Holiday On Ice

Rjukan is situated in Southern Norway to the west of Oslo. Due to cheap flights from one of the budget airlines, this venue has gained huge popularity over the last few years. This popularity is also helped by the reliability and quality of the ice climbing. There are over 150 easily accessible cascades ranging from 1 pitch to 20 pitches covering the full spectrum of difficulty.

Much of the climbing takes place in the gorge underneath the Vermock heavy water plant made famous by the World War II film, “The Heroes of Telemark”.

February this year in conjunction with another instructor Colin Reilly, we led a trip to Rjukan. The aim of the week was to climb as many cascades as possible and also to give anyone who wished the opportunity to learn to lead. Rjukan is perfect for this as the quality of the ice makes for reliable ice screw and axe placements. Many of the single pitch routes also have tree belays.

Throughout the week we climbed many routes from WI3 to WI5 including Tungtvann, Mindisken, the very long Fabrikkfossen and the awesome Backveien which climbs a hidden chimney and leads directly to the plant.

Rjukan has ice climbing to suit everybody. It also has excellent accommodation in the form of traditional wooden chalets. As well as cafes, bars, shops and floodlight ice climbing in the town, there is an excellent swimming pool with an outside Jacuzzi to help relax aching muscles. Rjukan is an excellent place for a relaxing ice climbing holiday.

Euan Whittaker
Feb 2006