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

Sunday, 16 February 2014

Norway 2014 Day 2 - First climb

We spent today exploring the area. We were cheered to find a sign at the roundabout outside Aurlandsvangen saying that the road to Hol was now open again. All the ice in Lower Aurlandsdalen was in poor condition - melting fast. The steeper falls are literally collapsing. But as we drove east up the valley up the road grew more wintry as temperatures dropped with the gain in altitude. The icefalls from Stonndalen eastward looked in much better nick.
We followed the Hol road as far as Strandavatnet, a frozen lake high on the Central Norwegian plateau which we'd dubbed the Magic Lake. The map shows very steep contours on the north side of the lake, above which sit lochans, so it had looked a likely location for good climbing. But it was not to be - massive long cliffs were there aplenty but without a single drainage line in sight.
So we turned back and drove back down the valley, parked up just by the road to the left of the western exit of Berdalstunnelen, and climbed a 50m WI4 in Stonndalen.
This was our first ice since Easter 2013 but, apart from over-gripping the axes somewhat (and consequently getting our forearms more pumped than was necessary) we got back into the swing of it fairly quickly.
From there we drove down to Flåm, thence climbed the little road up Flåmsdalen. More melting ice. A bit depressing.
Tomorrow we are going to drive further afield, to the higher end of Råsdalen (if the road allows), upper Lærdalen and possibly to Hemsdal. One of those is sure to offer good climbing.
60.907° N, 7.1862° E

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