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Extreme Photo of the Week: Ice Climber Chad Peele on First Ascents in Norway’s Fjord Country


Photograph by Celin Serbo, see more in our Extreme Photo of the Week

Adventure: Where were you climbing in Norway?

Chad Peele: This shot was in a valley outside of Eidfjord.

A: Norway is pretty sweet for ice climbing (or so we hear from Will Gadd who put this area on our Adventure Bucket List). Would you agree?
CP: Yeah, Norway is awesome for ice climbing! The glaciers of past carved such a labyrinth of fjords which hold plenty of water and just the right temperatures to form long flows of ice.

A: What were you thinking in this moment?
CP: I'm sooo cold!

A: Why does the ice look golden like that?
CP: I'm not exactly sure why this ice had that golden color, but typically frozen waterfalls will change colors depending on the minerals and sediment in the water.

A: Tell us about this route?
CP: We climbed this route in three pitches, probably totaling around 500 to 600 feet. By most standards, it was not an incredibly difficult route with a rating around WI4-4+, but it was so cold that day that everything felt so much harder! We thought that calling it "Goldmember" after the Austin Powers movie was a fitting and humorous name.

A: How do you scout first ascents? Both in terms of finding them and planning your route?
CP: Scouting and researching for first ascents relies on a lot of local word of mouth concerning where people have been climbing and where people have not travelled to. To be honest, it takes a lot of walking around with binoculars in the cold and can be quite tricky sometimes.

A: How long have you been ice climbing? How'd you get started?
CP: I first learned to ice climb in Alaska with St. Elias Alpine Guides in 1997 and have kept it as a winter sport/winter work ever since then.

A: What's next for you?
CP: Right now I'm ice guiding in the San Juans of Colorado while waiting for more snow and planning my upcoming Alaska and Washington state mountain guiding season.