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Europe, Norway, Tromso Region, Romsdalen, Oliskardstind, Ut i Vår Hage

Oliskardstind, Ut i Vår Hage. For two years I’d kept an eye on an unclimbed line on Oliskard- stind, but I’d never been in the right place at the right time. Sometimes we travel to far-away places in hopes of sending the climbs of our dreams and forget about those in our backyards. In early December an amazing line up a 1,400m face 15 minutes drive from my house in the Romsdalen appeared to be in. The route starts just 100m above sea level and tops out at 1,530m. The key section was finally there, a smear of ice on a steep wall linking easier sections of snow and ice.

My friend Eiliv Ruud lives just below the wall; he can see the line from his kitchen window. His answer to my question was concise: “I’m in!” We packed light and prepared for a full day. I met Eiliv at 7:00 a.m. In the dark we had problems getting off the ground when our planned start turned out to be a vertical 20m of more-water, less-ice. Instead, we began with a leftward-angling ramp, and by first light, after simul-soloing and some pitching, we reached easier ground. We knew that the smear halfway up would be the crux and were relieved to find that what looked like snow was actually perfect ice climbing, though not so easy to protect. The sun was just rising, and we experienced the alpenglow you only get on short winter days in the north. The smear gave 150m of 75-90° sn’ice, beautiful and interesting. More pitches and simul-climbing in easier terrain took us to the upper snowfield. We wanted to make a direct finish, but what we thought would be one pitch of easy rock now looked like 200m of hard mixed. We bypassed this section by a leftward traverse and joined the summit plateau at 3:00 p.m. The descent went smoothly, and we were home in time to enjoy beers with friends.

It’s funny how we travel so much, using the little money we have, but don’t always see the opportunities in front of our noses. We named the route Ut i Vår Hage, which is a popular TV comedy in Norway. In English it means something like Out in Our Backyard.

Nils Nielsen, Norway