New Zealand based Adventure Magazine recently published an article about skiing in arctic Norway, in which I shot the photos:
Another job together with writer Magnus Wistrom at Fishcube Media in Oppdal, Norway. We planned the trip to Oppdal in the fall to shoot for the Swedish outdoor magazine Brant, clothing company O’Neill, and backpack manufacturer Ortovox. However, we had a really hard time to find a week that suited our schedule and offered good snow conditions. The winter here in Scandinavia has been weird and very unpredictable.
Norway usually gets loads of snow but the heavy snowfalls have been rare and far between. At the same time, the southwest coast in Sweden offered ice climbers and skiers one of the best winter seasons in a very long time.
We waited as long as we could to get a chance to get good powder conditions but the time seemed to run out on us. The season was coming to an end and we couldn’t wait any longer, so on the 18th of March we packed the car and headed north. We got a few good days up in the norweigan mountains but the snow conditions made us wish for a heavy drop of powder every night. Never the less, we did what we came for. Stay tuned, the article will be in print in a fall issue of Brant.
Oppdal turned out to be a very good place for offpist skiing, at least if you are willing to walk to a little while.
Our guide Torje even called in the local talent team in freestyle skiing to jump in front of my camera for a few hours. Great fun!! These youngsters were so energetic and very talented, really easy to work with.
What’s wrong with a classic 8? Is it really soooo 1980-isch? Joakim Lundberg turning the 8 into a dollar sign…
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.
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 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.