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2014 Rjukan Ice Festival, Norway

Wednesday, September 7, 2016
For three days in February, ice climbers from all over Norway gathered in Rjukan for the annual Ice Festival. Clinics, a speed comp, slide shows and long hours of partying made for a great event.

Photos by: Matthias Scherer

In Norway, the Rjukan Ice Festival rocked once again on February 21-23. Tons of snow and superb ice conditions made the event drop-dead gorgeous! Starting with presentations of the latest ice climbing equipment in the Rjukan Hus, ice-climbing enthusiasts assembled late Friday afternoon, buzzing around and investigating gear before indulging in a beer or two. At 7p.m. Martina Skaar Olslund, a super talented young Norwegian climber started his mind-boggling presentation of his last season’s ice trip, featuring two first ascends of extreme ice lines in Norway.

Saturday morning found ice climbers heeding out to Krokan. Beginners, as well as advanced climbers, were eager to hone their skills. The Schmitt twins hosted ice clinics for girls, and Matthias Scherer held clinics for advanced climbers. There was also a fun speed-climbing competition where all climbers could test their skills. Powered on by funky music and cheered on by the crowd, climbers also competed in a fun speed-climbing competition. They were rewarded with Norwegian sandwiches and Coffee to refuel. After a well-earned rest, climbers showed up at 6 p.m. once again at the Rjukan Hus for closer gear investigation. The speed winners were awarded prizes sponsored by Black Diamond and Berggans.

After the awards, Andy Kirkpatrick entered the scene and gave the audience no rest. The hall was bursting in laughter as Andy rolled out story after story in pure comedy style, and described his attempts and final climb of the fearful Troll Wall in Norway. His motto was, “This is no time for ease and comfort. It is time to dare and endure.” (A quote be borrowed from Winston Churchill.)

Sunday was again filled with clinics, and many used the opportunity to listen to and learn from experienced climbers. As the Norwegian winter sun sank once again, the Rjukan Ice Festival came to its end, but not before everyone promised to come back again next year. The Rjukan ice event just rocks!!!!

Tanja Schmitt