“The Fulufjället National Park is home to many wild creatures, particularly brown bears”, the sign reads. Matt and I exchange that look. You know, that look where you realise you’re in a completely alien country, having just driven nearly seven hours on what seemed to be the same snowy fir tree-lined road, in the hope […]

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Rjukan: Day Seven

The idea had been floating around all week. The climb had been in the back of my mind for a long time before we flew out to Norway and when we drove up to Krokan on the first day, there it was, drooling out of the head of the upper gorge, savagely steep and unapologetic. […]

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Rjukan: Day Five

“If you want the ultimate, you gotta be willing to pay the ultimate price.” – Bodhi, Point Break Today, we were privy to a pivotal moment in the history of our sport. The bar has been well and truly raised, new standard of ice climbing has been set and the precedent is now there for […]

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Rjukan: Day Four

We tried to have a short day today as we all felt pretty knackered after a few long days and late nights. Unfortunately, our plan failed. We headed over to the Bølgen area of the valley for some shortish multi-pitch classics, with Ed and Caspian’s sights set on the area’s namesake route, Bølgen, and Matt […]

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Rjukan: Day Three

After the Vemork pipes incident on the walk out yesterday, we decided to continue the theme of combat climbing with a speculative mission into the seldom-visited Lower Gorge. This turned out to be a pretty shocking decision, and after some time spent powder-wading, tripping over concealed branches and logs, and following misleading footprints petering out […]

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Rjukan: Day One

We crashed into the bunks at 3am, barely conscious and set the alarms to go off a mere five hours later. Before long the unapologetic bark of the alarm reverberated inside our heads. The excitement of being in the ice-filled paradise that is the sleepy Norwegian town of Rjukan didn’t take long to wake us […]

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I arrive back in Chamonix at the start of October, practically frothing at the mouth at the prospect of being back in the mountains. I message everyone I know in the valley to find a partner, but no-one bites. Instead, I spend a frustrating day driving up and down the valley, scoping out conditions on […]

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The Spark

As I pour yet another cup of coffee and watch the clock inch inexorably closer to our arranged meeting time, my mind is a violent maelstrom of excuses. ‘Tell them you’ve got a last minute phone interview for a job!’ ‘How about you say you’ve lost your lift pass?’ ‘Claim you’ll slow them down too […]

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Ecrins Excursion

The last month or so hasn’t involved a whole lot of climbing. I’ve had a pretty indulgent time visiting Julia and my family, lounging by a pool in Turkey catching up on some reading and trying to sort out my stubborn alpinist tan lines. After a while, I was itching to get back to Chamonix […]

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Surviving an Alpine Heatwave

The meteorological theme for mid June was changeable weather: fair and sunny in the morning would give way to heavy cloud and storms in the afternoon. It helps your sense of urgency if every time you look outwards from a stance you see a wall of weather advancing towards you. After a couple of weeks, though, […]

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