From heaven to hell. Or somewhere in between...
Yeah! Three months ot total freedom ahead of us. Three months of climbing and skiing and guiding. Three months of living and breathing mountains. On the go, with a caravan as our new home, ready to take us to wherever the conditions and the weather is the best in Northern Norway for the moment. Or, that's what we thought at least....
Lyngdalsfossa, right now or most hated ice fall...
Once Emma arrived in Tromsø after her time as skärgårdsdoktor, we spent some days organizing our new life in our new caravan. Bodø Caravan has arranged a nice camper for us and our new home is a fully equipped 12 m2 Kabe Ametyst- 2009 model. Brilliant! We are super thankful!
Horrendous weather in Tromsø to start with, but we managed to sneak in a short alpine climb in Grøtfjorden on Kvaløya, doing some pitches on the classic test piece "Hårek". Unfortunately, the rain had swept away most of the ice so the climbing was adventurous, but good fun!
Approaching Hårek - not much snow or ice left after weeks of rain
Spin drift, cold and cozy :)
The weather improved and we set off for Lyngen for some iceclimbing. The Red Cross in Lyngen arranged a spot for us with electricity and water to have as a base camp for some days. Many thanks for that!
"Ras al Gully", a 300 m WI5 icefall classic on Pollfjellet was our first target. But already from the bottom we could see that the ice pillar in the middle of the fall had a huge fracture through it. So we changed plans and started on "Havella" the almost neighboring WI4 instead. Nice climbing all the way to the top with good conditions. More alpine ice than water ice. Topped out just before sunset and we enjoyed the great view towards Lyngseidet and Kåfjord in the blue hour. And could toast to Signars birthday once we got back to our rolling home.
Birthday breakfast for Signar in our cozy new home
Sea to summit ice climbing on Havella
Emma, close to the top, after 300 m of "ice ice baby"
Signar following along during the blue hour in Lyngen
Our target for the following day was "Lyngdalsfossen", a 200 m WI5 icefall close to Daltinden, a classic ski-touring mountain. Easy approach on hard crust before we arrived at the base of the waterfall. The ice looked okay and Emma did a nice lead on the first pitch. After 55 meters she made her belay, and told me that the conditions were mediocre. I made my way up and agreed. Snow and sections of air-filled ice. I took the next pitch, better ice but still challenging conditions. At the end of the pitch, a piece of ice must have come loose, without me noticing, and it hit Emma hard in the neck and shoulder. For some seconds it looked to me like she was hanging unconscious in her harness. As I heard her scream in agony I felt somewhat relieved (she was clearly not unconscious!) and I made a quick abalakov and abseiled back to her as fast as I could . She was in great pain and shocked, screaming at the top of her lungs. Gave her some strong and fast-acting pain-killers and made a rescue plan. We decided to lower her carefully down to the base. Made a new anchor and joined her. The two km hike down the mountain side, out of the valley and back to the car was painful, but she grit her teeth and was a real trooper. I suggested to call someone to pick us up, but she refused to.
Took the car to the ER in Lyngseidet (where Emma worked when we met) and got sent on to the hospital in Tromsø. Spent the whole weekend in the hospital, doing x-ray, CT-scans and MRT. Met with the orthopedics and the neurosurgeons. Got really well taken care of, and on sunday afternoon we were released. Emma with a cervical collar and a shoulder sling, me with a troubled mind, feeling guilty. Diagnosis's: AC-luxation, small fracture in the corner of one of the cervical vertebrae, and a potential instability in the neck. New x-ray in a week to determine whether an instability or not, too much tissue edema to say for certain at the time....
Oh boy! That was the end of our three month tour, after only 2,5 days! Goddamn!! Of course our mood sank to the bottom of the North Sea, but we have had great support from the closest friends and family. And today we have just been at the hospital again, doing a new X-ray and meeting with the neurosurgeons. They are not certain, but there seems to be no instability in the neck. So today the cervical collar was thrown away! :) The shoulder sling has to stay for another week, and then there are several weeks of rehab. And no activities that can involve falling until the neck is pain free. Right now it hurts like hell.... So there will be some time before Emma is back on the mountain. But we are optimistic!
In the meantime, at least we have a cozy new home... :)
Our new home, heading for the mountains....
Approaching Lyngdalsfossa, looking all nice and kind from the distance...