We made our first outing to the Upper Gorge today to climb Rjukanfossen (WI4). A group was already at the base of the route so we opted to climb the centre of the icefall rather than wait to start from the normal left-hand side. I ran the 60m ropes out to full length, and then some, in order to reach a cave belay on the right-hand side at 2/3 height. The ice was uncharacteristically "Scottish" compared to other routes climbed this week with fluctuating ice quality. At one point I realised the ice beneath me was only a couple of inches thick, beneath which was running water.
|Leading the first pitch|
Stewart joined me at the belay. Rather than continue up the main icefall it looked more fun to climb into the back of the cave from where a tiny exit emerged back onto the icefall higher up. For a big chap it was a 'bold' decision as I only just fitted through with lots of wriggling. The snow became very deep in the final few metres before the top and I was left scratching amongst ice and large boulders in order to find the route exit. I belayed in a foot deep bucket seat at the top of the route. Awesome day.
|Climbing into the cave|