Bodø: unlimited ice-climbing possibilities on the polar circle

In the second one starts to believe to have seen everything, one will be taught otherwise. Beneditk Purner and I actually wanted to give up on ice climbing in Norway after our third visit, to discover new goals. Hence, often things turn out differently than thought. Ice climbing is alive in a moment, especially within that moment that offers the best ice conditions. That is why numerous friends situated all over the world informing us about the actual conditions on-site; lead us to the land of Trolls, moose and icicles once again. Norway is very special with respect to ice climbing possibilities. All activities are basically defined by the changing weather conditions often happening within no time. There are two contrary possibilities. On the one hand, mild Southwest flows, enable the Gulfstream to destroy the all the ice within only some days. On the other hand, there is a flow coming from East, consisting of arctic cold (Northeast Winds) or continental cold air from Russia (East Southeast Winds), freezing all watercourses in Norway. Within no time, thousands and thousands ice formations arise – most of them being suitable for ice climbing.

„Fyrtårn“ - the lighthouse, WI6+

A pub we knew from our last visit in Norway, Sveinung Bertnes Råheim, informed us that there were optimal conditions and untouched ice was waiting for us on site. 
After some unlikeable experiences with the warm weather sides in Norway, we spontaneously booked our flights to Bodø in the end of January. Some days later we stood on the polar circle together with Klaus Kranebitter and picked up our Jeep for the next ten days. As expected, it was cold, even that cold that some open fjord areas started to steam due to the cold, arctic air. Not a good sign for warm fingers while ice climbing. After an extended exploring day, we did not even know anymore in the end what we had seen. There was nearly an over dose of ice formations, we noticed during the day. The program of the next day was already defined. Within a restricted military zone we discovered a very special ice fall. Almost vertical and with the weirdest ice structures, this ice giant was enthroned on top of the sandy beach of Novika. The view towards the Lofoten was second to none and the ice monster was already recognizable out of a distance of some kilometers. We decided to start on Sunday, in hope that the Norwegian military would be less vigilant that day. Very early in the morning, we were hiking strained through the weird, frozen sandy beach, expecting to be caught every minute. But nothing happened. Silently, we continued our way towards the ice giant and were climbing all day, which is not too long considering the location of 67 degree North. The icy cold arctic air did not makes things easier for us, the fingers were on strike several times and asked for the obligatory screaming fit while thawing. Shortly before darkness, we returned to the car, tired but satisfied. Only later, we learned that we just finished a first ascent. Unbelievable that such a beautiful ice fall was not ascended until now. „Fyrtårn“ (lighthouse) WI6+, with its 250 almost vertical climbing meters, counts to our absolute highlights in our tour collection.

Short, long days in Norway

Days are short in the North of Norway and they pass very quickly, especially, if the goals of the discovering day have to be implemented. The days developed a certain routine – the alarm clock is turning on and everything follows an invisible checklist. Breakfast, packing dry cloths, in the car for 1-2 hours, walk to the ice-fall (mostly 1-3 hours through Norwegian fauna and snow), climbing wonderful ice lines, taking pictures with Klaus, descending, walk back to the car, driving back to the hood already in darkness, dry the cloths, have dinner and watch the discovery channel. Time is flying by. The following days, we were in the ice falls evey day and we did one first ascend after another. There are many routes in Bodø that were climbed already but there also is a huge potential for new routes. We limit our routes to lines with a high ice proportion and classic ice falls. Our routes are confirmed as first ascends by local climbers and therefore, receive our names. These names usually emerge in the moment of ascend and are most likely connected with the route. Sometimes they are creative; sometimes we do not have a lot of ideas. We climbed the Elkhighway WI4+ in the South of Novika, where Klaus is stopped by the military while taking pictures. All his persuasive power is needed that we did not have to justify what we were actually doing there. A man with camera telephoto lens within restricted military zones is just not very appreciated. We also discovered an area with short access, after approximately 40 minutes access time, we climbed the two one-rope lengths „Ha det bra“ M7 and „Nutcracker“ M7 on the roadside of Ornes. Directly in the sun and with significantly warmer temperatures we climbed „Geoglasur“ and „Milky exit“ WI5 250 m in Innervik. The Skjelstadfossen midten, WI5 was not a first ascend, but it was situated within the wonderful, typical Norwegian Fjord atmosphere. After a heavy hike we climbed the „Men on wire“ WI5. The route is situated high above, in the middle of a giant granite wall. In the end, we also could do a first ascend on the „Slettliflågfossen“ WI6 in Evjen. This ice fall, with its wild, rugged ocean ice and full 300 meters, offered us a dignified finish of our trip to the polar circle of Norway. Since we still did not see everything yet, it will most likely not be our last trip to the unlimited ice climbing possibilities in Norway.



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