Sunday, November 01, 2009

22nd July

The various watch alarms started beeping at intervals between 6:30am and 7am. Tasha effortlessly rolled out of bed while Gabby and I needed that little bit of time to "adjust to the light." Still, even after that there was no sign of movement from the rest of the group so we figured there was time to go to the toilet before we put on breakfast. Apparently not. Golumn came up to the girls toilet and rudely shouted "Do you mind moving?" Naturally we questioned this and he jus tsaid " we need breakfast." The worst thing was he left, to go to the toilet. It would be an understatement we were pissed off. Ironically that morning we made far too much porridge so there was enough for all needed. Of course we got a row for making too much, at least it didn't taste like charchol.

There was a meeting down at the "Tring" and it was from Mark who was obviously used to giving talks to young people about the decadence of money and technology. He was also very into his reflective journals. These were to be a burden on us near the end of the trip when it became known that that had to be filled in before we could get our gold Duke of Edinburgh sections. Mark also showed a clever demonstration about the importance of optimism on this kind of trip. Us as a group chose the tallest and strongest boy, this was Trou (one of the Army boys). Now he had to push up as Mark pushed his arm downwards and visa versa. At first Trou "won" but then Mark showed him a drawing on a bit of paper which the crowd couldn't see. When they did the experiment again Mark "won" and, although there are a few variables that may have altered the results, apparently this was due to the picture Mark drew; it was of a sad face and this made a tiny drop in the lymphocyte count which made Trou slightly weaker allowing Mark to beat him. The moral being a small trigger can have a big effect.

We took more food up from the van to base camp and got sorted with ice axes, harnesses and slings and before we knew it it was time to set up the glacier for the first time. Before we left we got a glimpse of raindeer across the river from basecamp which was just the beginning of the stunnig views on out trip up the glacier. Thanks to the mediterranean weather the landscape was looking at something you would expect to find in Northern Italy not Northern Norway! There was a magnificent waterfall with an almost vertical erratic wall to climb up which then revealed a tempting glacial lake. Freezing cold water sounded like just what we needed after our first ascent! I can imagine we were probably wrong.

We had our lunch at a gigantic overhanging boulder that became known as Diner Boulder. For lunch we were treated to Pitta breads and peanut butter with flapjack for pudding. The day was spent learning some climbing techniques including:
Block - Tying the rope around a massive rock
Spike - tying the rope around a massive spikey rock
Thread - Looping the rope through a crack between two rocks.

Abseiling - South African and Classic(totally preffered classic, it was quicker)
Re-thread knot was the basic 1st step in tying your shoe.
Coiling and preparing the rope to get rid of kinks.

The walk back to camp was lovely and leisurely and we took many photos in caves but the main reason we were late was becuase we weren't great at keeping track of the path. Still we only arrived half an hour after everyone else. Before we knew it it was time to fit crampons which was just more faff before some good old stove faff to finish the day...


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