Monday, January 5, 2009

Drytooling in Hans Tavsens Park, Copenhagen

This Sunday I went to Hans Tavsens Park in Copenhagen to drytool on two concrete climbing walls with Kristoffer Szilas, Anders Strange Nielsen and Morten Johansen. In particular Kristoffer has been very active in making first ascents on the walls which are up to 5 meters high and have just published a drytooling guide which can be downloaded in PDF format here.

Morten Johansen leading the left route facing the graveyard on the highest wall (graded D5+).

The drytooling experience in Hans Tavsens Park is very realistic compared to mixed climbing on rock: you have to "feel" the holds carefully to find good placements and balance your crampons and ice tools carefully in order not to fall. Finally, the walls are bolted and with top anchors allowing you to lead the routes.

Kristoffer making the first ascent of the left route on the short wall facing the graveyard (graded D6-).

Another option if you like drytooling training in Copenhagen is the outdoor climbing tower on Artillerivej 71 as previously described on my blog. There you climb on big wooden holds which gives more physical pump but less technical training.

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Saturday, January 3, 2009

Nordic XC skiing with a baby

This year Elvira and I went to Beitostølen, Norway to celebrate New Year while nordic / cross country skiing with our 4 month old baby Sofie. We were extremely lucky with the weather and thus enjoyed 5 days of skiing in almost perfect conditions in the beautiful scenery below and above the tree line.

Coming back today we already met people asking the question "Is is possible to ski with such a young baby!?". Well, the answer is YES, although you obviously have to be a good skier and take extra precautions to keep the baby warm. That said, all babies I have heard of love staying in a ski pulk / sledge and will sleep deeply for hours - the sound of the skis going through the snow is better than any nursery rhyme!

Rather than using a traditional ski pulk for the baby we bought the XC Ski Kit to convert our Chariot Cougar 1 Carrier into a sledge with skis on:
Elvira pulling our Cougar 1 Chariot fitted with the XC Ski Kit.

The Chariot system offers several advantages and disadvantages compared to the traditional ski pulk:

  • The Chariot is lifted above the ground and the interior is thus warmer than a pulk.
  • The skis offer less resistance than a pulk (in most snow conditions) and is thus easier to pull.
  • You can easily put the wheels back on the Chariot and then use it in the evening as a trolley.
  • The cabin is wind-proof and thus offers better protection than a pulk - in particular when the baby/child is awake and wants to look out.
  • The Chariot is higher than a pulk and thus much more prone to catch side wind and potentially tip over (happened to me once by a strong wind gust which was NOT a nice experience).
As for Beitostølen it is a very nice place with lots of cross country trails below and above the tree line offering circular routes for almost all weather conditions. Most trails are marked with wands and can thus easily be followed even in bad weather and some trails are even lighted till late in the evening. Later in the season when there is more snow there are also more adventurous routes for the experiences backcountry skier that are not marked or groomed. The area also has a small downhill ski area which is great for kids and beginners but would bore an experienced skier in less than a day.....

Well, we had a great trip - a few pictures and movie clips are shown below:

The author pulling the Chariot with the prominent peak "Bitihorn" (1607 m) in the background.

Elvira and the Bitihorn.

Family picture with Sofie hiding in the Chariot.

The Chariot XC Ski kit can obviously also be used for snowshoeing which we did on our last day.
A video of the beautiful surroundings.
A video of me skiing with the Chariot.
On our third day Elvira took a rest day while I skied one of the longest trails to the foot of Bitihorn. It was a windy day which kept most people away from this wind exposed route and I thus had a great adventure with little baby bunting sleeping soundly in the Chariot.