Last year I was contacted by Calle Magnusson, a journalist and writer, who was looking for good publishable photos of the Swedish elite ice climber Markuz Lindgren. A couple of years ago I worked with Markuz a few times in Norway, so my ice climbing archive was good to go. I was happy to be able to contribute with a few photos, which I hope will inspire the readers. Finally, this fall the book Adrenalin  was released, and when I got a copy in my hands I was very pleased to see it in print.

The book is a very solid piece of work with lots of adrenalinish photos. Calle devotes each chapter to an adventurer, with a good mix of personal portraits, stories and anecdotes. Adrenalin will guide the reader through parachuting, alpinism, surfing, mountain hiking, river rafting, climbing, free diving and glacier hiking in Sweden and Norway.

Cover of the Adrenalin book. Contributing photo in Adrenalin.Contributing photo in Adrenalin. Contributing photo in Adrenalin.

Ice climbing

Hiked along with my two friends Peter & Peter to check out the local ice climbing in Gullmarsfjorden, a fjord in Bohuslän on the west coast of Sweden.

Going deeper into the fjord. Skates instead of boots makes it a whole lot faster…

Checking out potential climbs:

Glamour glamour

The life as a climbing photographer is usually very glamorous. Three course dinners. Oysters and champagne. Going to grand opening parties on the red carpet in your Armani shoes…

Well, not really. Most often there’s a lot of hard work involved in getting into a good shooting position. Usually a lot more time consuming than most people think. Fixing ropes, rappeling, ascending ropes. I thought about this after my last weekend in Norway shooting on Vettisfossen. It might be interesting to share some nerdy statistics of what a typical climbing-photography weekend costs in terms of sweat, lactic acid, and adrenalin.

This is my slimmed gear I brought on the trip. Doesn’t seem to be too much ehh? In spite of all, it’s winter time.

Twelwe hours in the car in hard weather takes a toll on you, especially when the alarm goes off at 4 AM. Since the pillar on Vettisfossen isn’t wide enough for two rope teams, we just had to be first. Not many people climb this route at all, but we didn’t want to take any chances. A quick breakfast on the stove, and then off to hit the approach up to Vettis.

And now to the really nerdy stuff. Below is a photo of all the gear I carried up to Vettisfossen, which is almost every piece of gear I packed in the car. But remember, this was for one single day of climbing.


A detailed list of all the gear:

*Camera incl small lenses and camera bag: 5,5 kg
*Tele zoom lens: 2,4 kg
Tripod: 1,7 kg
*Photo chair: 1,2 kg
*Gorilla tripod: 0,25 kg
*Harness: 0,5 kg
*Jumar and carabiners: 1,5 kg
*Crampons: 1 kg
Ice axes: 1,1 kg
*Grigri: 0,3 kg
*Quickdraws: 0,5 kg
*Slings: 0,1 kg
*Static Rope ca 110m: 6 kg
*Backpack: 3,3 kg
*Down jacket: 1 kg
Down pants: 0,8 kg
Thermos: 0,6 kg
*Extra long sleave function sweater: 0,25 kg
*Water: 1 kg
*Gloves: 0,3 kg
*Helmet: 0,4 kg
Small backpack: 1,5 kg
Sandwiches: 0,3 kg
*Walki talkies: 0,2 kg
*Phone: 0,2 kg
*Goretex jacket: 0,8 kg
*Headlamps: 0,12 kg
*Hand heaters: 0,08 kg
*Knive: 0,08 kg
*First aid kit: 0,2 kg
*Extra gloves: 0,06 kg
*Kneepads: 0,05 kg

Total weight: 33,3 kg (* = 27,3 kg)

I carried all this on the two hour approach to the base of the climb. Items marked with * is what I carried from the base of the canyon to the top of the fjell, which was a very hard walk of about 300 vertical meters in kneedeep powder. Since I was in a hurry to get up to the top of the ice fall in good time to rig my static rope, this turned out to be one of the most physically hardest things I have ever done.

Was it worth it? Yes, it definetely was. While sweating, swearing and getting pumped with lactic acid I had a great time, and enjoyed every second of it!!!

Over & out.

Vettisfossen, Norway

Vettisfossen is the highest free falling waterfall in northern Europe with its 275 meters, and in the winter it forms a mighty ice climb. The surrounding is spectacular, and you feel very small standing at the bottom of the ice. I was invited to come along Gothenburg’s own hardmen Ragnar Crona and Johan Sundell documenting the ascent. Perfect, since I was recently asked to shoot some ice climbing for the German backpack and avalanche manufacturer Ortovox.

Since the top pillar was connected to the huge bottom cone, Ragnar and Johan could climb the direct start, i.e. straight up from the cone. Most of the time the top pillar is reached via a travers from the right higher up.

This is right before Johan reaches the third belay:

Ragnar on his way up to the third belay:

Ragnar on the fourth and last pitch:

The two climbers stretched every single pitch as far as they could, and on the last pitch Ragnar aimed for the trees at the top but came up about ten meters short.

“To do the direct start on Vettisfossen, and do it in four fully stretched pitches was definetely the highlight of my ice climbing career”, says a happy but tired
Ragnar Crona after topping out and reaching the sunlight at the top of the canyon.

Fjordland ice climbing

Gullmarsfjorden is one of the most typical threshold fjords in Sweden, and in a good winter (i.e. below 0 Celcius for a consistent time) a few nice ice falls forms. This past winter has been very good in that aspect. I went up to the fjordlands to check out the ice falls. The falls are not very high but the surrounding is beautiful.

In the middle of the fjord approaching one of the ice falls.

Some people just can’t stay out of your way, can they?

Another popular activity on the fjords is ice fisching. These guys could sit still on their foldable chairs for hours in freezing cold. And I thought that ice climbers were tought, hard men made of steel. Today, it felt more like the ice climbers were fragile papermen that
could easily break, and the fischermen were the real hardmen.

The ice climbing is over for today, but the fisch is still there, lurking in the dark beneath your floor…