Posts Tagged ‘climbing’

GUIDING FRENDO SPUR AND OTHER THINGS IN CHAMONIX

Since start of September I’ve been in Chamonix, mostly working. The weather has been good except of the days when I’ve not been working.
I had two regular clients, Erik and Richart, for 8 days in start of September. We did various things, but the most memorable was guiding Frendo Spur in the north face of Aiguille du Midi with Erik. Frendo is a bit bigger objective than what I usually guide, but with a regular client that I knew well, it did not fell that big. We had good conditions and used 8h30 from Refuge Plan du Aiguille to the top, 7h on the route. The other days was varied with rock climbing in the sun in Aiguilles Rouges, a day on Aiguille du Moine and two days on the Tacul Triangle.
Except of the guiding I’ve not done much in the mountains, theres been some rock climbing (and ice cream eating) in Italy and trail running in Chamonix. Now I’ll have a week in Norway before I go down to France again to spend most of October there.

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CLIMBING COURSE AND GUIDING IN HURRUNGANE

 

A few pictures from the last two weeks of work. Two weeks with climbing course with the Norwegian military academy in Hemsedal and guiding in Hurrungane in the weekends.

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GUIDING MATTERHORN

The day after summiting Matterhorn with Karine I started a new 5-day Matterhorn program with Ståle. The first day we climbing on the south face of Riffelhorn before we walked over to Hotel Flualp at 2620m. The next morning we hoped to climb Rimpfischhorn (4199m). We started in rain at night and the weather did not look to promising, but it was not to bad either. We summited in some wind, but on the descent it started snowing and the wind increased. It continued to snow/rain for the rest of the day and night. On day 3 we planed to do the full Breithorn traverse, but after all the snowfall the previous day we ended up doing only the half-traverse. On day 4 we walked up to the Hörnli hut, the weather was good and the hut was full. The next day it was a really busy day on Matterhorn. Conditions was good, but we had to wear crampons from approximately 3850m. We summited quite early and did not meet the worst queue before we were on the fixed ropes on the descent. Below are some pictures from the whole week.

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GUIDING IN CHAMONIX AND MATTERHORN

The last weeks I’ve been in the Alps guiding. From July 21.-26. I was guiding Karine on a Matterhorn program. First we had 4 beautiful days i Chamonix doing Aiguille du Moine, the Midi-Plan Traverse and the Cosmique Ridge. Then we traveled to Switzerland and Zermatt. There we walked up to the Hörnli Hut and on July 26. we climbed Matterhorn. It was a good day on Matterhorn, weather was perfect, conditions were quite good and it was not to much people. Below are some pictures from the whole week.

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NORTIND CLIMBING COURSE

Last week I was one of the instructor on a climbing course for NORTIND – the Norwegian IFMGA guide scheme.  We had a varied week with some rescue training a lot of theory around personality and leadership, but mostly we were climbing. We did routes on Bispen, Vengetind, Romsdalshorn and Klaua and we also did some sport climbing and bouldering.

Below is some pictures.

 


NORTIND GLACIER COURSE

On May 3rd til 10th I was in Jostedalen in Sogn working with the guide-training for NORTIND (Norske Tindevegledere). NORTIND is the Norwegian mountain guide association and we educate guides to become IFMGA/UIAGM/IVBV certified guide. This was a glacier course for the group who started in 2011. Andreas Haslestad, Jostein AAsen and I was the instructors.
Learn more about NORTIND here.

Below is pictures from a week on the glacier. After all, glacier is not so bad when the weather is good.

PLAN CHANGED!

For various reasons I haven’t updated this blog for a long time. I wish I could say it’s because I’ve been busy climbing, because that was the plan. But the truth is that I haven’t done any climbing at all the last two months. Things does’t always go as planed even if everything is perfectly planed. And there was a perfect plan. At least what I consider a perfect plan. I was almost finished working for the summer and was looking forward to three and a half months of climbing and later some skiing. Norway, England, Alps, Patagonia and then Norway again. But the plan changed!
In early September I started to feel pain in my left knee. To make a long story short, I’ve got a runners knee. Nothing serious, but as long as I can’t run or walk long downhill descents it very serious for me. And then, being in Chamonix some weeks later, planing to climb some cool alpine routes, we changed the plan and went to Arco for rock climbing instead. And there, on the first route the very first day it said SNAP in my left middle finger. It hurt a lot and the finger got swollen immediately. Fu$&!! And the worst thing, it was on a really easy route, I had been warming up on much harder routes home in Norway the weeks before. But that didn’t help, I still got a pulley rupture.
Back in Norway some days later the knee was still hurting and I decided not to go to Patagonia. Feeling really bad, mostly because I left Trym without a partner, but also because I really had been looking forward to climb with Trym again and to do it in the coolest mountains on this planet.
So what have I been doing? Not much. Going to a physiotherapist every week. Easy training for my knee and surrounding muscles. And stretching. A lot of stretching. And I’ve worked really hard to be something that I’m not – patient. And it helps – slowly I’m getting better.

Below is a few pictures from Lofoten and in Peak District in September. I was in Lofoten for 10 days, being one of the instructors for the rock-climbing course in the Norwegian guide training program (NORTIND). Working on this courses is really fun and interesting work. After Lofoten I traveled directly to Peak District in England for a few days to visit my sponsor RAB and to climb on Gritstone.

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MATTERHORN VIDEO

Here’s a short movie from me guiding the Hörnli ridge on Matterhorn Aug. 24. with Erik Stordal.

 


ALPS SUMMER 2011

Sunrise on summit of Mont Blanc. We are already on the way down

The last three weeks I’ve been guiding in the Alps. First in Chamonix with two 6 days Mont Blanc programs. Then I moved to Zermatt to guide Matterhorn. Unfortunately I did not get any climbing done on my own. The weather and conditions were really good for most of my stay, but it was raining hard on all my days off. Below is pictures from acclimatization on both Mont Blanc weeks and from summit days on Mont Blanc and Matterhorn. First time on Matterhorn we started from Tête Rousse hut and climbed the Goûter route up and The Three Monts route down. The second time, we also did the traverse, but this time starting from Cosmiques Hut and climbed Three Monts up and Goûter down. On Matterhorn we climbed Hornli both up and down.

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SUMMER IS WORK

Jens Stoltenberg and me on Romsdalshorn

 

Long time since last post so here’s a short update. After I came home from Alaska I’ve been working in the western part of Norway. Mostly guiding and some climbing courses; in Hurrungane and Romsdalen. My most memorable day was in mid July when I guided the Norwegian Prime Minister, Jens Stoltenberg, to the summit of Romsdalshorn. It was a beautiful day, clouds down low and perfect blue sky up high. The Prime Minister was impressively fit and climbed well for being such a busy man.

Recently I’ve been working with the Norwegain military academy in Hemsedal, teaching them how to climb. In between two courses with them I had four good days in Hurrungane, guiding long ridge traverses. Doing Skagastølsryggen, Smørstabbtraversen and Austadbotntindtraversen x 2 in four days made me really tired, specially since it was the rest days in between the work withe the army. But guiding 1:1 with fit clients on nice climbs like this is fun and I really enjoyed it.

Now I have two days off and I fly to the Alps tomorrow – guiding Mont Blanc and Matterhorn, but hopefully, also a climb or two on my own.


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EXPRESS-ALPINISM FAILS IN ALASKA

Starting on Hunter

 

I’m just back from a climbing trip with American Colin Haley to the Central Alaska range. When we left, we had a lot of different objectives in mind and ambitious plans. We ended up without doing any of the bigger climbs we had hoped for, but nevertheless, we had a good trip. Our main objectives was to climb the North Buttress of Mt. Hunter and the Cassin ridge on Denali. We wanted to climb both as fast as possible, hopefully faster than it had ever been done before.

Colin updated his blog some days ago with words and pictures, check it out HERE. He’s not as lazy as me and has a more complete report. He’s english is a lot better also 😉

Here’s my quick resume of the trip:

We flew on to the glacier on May 12. and after some days of acclimatizing around base camp we climbed the 1200 meter high Deprivation on the north buttress of Hunter in just 9 hours, but never summited. When we toped out the final ice band it started to snow hard. We sat in a crevasse for some hours hoping for better weather, but it just got worse. We had no bivi gear and bailed, abseiling 30 or so abseils in very bad spindrift through the night.

After that we moved up on Denali, acclimatizing from 14.000 camp. We had skis so we did a bunch of skiing, often in good snow. We summited Denali twice, first climbing the Upper West Rib. Later we climbed up the Orient Express with skis and skied from the summit and down the Orient. Conditions were ok, but the snow was very hard in the upper half of the Orient.

After that it snowed a bunch and time started to run out. When the weather finally got better we decided to try Cassin. We knew there would be a lot of fresh snow on the route and if we had more time we would have waited for the snow to settle, but we didn’t. Conditions on the Seattle 71 ramp approach and in the Japanese Couloir were super good, but after that it was just snow, snow and more snow. When we got to the top of the third rock band we were so tiered that we decided to bail. We traversed the upper part of the south-west face back to the upper west rib and down to camp. A few days later, on June 21., we flew out of the range, Colin back to Seattle and me home to Norway.

Below there is a lot of pictures from the trip, click on images to see larger versions.


LES DROITES AGAIN, EIGER AGAIN and LES DROITES SOLO

Me close to the summit of Droites. Photo: Colin

I’ve never been very creative and I think the last two weeks of climbing proves that.

Colin and me wanted to do a link-up of the north faces of Les Droites and Grandes Jorasses. This ment taking skies, stove and food for day two up and down the Droites. It’s not that many routes in conditions on the north face and since we wanted to go to the true summit we ended up on Messner again. The conditions was, as last time, very good and we soloed the first half of the face and climbed the rest in three long pitches. We started from first lift and did’t rush since our backpacks were heavy and we wanted to save some energy for the next day, but we summited after a little more than 6 hours on the face. On the descent, experiencing really bad snow conditions we decided to change plans and not go for the Jorasses the next day. We feared that the snow would be as bad and dangerous on the Italian of Jorasses. Instead of going to the Leschaux hut we skied to the Charpoua winter hut. The next day, without kowing much about the peak or how to get there we set of to climb Aig. de Triolet. The attempt ended on a false summit witch we should have traversed around on the north. Non of us were keen on not catching the last train from Montenvers so we called it a day and skied home.

Colin was super psyched on climbing the north face of Eiger and asked me if I wanted to climb it with him. Immediately after climbing Eiger in February I didn’t think I would even consider climbing it again. But on the other hand, the north face of Eiger is one of the most impressive feathers in the Alpes, so I couldn’t say no to such a opportunity either. We new that conditions was good after almost a week of good weather and traveled to Switzerland on April 9. We hoped for a fast ascents and planed to start climbing at fist light around 6. It was weekend and I conditions has been pretty good on Eiger all winter so we were not the only one on the face. All together we saw 8 other teams on the face, unfortunately most of them started before us.

We started climbing at 06.15 and soloed up to just before the Difficult crack where we had to wait for a while on another team. Colin led it and and climbed a little further to pass the team in front of us. I took over and climbed one very long pitch until the start of the ramp. We brought a lot of slings witch made it possible to simul-climb a lot. On this pitch we past 4(!) teams before the 2. ice field. Colin led the Ramp to the top of the Waterfall pitch in two pitches before I continued all the way to the gullies above the Spider. We climbed that in two pitches and I made a belay just below the Quarts crack. From there, Colin took us to the summit witch we reached at 14.00. We rested and hydrated for a little while before we down climbed the south-west flank. The descent was straight forward and we were back at Eigergletscher 11 hours after we started.

Back in Chamonix, Colin been busy with the Piolets d’Or the last days and I’ve been without a partner. But the weather has been a bit on and off and I also had a sore throat so I have not got much climbing done. But yesterday I headed up in the Argentier basin again to do a climb thats been on my mind for a long time. Last year I climbed the Ginat in the North face of Les Droites with Colin on dry conditions. This year, conditions been very good and it was time to climb it by myself. I started from the first lift and crossed the bergschround around 10. After the snowfall the last week there were quite much snow on the lower part of the route. What earlier this year (when climbing Messner) had been perfect neve and easy to climb, was now covered in snow. So, to climb it as safe as I wanted I had to move slow and be careful on each move. But on the steeper, upper part of the route conditions were better and I could enjoy the climbing. The crux was, as normal, the last steep part just before the snow couloir on top. I finished at the Breches des Droites and raped down the south side from there. I climbed with skis on my backpack so I could get down on the south side as easy as possible. The skiing down Glacier de Telefre was fun and I was on Montenvers in time to catch the 16.00 train.

Easter will be spent skitouring in the Alpes. Tomorrow I start another Haute Route from Chamonix to Zermatt. Weather forecast looks good – or maybe not for the skiing – sunny for one week.

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BACK IN CHAMONIX – SKI, CLIMB, WORK

Nils climbing in the Alpes. Photo by Colin Haley

On March 10, after two weeks of work with the Norwegian military academy, I was back in Chamonix. I was excited to start with two weeks of skiing and climbing with friends before starting the Haute Route season. The first week the weather was not the best – warm foehn wind and some snow so we ended up with skiing and climbing at the gym in Les Houches. On the 15, Colin Haley arrived, our plan was to climb and ski as much as possible together to get fit for our upcoming Alaska trip in May/June.

After some snowfall we started with some skitouring in the Argentier basin. The best day was definately skiing the normal route (west) on Aiguille d’ Argentier with Colin and Morgan Sahlen on March 20. Some days later we tried to climb the Frendo Spur in the north face of Midi, but bailed low on the route after battling with some of the worst snow conditions any of us had ever experienced – we couldn’t even get up to the steeper part of the route.

On March 23, we climbed the north face of Les Droites starting from the first lift. Last year we climbed Le Ginat together, but now we wanted to climb something that would take us to the top of the mountain, not just to the Breche des Droites. We did the Messner Route and like the other two times we climbed Les Droites we “descended” by climbing the west ridge of Le Courtes and down the northeast to our skis in the Argentier basin. We found a much better way down Droites than earlier and did not loose to much elevation before going up the west ridge of Courtes. And I think that this is by far the easiest way to get off the mountain, specially when it’s a lot of snow and as long as you don’t climb with your skis on the pack, which is no fun anyway.

On the 25, we climbed the Coutrier on Aiguille Verte – one of my favorite summits in the Alpes. We hoped to ski the Whymper on the south side, but conditions were really bad. Colin took a few turns while I did’t even take on my skis in the couloir.

The next day I started guiding Haute Route from Chamonix to Saas Fee. One week of mostly good weather, but not so good snow. We did the normal Verbier variant but never got to Saas Fee. The last day we had a ski tour in Zermatt.

Back in Chamonix, after one day of rest, Colin and me had a mellow day in the Argentier basin by simul-soloing the Swiss route on Les Courtes. Both of us had soloed the route before, but now we could both enjoy the freedom of climbing without a rope and the fun of climbing with a partner. The route was in perfect condition and the climb took us around 2 hours from bergschround to summit. As usual, we down climbed the northeast back to our skis and were back in Chamonix in early afternoon. Another perfect day in the mountains.

There’s been mostly good weather since and we been climbing a lot, but more about that later.


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EIGER DREAMS

Eiger seen from Kleine Scheidegg

Eiger and it’s 1800meter high north face is one of the most impressive features in the Alpes. The drama prior to the first ascent, all the impressive routes and all the books and movies made about it, both documentaries and fiction, has made Eiger one of the best known mountain in the world. The first ascent route from July 1938 by Anderl Heckmair, Ludwig Vörg, Heinrich Harrer and Fritz Kasparek is the most famous and most climbed route in the Nordwand.

I’ve wanted to climb the Eigerwand by its classic route for very long, simply because I’ve read and heard so much about the wall. It’s one of those mountains you just cant get out of your head. Same as for the Trollwall in Norway, witch I still haven’t climbed. Not yet.

I traveled to the Alpes on February 8. knowing that the Alpes hadn’t had any big snowfalls for a long time and that conditions on many of the big alpine faces was good. I received a mail from my Grindelwald friend Andreas the same same day as I left, saying conditions was good on Eiger. And flying into Geneva in good weather I had a perfect view straight onto the Eigerwand. I couldn’t wait to climb it, just needed to find a partner.

I had two days of acclimatization in Chamonix first – soloing a easy route on the Tacul Triangle to the summit of Mont Blanc du Tacul and the next day, soloing Fil a Plumb in the north face of Midi/Col du Plan. I was living in the same apartment as Ole Kristian Nytrøen and when I started talking about Eiger he was of course keen. Ole is one of very few young Norwegians who are keen on alpine climbing and he was the perfect partner for Eiger.

We slept comfy inside the Eigergletscher station the night before the climb and started just before 03.00 on February 12. And the climb went quite smooth. Conditions was very good with tracks on the snowfields, sometimes to much. In the dark, we had a hard time finding the Difficult crack because we followed the wrong tracks… Except for the 4 (or so) crux’s pitches we mostly simul-climbed and summited a little more than 12 hours after we started climbing. Not to bad, but still more than 4 times longer then the Swiss machine Ueli Steck. We descended the west face and made it back to Eigergletscher in a 15 hours roundtrip. We then walked back to Grindelwald and drove back to Chamonix the same night, making it a really long day. Modern alpinism – sleeping comfy, going light and fast and making it back home for a beer. Today we climb much faster than the pioneers and that might seems very impressive, but we are just lacy and sissies compered to the climbers who pioneered this big faces back in the golden age of alpinism.

The Eigerwand has been called “an obsession for the mentally deranged” and maybe it is? But the only way to get healed was to climb it. And in the process I got an adventure into alpine climbing history and a fantastic alpine terrain.

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WORK AND SOME FUN

Bjørn Kruse on Kjørlifossen


January and first part of February I’ve been in Norway. Working quite a bit, but also been skiing and climbing with friends. I’ve had to nice weekends skiing with clients in Romsdalen, the rest of the time I’ve been in the eastern parts of Norway – Rjukan, Hemsedal and Lærdal for ice climbing – mostly work. Below you can see some pictures from the ice climbing.

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PRIVAT GUIDING – CUSTUM CLIMBS IN THE ALPS

Situated in the middle of Europe, there’s no where else in the world where you have so easy access to spectacular mountains. The Alps is said to be the birthplace of modern mountaineering and alpinism, and it offers easy routes for beginners and steeper, longer and more demanding routes for highly skilled mountaineers. And everything in between.
Do you have special route or mountain you want to climb? Or do you just want to climb and experience the mountains with a private guide? The Alps is a perfect place to experience and learn more about mountaineering. The lifts and the huts makes access easy and we can travel with light backpacks and focus on the climbing.
For most climbs in the Alps you need at least 1 or 2 days of acclimatization before the routes, and for the bigger routes on the highest peaks you should have 3-4 days. On this days we do interesting climbs that prepare us for the route we’re aboute to climb.

Below you can see a list of peaks and routes from different areas. The list shows just some of the routes I guide, please contact me if you want more information. I customize programs for you!

Mont Blanc Range – France:
Mont Blanc – Normal routes, Bionnassay or Innominata Route (from Italy)
Mont Maudit – Normal Route or Kuffner ridge
Mont Blanc du Tacul
Aiguille Du Midi – Cosmiques Ridge or Frendo Spur
Dent du Geant
Aiguille de Rochefort – Rochefort Ridge
Tour Ronde – North face, Gervasitti or South ridge
Midi-Plan Traverse
Aiguille du Chardonnet – Forbes Ridge
Aiguille Verte – Whymper Couloir (south) or Couturier (north)
Les Courtes – Travers
Grandes Jorasses – Traverse or Normal route

Wallis/Vallee – Switzerland:
Matterhorn – Hörnli Ridge or Zmutt Ridge
Monte Rosa – Normal Route
Weissmies – Normal Route or South Ridge(Traverse)
Breithorn – Normal Route or Half/Full traverse
Pollux
Castor
Weisshorn

Berner Oberland – Switzerland
Eiger – Mittellegi or South ridge
Mönch – Southeast or Southwest Ridge
Jungfrau – Normal route

Bernina/Engadine – Switzerland
Piz Badile – North Ridge or North Face (Cassin)
Piz Bernina – Biancograt
Piz Palu
Piz Morteratsch
______________________________________________

Duration: You decide 
When: June to end of September
Difficulties: All levels
Ratio: 1:1 or 2:1 depending on route

Price from: 
NOK 3.500,- per person pr day
(Price includes IFMGA mountain guide, all expenses for your guide and climbing equipment)

BOOKING OR MORE INFO


PATAGONIA – Nov/Des 2010

Torre Summits

In early November, Ole Lied and I traveled to Chalten in Argentinean Patagonia hoping for good weather and a lot of climbing. But both of us knew that Patagonia is just as famous for it high winds and bad weather as for its good climbing.

We arrived in the end of a good weather window and carried all our gear into the Torre valley in perfect weather. We wanted to try Exocet on Cerro Standhardt, a classic ice/mix route on the easiest of the Torre summits. The next day the weather was not so good and wind was almost blowing us out of balance on the first mix pitches from Standhardt Col. The ramp was in the shade of the wind and we moved quite fast in good conditions. In the chimney the spindrift was constant but ice was good and we made steady progress. The chimney is narrow and its almost impossible to hide from ice falling from the leader. On pitch three of the chimney Ole was leading and was almost at the next belay when one big chunk of ice hit me. Everything was black for some seconds and my head and neck hurt like hell. My helmet was smashed and we decided to go home, to bad since we had done most of the hard climbing, but the only smart thing to do. The next day we walked back to Chalten in rain and wind.

The next weeks we tried to climb some routes but weather was mostly bad. We “missed” one good weather window when we started to early and turned back (did’t get far) in a bad storm, just to wake up in the tent again some hours later to perfect weather. We climbed Todo O Nada, a easy ice route on El Mocho. Its did’t feel right to be on a route like that in such good weather when we should have been climbing on one of the bigger peaks. The same day Colin was the first to solo Exocet (very impressive!) and Bjørn-Eivind and Robert also climbed Exocet.

Back in Chalten we did our best to make the days fly by. Bouldering, sport climbing, running, hiking, eating big Argentinean stakes and tasting the Vino Tinto. But not necessarily in that order…

Just before we went home we climbed Whillans-Cochrane route on Aguja Poincenot, one of the most majestic summits in the Fitz Roy massif. The weather was quite good, but the wind was high all day and although the climbing never is hard it was hard enough for us that day, we did everything in big boots and with gloves. It was good to get one real summit before we went home to celebrate Christmas in Norway.

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Grandes Jorasses – Colton/MacIntyre

Grand Jorasses seen from Le Courtes, March 2010

After a long summer with to much work it was nice to finally finish the guiding season in september. But back home in Norway I just wanted to go back to the Alps for some alpine climbing. Big snowfalls in august could make the north faces would come in early this year. And it’s so easy to be a alpinist today, specially for climbing in the Alps, just google the routes you want to do and hopefully you get a fresh trip report. As expected – the Grandes Jorasses was in!

After a while I convinced Steinar Grynning to come with me and we arrived in Chamonix in early October to perfect weather. We started acclimatization by climbing a route from the Cunningham Couloir and up to the Cosmiques Ridge. The next day we climbed a route on the Tacule Triangle and to the summit.

Ever since the first time I saw the huge north face of Grandes Jorasses, after skiing the Breche Puiseux, I’ve wanted to climb the Jorasses. And last year I finally did by climbing Slovenien route to Croz spur with Eiliv Ruud. But Colton-Mac is the real deal, a awesome line, so I knew had to do that one also.

We packed and planed to take the train to Montenvers, but showing up at the station around mid day we couldn’t believe what we saw – the train finished for the season YESTERDAY. FU%&! After 5 minutes discussion we decided to take the Midi lift and traverse from the Plan de l`Aguille to the Montenvers. It took us some time, but not to bad and we were at the Leschaux hut around 18.00. With a early start we crossed the bergschround in the dark and started up what felt like endless ice slopes. But conditions were good and we found nevee most of the way. We roped up in the middle of the first narrow section and climbed one looong pitch to the ice crux. The deal was that Steinar should take the ice and I should take the headwall. The ice crux says grade 6 in the guidebook. It was not as steep as expected, but one good piece of gear in 30 meters was quite interesting, also for the belayer. Some more low angled ice took us to the final headwall, witch we knew would be the crux of the climb. Not just because of the climbing, but also because of the route finding. We swapped lead and I started up a thin runnel of ice. Protection was difficult to get, but the climbing was never desperate so it was OK. It took some time, but we summited after 10 hours and 30 minutes on the face.

The normal route from Italy is a big route in itself and we wanted to get all the 2700 vertical meters down to the valley. We got of the glacier just when it got dark and stopped to melt some water. The rest of the descent with headlamps was hard for tiered legs, but we made it all the way down. And a BIG thanks to Joacim for driving throw the tunnel to pick us up!

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Guiding Mont Blanc

On the Bosses ridge with the shadow of Mont Blanc behindSept 17. 2010

On September 4.-9. I had two Norwegians for a 6 days Mont Blanc program through my company Breogfjell. We acclimatized in the Aiguille du Tour area in perfect weather. But on the 4. day it started to snow and rain and the forcast for the summit day didn’t look to good. We considered different alternatives, but the weather looked bad for most of the central Alpes so we decided to try Mont Blanc. We walked to Tete Rousse hut on day 5 and started at nigth from there in light snowfall. Everything went as planed, the weather just got better and we toped out around 09.00 as first party that day.

 

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GUIDING AND CLIMBING IN ALPES

Per Magne on GrandCapucin

Sept 4.2010

After a summer with two much work in Norway I traveled to the Alpes on August 8. for some work and hopefully some climbing on my own. First I traveled to Valais to do a couple of recognition climbs for guiding later in the month. Then I traveled to Chamonix to climb for a week with Trym. But the day Trym arrived it started to rain in town and snow up high and the forecast said it would be like that for 4 days all over the Central Alpes. We packed rope and quickdraws, and together with some friends left Cham and drove down to Ceüse. There, the weather was better but for a mountain guide who mainly been walking and climbing grade 3 all summer, everything but the approach felt very steep.

When weather looked better for the Alpes we went back to Chamonix, there it had snowed  around 50 cm at 3000 meters, but after some days of good weather we hoped that it had melted enough and headed up to the Enveres hut. But we were to early and everything was still wet. Trym went home and the last day before I started working I teamed up with Ole Kristian and Steinar for a day at the south face of Midi. Weather was not very good, light snowfall at times and forecast said thunderstorm in early afternoon so we did Rebuffat to be sure to get up before the weather came. All of us had done the route before, but it was nice to finally do some climbing in the mountains and we had a very fun day, specially at the belays…

On August 21. I started a 6 days Matterhorn program with two Norwegians – Tone and Knut Johan Stenerud. First we had three days in Saastal with some rock climbing on Dri Horlini and a ascent of Weissmies (4017m). In the afternoon on the third day we traveled to Zermatt, there we did Breithorn (4164m) the next day. All week it was very uncertain about how conditions would be on Matterhorn. The big snowfall a week earlier had left around 60cm of snow at the Hörnli hut and a lot more on the mountain. It was melting every day, but we didn’t know if it would be enough. But with the good weather forecast we decided to try. On Matterhorn the guide:client ratio is 1:1 so Rok Zalokar, my Slovenian friend and guide joined us for the ascent. I started early from Zermatt on the 25. to climb a little higher then the Hörnli to check out conditions. I turned back at the Shoulder at 4200m, up to there conditions were good but above it looked like it was a lot of snow. As always on the Hörnli hut, “breakfast” is served at 04.00 and all guided parties start at 04.20. The ascent went OK, some queuing the first hour and the normal chaos on the fixed ropes up high. We summited 08.30 in blue sky and perfect weather. On the descent it was even more chaos than on the ascent but below the Shoulder everything went smoothly and we were at the hut again before 13.00.

After Matterhorn I traveled back Chamonix for some climbing in the mountains. But the weather was not the best and I just ended up rock climbing close to Sallanches and in Italy. When it finally cleared again Per Magne and I had two great days on the granite. The first day we climbed on the south face of Pointe Lachenal and the next day we wanted to try Grand Capucin. Capucin is not a very high summit, but on of the most impressing granite towers in the Mont Blanc massif. The 400 meter high east face has the most challenging routes, we climbed a combination of Voie des Suisses and O Sole Mio on the South face, mostly grade 5 with some pitches of 6. It was for sure on of my best days of rock climbing in the Alpes! Now I start 6 days of work in Chamonix and we hope to climb Mont Blanc.

 

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GUIDING IN HURRUNGANE AND ROMSDALEN

Above the clouds on Storen 2010-07-04After alpine climbing and skiing a lot this winter and spring it was nice to have three weeks off from guiding in late May and early June. I was rock climbing most of the time, first in the in eastern part of Norway, then Bohuslan and a short trip to Peak District in England to try out the grit stone.

But the last three weeks I’ve been guiding in Norway. Mostly in Romsdalen, but I also had ten days at Turtagrø, guiding in Hurrungane. Both places still had a lot of snow with was both both good and bad. Hard trail braking on the way up, but good for the knees and efficiency on the way down.

In Hurrungane I had two long trips in beautiful weather on Styggedalsryggen, Sentraltind, Vesle Skagastølstind before finishing on Store Skagastølstind. Lots of  snow, both old and fresh, made both trips interesting with almost winter conditions on some of the climbing. Here’s some pictures, also from trips to Storen in Hurrungane and Romsdalshorn in Romsdalen.

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A “REST WEEK” IN CHAMONIX

The east ridge on Courte with Grand Jorasses behind

After guiding Haute Route two times in two weeks I was looking forward to a week off, to get out climbing and skiing on my own. Before I was back in Chamonix, Colin Haley called and asked if I wanted to climb the north face of Droites with him the day after. Still not fully recovered from my cold I said no, but after a couple of hours of regret I said yes.

On April 10. we had a “cragging” approach to the 1000 meter high face by taking the first lift in the morning and starting climbing at 10 am. We did the classic route, Ginat, and found good conditions on the snowy, lower part and OK, but a little dry conditions on the steeper upper part. We did not go to the true summit, but as most others only climbed to the Breche des Droites. The climb took us 5 hours and 30 minutes. The “descent” was down the south side and then up the south side and west ridge of Les Courtes making it a very long day. And in the afternoon clouds, we had a hard time finding the Col de la Tour the Courtes.

Some days later I went up to ski the Gervasutti couloir on La tour Ronde with Colin and Marion Poitivin. Tour Ronde is a small summit on the French-Italian border close to Helbronner. The skiing was not the best, lots of rock at the top of the couloir and fresh snow on top of a hard layer further down. But we had a good day out.

The day after, Colin, Magnus, Jonno and me, headed up the Argentiere glacier for skiing the NE-face of Les Courtes. Descending it some days earlier after the Droites-Courtes climb we thought that conditions would be perfect for steep skiing. And it was, except for the skiers right side of the face. Magnus tried that and ended up tomahawking the entire 700 vertical meters, 45-50 degree face. We feared the worst and was very relieved to see him move after the long fall. Jonno called rescue while Colin and me started skiing down to Magnus. Except for some bruises on the arm, Magnus was fine. But he was taken by the PGHM rescue to the hospital in Sallanches for a routine check.

On April 16., Colin and me took the last lift to sleep at the top of Grand Montets to start early the next day. We wanted to do a linkup in the Argentier basin by climbing the three north faces of Verte, Droites and Courtes in one go. We started at 5 am the next morning and climbed Verte up and down by the classic Couturier couloir. This day was more about endurance then technical climbing so we did routes that we could simul-solo. After Verte we climbed the Lagarde direct to the true summit of Droites. As last time, we descended the south side and ascended Courtes from the west. The plan was to downclimb the NE face and then climb the Swiss route on Courtes. But after descending the NE our motivation was lame  for climbing the Courtes again. So we walked back to our skis and skied down to Argentier. After all we was satisfied with three summits and after ascending and descending around 3000 vertical meters in 12 hours.

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SKIING AND CLIMBING IN CHAMONIX…


Les Courtes North face…mostly skiing

On March 16. I traveled to Chamonix for 6 weeks, 3 of them for work. Before the guiding started I had 10 days of skiing and climbing on my own. When I arrived it hadn’t snowed for a long time and conditions was good for climbing. But to acclimatize I first did some skitouring. On the 19. I climbed the Swiss route in the north face of Les Courtes. The conditions were good and I had tracks from another party on the snowy part of the the climb. The climb took me 2.15. I climbed with short approach skis on my backpack so I could ski down the Telèfre side and down to Chamonix.

The next days it was raining in town, but snowing up high. When it finally cleared I had some good days of skiing from Midi.

On the 23. I teamed up with Amandine and Cristophe for the Aig d´Argentier. Weather and conditions was perfect. We went up the normal route on the west side, but skied down on the east. From the Saleina glacier we went throw the Fenetre de Saleina and Col du Tour, before we finished a long day with lots of good skiing down to Le Tour.

 

Christophe skiing the east face (Barbey Couloir) of Argentier

 

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ICE Norway winter 2010

Me climbing last pitch of Hydne. Photo: Kristoffer SzilasThis ice conditions in Norway has been extraordinary this winter. All over southern Norway it was cold and stable temperatures from mid December to early March. In Romsdalen where I live the conditions has been OK on some of the classic lines. But due to the little snow and cold temperatures early in the season, the smaller streams witch makes the good alpine lines froze to early to make them climbable. But other places nearby, like Eikesdalen and Geiranger has seen a lot of first ascents. Unfortunately I’ve been a lot away for work and never made it to Geiranger this winter. But I’ve had some good climbing in Hemsedal, with some first ascent and I’ve got the chance to climb some of the bigger classic waterfalls that I’ve wanted to climb for a long time.

Below you can see pictures from some of the climbs.

Short movie from a wet day on Vettis. Credit: Bjørn-Eivind Aartun

 

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