"A word on the spot is worth a cartload of recollections"
James Maggs, Southwold diarist 1797-1890

Thursday, 20 February 2014

Day 3 - Hemsedal

We were so keen to find some good ice that we set our alarms for very early, so early in fact that we found ourselves entering Hemsedal, after a drive of an hour and a half.
A dreamlike cavern in the 25km road tunnel between Aurland and Lærdal, on the way to Hemsedal

Initial impressions of Hemsedal was that the ice wasn't as plentiful as in other valleys, but as we searched we found some options. We opted for a couple of easily accessible single pitch WI4 climbs just east of the E16 behind Hemsedal Sentrum, Haugsfossen and Indre Haugsfoss. Nice climbing, particularly Haugsfossen, and I finally felt my climbing beginning to flow.

Haugsfossen WI4

It was odd seeing another team on the ice there - we've been spoiled by the two 3-week trips in the North, where didn't bump into any other climbers. 

Hemsedal feels completely different, unsurprisingly as it's a major winter sports destination within striking distance from Olso. A Ski resort requires hotels, gear shops and cafés. But I'm not complaining: it was a change, we did some good climbing and we identified destinations for another 3 days, including a massive icefall called Hydnefossen which, if we manage to climb it, will probably be the highlight of the trip: 160m of vertical WI5, a great wide curtain of ice with a beast of a walk-in.
On the way back we spotted big lines in upper Lærdalen, too. So things are looking up.

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