Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Rjukan Ice Festival 2014

21. - 23. February, 2014
Rjukan, Telemark, Norway

One of the great things about living in Telemark is all the amazing ice that can be climbed.  Even though we had an extremely mild season, there was still plenty of climbing to be done.  Possibly the climax of the ice season in Telemark is the annual Ice Climbing Festival held in Rjukan at the end of february.  This year I was able to make it to the festival and help out a bit.

There were vendors from several companies including Black Diamond, DMM, Grivel, and Petzl.  The first night started with stands with gear and representatives from the sponsors, along with a presentation by Martin Skaar Olslund, and up-and-coming climber from Norway.

Saturday was packed with guided climbs around Rjukan and multiple clinics at Krokan.  The main event was the Rjukan Open Speed Climbing Competition.  A fun speed climbing comp that is open to anyone who wants to give it a shot.  The day rounded out with an hysterical presentation by British bigwall climber, and humorist, Andy Kirkpatrick.  I cannot remember the last time I have laughed so much during a climbing presentation.  Andy is a great guy and easy to talk to.

Sunday was a bit more low key, with a few guided climbs around Rjukan, and two clinics at Krokan.  I was able to assist German climber Matthias Scherer with the advanced clinic.  Matthias is an incredible athlete, and it was truly a pleasure to have the privilege to climb with him.

The festival seemed to be a success despite that fact that there was little to no PR leading up to the festival.  We joked for most of the weekend that it was Norway´s best kept secret.  All joking aside, there was a sizable crowd at all of the events, meaning that the festival has been spread by word of mouth.  Always a good sign.

Opening of the festival with gear displays from different vendors

Krokan before the hoards arrive

Matthias Scherer leading Topp

Teaching the advanced clinic

Talking about protecting belays

Tor Olav Berg teaching the Beginners clinic

Learning to climb on Bullen during the Beginners clinic

Twins Heike and Tanja Schmitt teaching the Female clinic

Climbers enjoying the Kjøkkentrappa area

Three (!) parties on Kjøkkentrappa while another party tries Bored to the Extreme

Martin Skaar Olslund representing Petzl

Rjukan Open Speed Climbing Competition held on Bullen

Competitors wait their turn

Matthias Scherer explains multi-pitch ice anchors on the last day of the festival

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