to feel the progression as I was climbing, so by the end of the day I was way more comfortable on the wall than when I started out. It was a quite crowded day on the waterfall, and we got to hang out with a couple of teams with more experience than us, which was good. Remember to stay humble and always be eager to learn from your superiors!

My equipment

  • Ice axes: Edelrid Rage

  • Crampons: Black Diamond Contact

  • Helmet: Petzl Elios

  • Rope: Mammut Galaxy Superdry 10mm x 60m

  • Boots: LaSportiva Olympus Mons EVO

  • Down jacket: Everest Hardwear

  • Shell jacket: Arc'teryx Alpha SV

  • Harness: Black Diamond Momentum DS

  • On my rack: HSM carabiner, belay device, 2 x ice screws, 2 x extendable slings, lanyard, 60cm sling and 120cm sling.

Location

We were climbing at Hvalsberget near Skedsmo, a 25-30 minute drive from the Oslo city center. You can also easily reach the location by public transportation. Take bus #331 from Oslo S to Flatner (about 40 minutes). The ice is only about 100 meters from the bus stop.

 

Conditions

  • The ice was quite hard and brittle after a sustained period of very cold temperatures

  • -8°C

  • Periods of quite heavy snow fall

 

 

 

 

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