Never mix business with pleasure they say, but here is an article (well, sort of) that I wrote for work about managing risks in a climbing context. The thought process has much more in common with project management risks and issues than you'd expect.
Tuesday turned out to be an enforced rest day after James felt ill on the walk in. At least we retrieved the bags.
On Wednesday we nipped back into yet another canyon to have a shortish day on a narrow route that looked fun - it turned out to be a charming 90m (not the 30m I expected) WI4+. The was a sneaky steep bit at the end so we dubbed the route 'The Charming Sting'.
Not much to look at
Sometime, I like to wear boots. Orange boots.
Unfortunately the trip has ended with a whimper. We walked in today, our last day, to either repeat Cathedral or do a smaller route next to it. We opted for the smaller one - with a steep section, but not a particularly long steep section. As soon as I set off, I felt it in my calves and then on the steep bit I just wasn't at the races. So came down. What a disappointing end to the holiday. We do have some beer now though.
Yesterday we returned into the Gorsabrua canyon in hopes of a WI5 having filled in a bit. It hadn't but there was a sneaky traverse in from the left so the route was a goer. My mojo hasn't exactly been firing on all cylinders this trip so I would have followed any excuse to wimp out, but fortunately there was none and I am really pleased we finished the route. The ice wasn't great, hollow in parts, but on the whole it felt steady, I must admit to resting on a screw at one point but it was that or have a repeat of the 'terminal pump'.
Today we returned to our poor run of luck with James feeling too ill to climb having walked in. So that plus the Hattavarri avalanche conditions, the moved day off for me feeling ill and the bag dump day for Kitdalen have all diminished our hit rate significantly.
On Tuesday, we headed into the 'other' canyon - Gorsabrua (actually, not Gorsabrua as that means Gorge-bridge, but it's what the signs say). Another long walk and another tonne of climbing found. We did a deceptively steep WI4 after scouting the gorge as far as we could - to a mean looking WI5 we intend to come back for.
Next, we returned to Lyngen on the other side of the fjord in search of Leichtfried's Gold Rush, but either it isn't there this year, or he really meant something further south. Anyway, we found another route that we were cursing on the walk in for being too easy only for it to turn out longer and harder than expected.
Yesterday we attempted a big route that we spotted in 2011. We actually attempted it the day before but the walk and route were bother longer than we expected so we, riskily, dropped out bags at the bottom of the ascent up to the route hoping snow wouldn't prohibit us returning. It didn't, and so we did, rising at 4am and walking by 7am. It turned out to be six pitches, none of which were that hard until the last. We walked out in the day at the end of a thirteen hour day.
The top pillar involved crossing some horrible ice - layers of ice on crud on ice on crud, each breaking away when hit. Eventually I managed to get established on the pillar, but I was already feeling the effects of the traverse. Unfortunately the pillar was no better - fluted and hollow ice. The kind you swing at and the axe diverts into the nearest hole. I pushed on up for a few yards but was pretty boxed and the ice to too bad to get a decent screw in. Eventually, obeying the law of 'never fall' I clipped into an axe (oh, the shame) and rested while placing two poor screws. Thinking I had recovered I carried on. For two feet and then my hands just started unpeeling from my axes. Admitting defeat, I rested again, knowing the pump was terminal. I placed another screw that was at least weight bearing, and only ten yards from the top of a 240m climb, I retreated. And yes, you read that right - I abbed off a £50 ice screw. There was no abolokoving that ice and when you know you need to get out of there, you know. All in all, it was quite harrowing.
Today has been a rest day (again) - we went otter spotting but to no avail. We have seen eagles, and even porpoises (from afar) so far though.