Over New Year I travelled out to the little known ice climbing destination of Setesdal in southern Norway. Brian Davidson gave Andy Turner, Dave Rudkin and I a guided tour of the valley which he’d helped develop and we were impressed with the number and quality of climbed (and un-climbed) multi pitch ice falls, some of which must surely rank amongst the finest in Europe.
Unfortunately for us our trip coincided with mild temperatures and the beginning of a thaw which meant that many of our most sought after objectives were in the process of collapsing! It wasn’t all doom and gloom though; there had been so much ice that there was still a lot to go at albeit at a more moderate standard.
After a gentle introduction to Norwegian ice climbing on some roadside icefalls we all headed up to an obvious un-climbed line above the village of Valle near the head of the valley. This turned out to be an awesome multi pitch route of grade IV with amazing views back down the valley.
The following day Andy and Brian headed up the valley to attempt an amazing looking un-climbed ice fall appropriately named ‘the Big Drip’ which left Dave and I with the prospect of the most obvious un-climbed ice fall in Setesdal- an impressive large sweeping slab above Valle. Once again this provided much fun and was another classic multi pitch grade IV.
The weather warmed up from there on in and after one last new ice fall there was nothing left to climb but trees and take part in brutal pull up sessions with Andy whose biceps are abnormally large! Despite having had poor luck with the weather we still had a fun trip and Setesdal is an amazing area which should definitely be considered by those looking for a little bit more adventure than the more popular Norwegian ice climbing destination of Rjukan.