I can now check ‘Ice Climbing’ off my list…

This Sunday we woke up at 4:30am, stumbled into the car, and left for our trip bright and early, (except not bright because does the sun every rise?) We are spending the week in Hemsedal Norway, a beautiful (and COLD) place. My class spent the first two days in Hemsedal ice climbing–yes, climbing ice.

'chill og dig'

The area we climbed in was beautiful– a true winter wonderland.

The -16 degree snowy weather made staying warm difficult. However, I occasionally exposed my hands to the harsh weather in order to snap some photos.

This time, instead of climbing into glacier crevices, we climbed on frozen waterfalls. I can’t say ice climbing is my favorite kind of climbing, but it was pretty neat.

Stay tuned for more from my week in Hemsedal.

P.S. This post was for you Michael Stratton. Jealous?

Climbing in Turkey– I’m bruised, scraped, and sore… but tan!

I have returned to Norway from a two week climbing adventure in Geyikbayiri Turkey– bringing with me sore arms, tons of bruises, and a nice new tan.

Landing in Antalya

Ask any one of us what we thought of the trip and you’ll receive the same answer: “It was great.” Great weather, great friends, great camp, and most importantly: GREAT CLIMBING. We stayed in Jo.Si.To Climbing Camp which is just a walk away nearly 500 climbing routes of all different difficulties. The camp was full of climbing passion and positive energy– I felt privileged to stay just a tent’s distance away from great climbers from all around the world.

I learned a lot about climbing on this trip– something new from Martin, Lars Martin, or Erland each day. I also learned from experience, or should I say “trial and error.” This “trial and error” way of learning had a bigger, well, impression on me. The first thing I learned: Turkey is full of prickly plants and rough rocks. After doing a full assessment, I’ve counted two scraped forearms, two banged-up knees, three scratched knuckles, and countless pricks in my fingers. Luckily, my snake-bite count is zero.

Safety First! Our focus on belaying and securing other climbers was just as prominent as our focus on climbing itself. In fact, sometimes belaying proved to be just as tiring as climbing.

The climbing varied depending on where we spent the day, but one thing is for sure: it was a lot different than climbing in Norway. The rock formations are beautiful and unique. There is some geographical reason for this, I just don’t know it– Stratton, fill in the blanks here. Anyway, the biggest difference is that the rocks in Turkey are dry and warm.  With the sun almost always at our backs, we tanned, and for some, burned.

Since Norwegians can never soak up enough sun, (and I don’t blame them,) we spent our resting day at Olympus, a historical ruins site by the beach. If walking past the ruins in order to get to the beach counts as learning some history, we all had a history lesson that day.

My answer to the question “Whatcha doing?” is almost always “Just hangin’.” In Turkey, we redefined “Just hangin’.”

We made lots of good meals for dinner, and they almost always consisted of chicken and rice. Some of the more adventurous cooking groups, (or just the clueless ones,) opted for the chicken-hearts. They were special looking. There was a lot of bread eaten, naturally. “A lot” might even be an understatement. Regardless, when it came to food we had to be careful and keep it away from the camp dogs. That was sometimes a struggle.

When we were not climbing, belaying, or hangin’, we just had a good time.

Overall, this trip receives 4.8 Grace Faces from me. And for you normal people out there that don’t know what that means– This trip was nearly perfect.

If you haven’t seen enough, check out other people’s photos here!

Preseason: Mountain Style

Those of you who have had the joy of enduring Coach Snead’s preseason know that by the end of the week you are feeling all sorts of things. You are most likely struggling to walk. You’re a little bit bitter, both at yourself for slacking off all summer and at the humid Virginia air. Yesterday I returned to school from what can be considered a “preseason” trip. The three-day hike acted as a season opener; a warm up for many adventures to come. And now, much like the end of the first week of hockey, I am feeling incredibly tired. Although my butt doesn’t hurt quite as much as it would from hockey, pretty much everything else does. Sleeping in the cold with rocks under my back can be compared to the morning after the first lift with Adam: extremely uncomfortable. There are differences between preseason and this hike though: the view while scaling the side of a waterfall is a lot cooler than the view of the parking lot during a set of 15’s. And instead of trying to cool off while Coach Snead made us run in circles, we often opted to run in circles with hopes of warming up. Taking off those repulsive shin guards on Friday is a sign that you conquered your first week of hockey. It’s accompanied with a feeling of great accomplishment. That feeling is 100% intensified while on the top of a mountain. It’s hard to justifiably describe the amazing feeling of looking down at the ground you’ve just covered and the heights you’ve just climbed.

On the first day of the trip my teacher, Janie Therese, led my Aktivitet 1 class to a place called Styggvantna. The trek was almost as complex as the name itself. After a few hours of hiking we stopped to eat the first (of four) lunches we had packed for ourselves. The first day proved to be the ultimate trust-building experience. What better way to learn to trust someone than allowing them your hand as you leap across rushing white water?

Day two began by packing up camp. We then made the hike to Haugen, the meeting place for all classes. This hike wasn’t as steep or narrow but still not a stroll. We hiked over a mountain in Vidstøylsegga which is where we ran into snow. Once over that mountain we hiked through marshy land in order to reach Haugen. The rest of the school gradually arrived and began setting up their tents. This time Øyvind, Harold, Anne Katrine, Frida and I set up our tent in a spot without any rocks. Learning from our mistakes. After eating we sang songs around the fire. Ylva (my roomate) and I loved that…(pure sarcasm.) We then played Tissetrengt in the dark which Anne Katrine and I won. Try typing that one into google translate. Oh translating snafus… have to love them.

Day three started off on a good note. I woke up from a very nice night sleep. My sleeping bag is proving to be up for the challenge of keeping me warm. After packing up our tent we split into groups depending on which course we preferred to take home. Ylva and I chose the tour that took us to an area called Langedals and then our final destination, Tungelia. From Tungelia we collapsed into a van that drove us around the fjord, through Sundane, and back to school.

When we returned to the school we ate dinner. Ylva and I then proceeded to sit in our beds for 4 hours trying to recover from our first trip. It helped that we had buckets of candy.