Thursday, 26 March 2009
On returning to the CIC hut last night, we were greeted by the London Mountaineering Club who had kindly cleared our route of the previous day for us and returned all our gear. What nice chaps!! So all was not lost (except the cheap camera). The next day didn't start off well, super high winds shook the hut during the night and squally blizzards were appearing. We decided to head back down and home. It took a little while longer than usual after a navigational error in Glossop resulted in a detour via Barnsley and Huddersfield back to Sheffield. Ooops!!
Wednesday, 25 March 2009
We set off again the following day from the North Face car park to the Ben. This time we had some camping gear ready to stay in the CIC hut overnight as the long walk in was getting tedious. After soloing up to the foot of our route, we then worked out we should have geared up earlier and spent a slightly stressful and uncomfortable few moments getting a belay together and tying in! The first pitch was great but we weren't sure if we were en-route. All the time I was wondering why this was a 3 star route (Number 3 Gully Buttress) until we got to the final pitch. What an awesome location for a few tricky moves with nothing below, what a drop!!!
Thank goodness for the poor visibility which meant you could only sense the impending doom rather than being able to see all the way down to the Coire floor. The last pitch was absolutely superb and worth returning for again. We then got on with the task of navigating our way back off the top once more in whiteout.
Tuesday, 24 March 2009
With rain looming over the Peak for a few days, Sari and I packed up for some winter fun in Scotland. We charged through the night to get past Loch Lomond before the road closure at 10pm, overtaking the work vehicles just in the nick of time. After a few hours sleep we woke early and set off up the Ben in search of Comb Gully (IV 4). Having just missed Rosie at the CIC we had to set off without a cuppa into the Coire.
The climbing itself was great but felt really full on due to the dump truck at the top chucking huge loads of spindrift down on us. Like a giant snow shower all day! My goggles were too scared to come out of my sack so they stayed safely inside and I resorted to climbing blind! In addition my hood came down to allow me to gather a nice snow batch in the back of my jacket and all around my neck - check out the huge snowballs that gathered on my plaits. After applying liberal amounts of hand cream at the belay, (scars from previous week in Peak) a pesky ice screw then slipped out of Sari's hand. I also couldn't retrieve a runner slightly before the belay so that got left behind too. And somewhere buried in the spindrift of that fateful belay is my camera!!
Still the climbing was ace and we did well given it was our first day out together in winter.
Sunday, 22 March 2009
Sunday, 15 March 2009
6 hot dawgs, 6 Viking beers, 1 giant Coke can, 31 hours driving, 5 guest houses, 2 pick and mix, 3 blocks of halva, 9 petrol stations, 17 snow ploughs, 0 hot springs, 6 sagas, 3 reindeer herds, hundreds of ponies and even more dead hanging fish. Iceland rocks!
Saturday, 14 March 2009
More of the same today, amazing driving but still no sign of ice so we decided to join the tourist trail. Just as we had given up our search we found an ice line on the way to the tourist attraction of Geysir. So after ticking off the sights we headed back for the route. We think it is a new route at WI4 and have chosen to name it Bless Bless which means Bye Bye in Icelandic (a phrase we learnt off our friends Peter and Konnie), a fitting name as we were on our way home.
Friday, 13 March 2009
Day 3 was all about the mileage. And survival...trying to negotiate mountain roads, whiteouts and snow drifts in Ruby our little 1L 2WD Hyundai!! For hundreds of kms we passed only a few 4x4 trucks/pick ups but everyone stopped to chat and laugh with us (or at us).
The scenery was wonderful (when you could actually see it), driving round fjords and glaciers with snowy peaks going right out to the sea. We were on the home stretch heading out east and then south. None of the ice venues we passed were in condition but we were loving our journey. Fingers crossed we would find one last patch of ice before the airport tomorrow.
Thursday, 12 March 2009
Wow, today will take some beating. We drove out to the beach at Bjorg in search of seaside icefalls and weren't disappointed. After a warm welcome from Konnie with a fabulous breakfast, Peter took us out to the ice by Skidoo which was very exciting (three people, two climbing rucksacks with spiky axes on the outside and a small seat). Rosie liked it so much she decided to try launching herself off the back!
The location is absolutely spectacular with ice falls stretching right down and out to the ocean. Climbing above the snow covered beach with black sand in a blizzard has to be the most amazing climbing experience ever. Peter very kindly collected us and we spent the rest of the day happily chatting and eating with our new friends.
Thanks very much to Konnie and Peter for making our day so memorable.
Check out http://www.bjorgum.is/icebjorg
Tuesday, 10 March 2009
Our masterplan was to drive round the entire country in the 4 days we had, going clockwise, taking in as many climbing venues as we could en-route.
Super excited to finally get out of Reykjavik we headed to Glymur, Iceland's largest waterfall at 200m in height. Once we eventually found it (maps are for girls), we were suitably impressed. In a very dramatic setting with steep cliffs, swooping birds and roaring water. However the ice on closer inspection turned out to be of the slushy variety and we hadn't bought any crazy flavourings or colourings with us! So instead we soaked up the view and had a photoshoot at the top of the fall. Only 500kms til bedtime.