Thursday, March 21, 2013

Alpine extravaganza on Partisanleden

I don't think I could ever get bored of living in Narvik where you can access wonderfully scary alpine classics like Partisanleden from your front door.

The last time I made an attempt on this route back in December we turned around on account of the decidedly sketchy snow pack which consisted of 20cm of sugar with breakable crust on top. One advantage of this reconnaissance outing was learning that a few stoppers would be key for protecting the first rap- these were packed in today's arsenal together with a bunch of tat cord and Jan Eirik's snappy deadman anchor which I'd never used before, but which I'm now keen on buying for myself.

We rode the gondola up, sipping coffee and pretending to be civilised, then skinned up to Tredje Toppen before making the usual descent around the cliffband at 1000 m and continuing up to Moskočohkka which we reached 1:20 after setting out, our pace soon ground to a halt aw we got stuck in the steep and exposed portion of the route.

First up was a spicy downclimb, then we spent some time cleaning out a crack in order to get some stoppers in and Jan Eirik rigged an anchor. After a tentative 15m "rap" (more of a rope assisted down climb in reality) we found ourselves on a steep slope with a decent sized cliff below and were faced with a decision: either bail now or pull the rope and commit to the rest of the unknown route. We opted to cover all bases, with Jan Eirik waiting with the rope still in place while I skirted over on skis to make a decision on the route ahead.

Feeling very small and vulnerable I made my way down and was relieved to see that we wouldn't have to make any more rappels...

At least I thought we wouldn't need to make any more rappels. As it turned out the ridge had a few surprises in store for us still, and over the next few hundred metres we made two more raps using the deadman and even making one belayed down climb, and feeling like a real alpinist in the process ;-)

The usual time constraints meant that we didn't get all the way up to the summit of Beisfjordtøtta aas planned, but we did make it through the bulk of the technical section, before skiing down to Forsnesvatn and back to Narvik.

Strong winds up high and some pretty spindrift.

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