So yesterday was a typical first day; up late after a long day travelling and then a lot of driving around to spot routes. I forgot the binoculars, which is a right pain. We eventually decided we should do some climbing, so parked up by the side of the road. I thought I better check the car would move, and surprise surprise, it was stuck. A kind chap pulled over to help James push and so we drove a couple of hundred yards further away and I pulled over again, and yes, you guess it, stuck again. This time, big stylee - the car wouldn't budget an inch and all the power was going to one wheel (how do you turn off traction control on a Fiesta?!). Eventually an even kinder local came along and tried to tow us out. As I tried to reverse, with him pulling, there was a loud bang - his rope had broken (my knot held firm I might add). He retied it and then we broke it again. Finally on third go, we budged. All that had been stopping the car was a tiny dish, maybe 1cm deep, that the wheel had carved in the ice. By this point it was now too late to climb.
I can't honestly say there seems to be huge ice potential on Senja, but lots must be buried. And I am sure more will reveal it's self on further investigation.
So that was day one. Today we returned to do the roadside route, which was probably WI4/4+. Apart from some near-puke-inducing hotaches it went off without drama. Almost. On the final abseil, I unclipped the icescrew from my harness after connecting up my belay plate to the ab ropes, leant back and to my horror the plate wasn't attached to me. Thankfully I have a tendency to 'hold on' to things as I unclip and check everything before weighting the rope or gear. Good thing too, as at this point I was only held on by my gripping the quickdraw. I guess the belay plate came unclipped as I struggled to pull the ropes up under their own weight.
Apart from being pretty scary, this is a healthy reminder to check, check and recheck. It's noticeable how few good climbers die on very hard routes, and it's probably because of the concentration required. Complacency is a much bigger killer. Lesson learned, or at least refreshed, and we move on, with full concentration!
James didn't really appreciate the twig we abseiled off either, but he was too lazy to climb up to something better (really, it was fine!).
That's what not to do, tomorrow, however, will be a masterclass is safe yet daring climbing.