It almost becomes normal that I start a blogpost with stating that it has been a while ago since my last blogpost, and to after that come up with some excuses (that usually have to do something with that I was too busy climbing). No excuses this time, just the promise that I’ll try to update this blog more frequently.
In January I was welcomed by a snowstorm in Tromsø. It was dark, cold and wet, everything I expected from a place that high north was true. The roads were fully snow-covered, and for a moment the bus from the airport to the student housing didn’t manage to get up the hill. Fortunately the bus driver was used to these conditions and after some trying he made it. The next few days it was only clouded and snowing, and I found it beautiful! Immediately in the first week there was the polar cup organized in the local gym. I helped doing some routesetting and already got to meet many nice climbers and enjoy some Norwegian waffles. I couldn’t have wished for a better start!
Later, the weather turned out that it could be good as well, making the famous aora’s (northern lights) visible and making Tromsø look even more beautiful. After two months without any sunlight, I woke up one day with the sun visible on the mountain, a few hours later my face was warmed by the first sun since what felt ages. I just couldn’t stop grinning and jumping around in the sunshine, the sun is back!
Besides studying, winter life in Tromsø is full with cross-country skiing, ice climbing and randonnee skiing. Cross-country skiing became like a way of transportation for me, and especially after some fresh snowfall you can get literally everywhere on the island on ski’s. When the weather was bad, the climbing gym is close by university so many hours were spent there too.
But the presence of many great opportunities for outdoor climbing couldn’t make me stay just inside, even though it’s cold, snowy and icy on the rocks. Together with Patrick and Steven we decided to try the northface of Blåmann, the highest mountain on Kvaløya. It is a steep wall (85-95 degrees) and all the routes on it are aid. We planned to stay on the wall with a portaledge and took a lot of food and gear with us. And clothes, dressed like colourful fat polar bears we started off. After 4 days of hammering through icy splittercracks we made it halfway the wall. We were stuck there for several hours already on a single move, and decided to go back. It was lots of learning and a true adventure that I will never forget.
After Blåmann it was time to leave Tromsø for a week to go to Chamonix with the Expedition Academy! Next blogpost more…