We may not be able to travel in reality this winter, but we thought that through our virtual Norway ice climbing 2021 account we could at least keep the travel and adventure dream alive. Maybe it might also provide the inspiration for you to join us next winter. If so, details on our Norway trips are detailed on our overseas adventures pages here. Even if Norway isn’t on your agenda, we at least hope it is a fun way to see what one of our trips looks like.
In a normal year, we’d just be heading off on our annual Norway Ice Climbing trips. As everyone is well aware, this is not a normal year! Still, we will all be looking forward to brighter times and great adventures ahead. So, we thought it would be nice to use some photos from past years to take a journey through some of our previous trips. So, a very warm (or very cold!) welcome to Virtual Norway Ice Climbing 2021. Over the next week we’ll share some new snaps each day. It will give you a flavour of what our ice weeks entail and, if you want some adventures to look towards for next winter, we might be able to entice you with what to expect.
We have been visiting Rjukan for many years and last year also added Hemsedal. This year we also had plans for a visit to Oppdal and that will also be on offer next year. So, with no further ado, here’s what one of our ice weeks looks like. We have focussed here in Rjukan and will look at Hemsedal later.
Our teams travel from all over the UK and so we typically meet up in Oslo airport and then take the journey in to the mountains. Both Rjukan and Hemsedal are just a few hours drive from Oslo. It’s a simple enough transfer and weaves through some glorious countryside. As the photo captions below show, you are immediately aware you are somewhere very different and very very wintry!
Usually, it’s early to bed on the first night and early out of the door on the first climbing day. Rjukan has many venues and we’ll always select according to the conditions. However, a popular first day choice is the single pitch venue of Krokan. This has a 10 minute walk in and offers a superb selection of climbs suitable for all experience levels. It’s a great intro to Norwegian ice climbing. We hope you enjoy this sample of photos showing the kind of things on offer.
The thing that makes our Norway ice climbing trips so special is the people that join us. It feels very special to make a self contained unit for the trip and spend time climbing and relaxing with each other. So, today we wanted to celebrate some of the people that have joined us over the last few years.
There are certainly gaps here and we apologise to anyone we’ve left out. We should also say that many of these people have joined our Norway trips but climbed or journeyed with us in other places too. We love the friendships we form and the bonds our course participants form with each other. Hopefully you will enjoy meeting a few of the team.
Our Norway Ice Climbing trips are all about development. We get people with very varied experience levels and we love that. Some people are beginner climbers and some are very experienced. Some are in between. It doesn’t matter. Rjukan offers opportunities for everybody and we operate on extremely low ratios of 2 climbers to 1 instructor. No matter where people start, we move people on a long way.
Today we wanted to highlight that progression. Progression onto multi-pitch climbs and progression to leading.
We are already on day 5 of our Virtual Norway Ice Climbing 2021 tour and it is time to relax. That’s because midway through our Norway trips we schedule a rest day. This allows some rest for tired arms and it also allows team members to explore the area. The Rjukan area is steeped in the wartime history of the wartimes raids on Hitler’s heavy water plant, but also offers for plenty of outdoor adventures. There is also a lovely swimming pool complex which offers, alongside gym and swimming facilities, also offers a sauna and wonderful outdoor hot tubs. Here’s a selection of popular rest day activities.
As Rjukan lies in the base of a deep sided valley. This means it enjoys very little sun during the winter months. The answer? Erect some huge mirrors on the hillside to channel the magic rays into the centre square of the village. We wrote about this innovative engineering project here. Needless to say, after a few days in the shade, many team members enjoy paying homage to this unique Rjukan feature.
Rjukan lies on the edge of the stunning Hardangervidda Plateau. It is well worth a visit during a stay in the area. Even better, the superb Hardangervidda National Park Centre is a great place to learn about this wilderness area and to appreciate the surroundings. The staff are also incredibly friendly and they serve wonderful coffee!
The history of Rjukan is wrapped around its wartime history. Hitler’s occupying troops were intent on producing heavy water. This was to play a vital part in his atomic weapons programme and it was essential the allies halted his production capability. This led to the incredible war time raids and we told this story in our Heroes of Telemark story here.
On the original site of the heavy water plant there is now a superb museum and many team members take the chance to visit during their stay in Norway. It is well worth the visit.
Above Rjukan there is a great ski area and many team members have enough energy to hit the slopes for the day. If you do, you’ll enjoy beautifully maintained and very quiet slopes. There are also local opportunities for cross country skiing and snow shoeing. Details on the Gausta Ski Area are here.
There aren’t many outdoor shops in Rjukan, but the ones that are there offer everything a visiting climber might need. The photo shows Graham enjoying his toasty new Bergans down jacket.
Of course, some team members like to enjoy a Norwegian beverage or two. No alcohol is cheap in Norway, but you are on holiday!
No matter what everyone has been up to on their rest day, our evening ritual is that the team join together to enjoy a fine meal together. This is a real highlight of our Norway trips and it is great to share stories from everyone’s day. Whether it is the rosy faces of the skiers or the relaxed smiles of those that had focussed on cultural activities, it is time to enjoy each others company.
Please do join us for day 6 of our Virtual Norway Ice Climbing 2021 tour tomorrow. We are onto some steep ice again.