The Cadet Centre for Adventurous Training (CCAT) once again based its annual ice climbing course in Rjukan, Norway during the period 9-16 March 2013.
The eight students on the course were a mixed bunch consisting of four complete novices (one male Cadet, one female PI and two Cadet Adult Instructors) and four intermediate Cadet Adult Instructors who were on the course to gain further experience towards being assessed for the Joint Service Winter Climbing Leader (WCL) qualification next year. Unlike last year the ice was in abundance everywhere but it was bullet hard due to the extremely cold conditions, -13 degrees.
Why pick Norway and in particular Rjukan for an ice climbing course?
Norway is a country of high mountain plateaus, deep valleys and even deeper fjords that were hewn out from the last ice age. The scenery is awesome and never fails to capture the imagination particularly when it is covered in its full winter mantle. It is a playground in the winter, better known for its wild Nordic ski touring but equally popular with ice climbers.
It is also easily accessible from UK. This year we decided to fly from Manchester to (Oslo) Sandefjord via Amsterdam using KLM who have a generous 23Kg baggage allowance. Rjukan is only three hour’s drive from the airport. Once in Rjukan all the ice climbing is within fifteen minutes of the town centre.
A few words from two of the novice ice climbers that best describes the CADETICE experience.
‘CADETICE was another brilliant CCAT course. Rjukan and the surrounding area were amazing with many huge ice falls. I went from nervously hanging off my ice climbing tools and scratching at the ice with my crampons at the beginning of the week to feeling much more confident by the middle of the week. By the end of the week I wondered what the fuss was all about. Overall, a fantastic week which was just about affordable on a student budget’ PI Katie Bowen (20yrs), Glasgow and Lanarkshire ACF.
‘I joined CADETICE in Norway with advanced years, the minimum experience and not a little trepidation. What a week! Superb instruction guaranteed skills acquisition and an incredible amount of fun in very good company. The instructors were top class, the scenery stunning and the sense of achievement at the end of it all was palpable’. Major Brian Todd (62yrs) Royal Belfast Academy Institution CCF.
The four novices were awarded the Joint Service Winter Climbing Foundation (WCF) qualification.