When to go
Ice climbing is a very condition dependent activity and there is no guarantee of good conditions as the weather has its own mysterious ways of behaving. Despite this there are statistics available that could be helpful when planning your trip. The earliest ascents recorded at Rjukan have been done at the beginning of October, though this month is obviously not a good choice! For the best condit
ions, with stable ice that has settled, you should consider mid December to the end of March, with February as prime time. January has short days, but generally good conditions. February is much like January, but also has the benefit of longer days. The average temperature for January and February is -6.5°C to -7.5°C, but you can encounter -25°C or less if you are unlucky. If this is the scenario you should consider skiing or other activities. Periods of extremely cold weather do not usually last very long (2-3 days) but can of course be very frustrating. If you choose to go climbing in these conditions you should be aware of the fragility of the ice, which is very brittle at low temperatures. If there has been a longer period of cold weather the ice c
an be of good quality. March can usually also provide good conditions, but there is a risk of warmer temperatures. The waterfalls on the north side of the valley are usually destroyed by the sun in March.
How to Get There
Rjukan is situated in southern Norway and is easily accessible from Oslo as well as other regional airports that have domestic flights. There are bus communications to Rjukan, but a car will be needed by most people in order to get around to the different areas. From Great Britain there are several low-cost airlines that fly to Norway. RyanAir offers cheap flights from Stansted, Liverpool, Newcastle and Glasgow to Oslo Torp (by Sandefjord). Driving time from Oslo Torp is approximately 3 hours, and from Oslo Airport Gardermoen it is 3.5 hours. It is good idea to buy a road map, which is obtainable at any petrol station. Be aware of the need to take care on some of the roads, and Road 37 in particular, if you are not used to driving in winter conditions with special winter tyres.
Most major car rental companies are represented at the two airports. Driving can be difficult on snow-covered roads and speeding tickets are common; for your own safety and to avoid donating your holiday budget to the authorities, you would be well advised to keep your speed down and drive carefully.
Shopping and Prices
You will need some Norwegian currency – Kroner – but often you will be able to pay with a credit card. Rjukan is a small town but most of what you need is available within the town. There are supermarkets – Rimi, Meny, Prix and Kiwi – which will provide food, beer etc. Liquor and strong beer must be bought at the Vinmonopolet which is a government-controlled alcohol outlet. The price of alcohol in Norway is high due to taxes.
Generally the prices in Norway are high and this is especially true of dining out. There is a restaurant at the Park Hotel Rjukan and fast food on the opposite side of the road. There is also a Chinese restaurant.
Tourist Office – Loads of good information about the area in English plus accommodation contacts.
Web cam – In addition to the pictures it includes a detailed weather forecast with temperatures so you can follow the development of the ice over the period before you arrive.
Local Climbing Club – Has a written guide (in Norwegian) to the area.
Climbing Topos – A Norwegian website with topos to different climbing locations in Norway – ice climbing, sport climbing and bouldering.
Mountain Environment – A PDF guide to the Rjukan area.
www.iceclimbrjukan.com – Extensive site with contacts, information and reports (in Norwegian).