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I first came to Trondheim to finish my masters in addition to find ice and just climb. Though I only stayed for nine months, my exchange shaped the years to come – and my life in general – more than I’d like to admit.

Five years pass and I finally fulfill my promise to move back. Although I try not to dwell in the past too much, I can’t help but look at who I was then and how I evolved into the person – the climber – I am today.


Gareth and Sofie on the first ascent of Nystuggubekken

With the winter season kicking off promisingly I venture out into Drivdalen again. At first it seems as though not much has changed. Same climbs, same partners, same stops at the same gas stations for the same “boller” for breakfast. But something’s different.


Toralf, Sofie and Gareth starting the first pitch of Tøftfossen

Where we often needed a full alpine day out to climb one of the Drivdalen classics I now climb multiple in a single push and still have time for a coffee and kanelsnur at Smak og Behag. Five years of climbing don’t seem to go unnoticed.


Gareth tops out on Nystuggubekken

But rather than just experience gained and maybe, to a certain extend, increased physicality, I do think that visionary ascents and linkups of professional climbers around the world inspire me to try harder and look at things differently. To look at myself – as a climber – differently.


Toralf and Gareth on the last pitch of Tøftfossen

While still on the lookout for a job and a pretty rough start here in general, I find my peace of mind in the mountains. Where I used to go out in search of thrill and adventure, climbing now seems to have a more meditative goal. Out and about, in the snowy hills, hacking deep blue ice, something inside me just clicks and makes a big smile appear on my face.


The author, happy to be touching ice again

Not sure whether this semi-spiritual crap has to make much sense to anybody. I guess all I can say is that winter is here and I’m pretty freakin’ stoked about it! Lines are forming; I’m in shape; my tools are sharp; and damn, we’re gonna climb it all! See you in Oppdal.