Climbing at Grefsenaasen / klatring på Grefsenåsen (Oslo) 10/07/08

Grefsen BroccoliFirst of all, the main reason I’m writing this is so that first time visitors to this interesting crag, just minutes away from where I work (Storo in Oslo), will not go through the same hunting process as we did! First of all, the guide book (Klatrefører for Oslo og omegn – 2003) is pretty out of date, 5 years is a long time in a city that likes to keep building – I don’t think you’ll ever see Oslo without a crane or 6 on the skyline. Secondly, the crag is pretty well hidden – so unless you know the exact paths to take, you could well spend a few hours in the forest of dark green broccoli…

We approached along the road, as described by page 53, looking for a locked car park 150m from our path up the steep hill. It was ok to park along side this car park, so we were told… except it doesn’t exist any more – obliterated in what we now realise was probably the new apartment building built into the side of the hill.

After driving up and down the road, between the two solid way-points on the map that we knew we should be between, we settled on a small car park with what looked suspiciously like climbers’ cars. Next to these cars, was a very small, steep path which wound up the hillside. Perfect. About an hour later, and a few litres of sweat, we headed back to the car.

Grefsenåsen viewpointLuckily for us, it was a beautiful day, 6pm in Oslo at this time of year can be pretty warm, and it didn’t disappoint us today. We drove up to the top car park at Grefsenkollen, and after little help from some grumpy truckers, and avoiding the couple who looked like they were doing something they shouldn’t be, we (just Torkjel and I this time) headed into the forest for another look, this time attacking from above.

More sweat later, after zig-zagging across the hill, we eventually hit the lower road again. Still no climbing in sight! After a short jog along the road, we found what looked like a promising path up into the broccoli, so we went for it, only to end up at a solid platform with several discarded “engangsgrill” disposible barbequeues – we had found the viewpoint. Now according to our trusty guidebook, the crag was a little “up and to the left” of the viewpoint, but that turned out to be a lie… So we fetched the girls, parked up at the top car park again and led them to the viewpoint, where we enjoyed our own barbequeue and soaked up the sun and the view, and I got to play a bit with my camera.

During our feast, we spotted a guy who looked like he knew his way around, and Torkjel approached him to ask the ultimate question “dude, where the hell have you hidden the rocks?” (well, I wasn’t there but I imagine that’s what he said…) and he said “they are just down there, to the right“. So Torkjel took off on a little recce, and sure enough he came back with a big grin on his face, we had found the crag, and it had only taken us about 2 hours!

Climbing as the sun sets

All in all it was a great evening. We got a good workout in the forest – I love orienteering so running through trees was no chore, we had a barbequeue with a stunning view of Oslo, and we climbed 3 good routes, all before 10pm.

  • Beinbrudd – Bolted, Russ led Cecilie second, Torkjel third
  • Svaet I – Traditional protection, Russ led Torkjel second, Cec third
  • Svaet II – Toproped central line variant

More pictures are available in the gallery at and via Facebook for those of you looky enough to be friends 😉 Cecilie has also blogged a bit about this here.

The crag can be easily seen on – refer to the picture below. The yellow x is the viewpoint, the blue line is the crag, and the red circle is the approximate location of the hole in the fence that you have to crawl under to gain access to the crag! It’s easy to spot from the road if you are driving past – it’s the only part of the huge wire fence you could imagine crawling under, and has obvious erosion where many a climber has trodden before you.

Gulesider view of important points

I didn’t bother to take GPS coordinates while I was there, but my guesses from Google Earth, based on the Gulesider arial photo are as follows:

59°57’23.94″N  10°48’0.04″E
59°57’22.03″N  10°47’57.34″E
Hole in the fence:
59°57’24.44″N  10°47’54.06″E

If anyone wants to correct me on those, please feel free! I’ll be sure to verify them myself the next time we are there – but if you do spend 2 hours trying to find the crag, I hope you have as much fun as we did in the process!

Another point to note – which I’ll expand on next time we visit with a bit more time, is that a lot of the routes seem to be bolted now with new Petzl Limbolts. The guide book indicates that all the routes are trad… I’ll take a better look next time, and maybe save someone the trouble of taking along a lot of gear for their first visit!


Russ has a rest, and smiles for the camera

Yes, I am a vegetarian

VeggiePeople ask me about being a vegetarian all the time, and ask me daft questions like “do you eat fish?”, perhaps even more so now I live in the land of Vikings and father-daughter-son-baby moose hunting safaris.

I just read this article and it was almost like I’d written it myself, so if you want a better understanding of me, and many millions of people like me, take a read… It’s pretty spot on 😉

Week 19…

So week 19 of 2008 is almost upon us (thank the Scandinavians for their odd use of week numbers instead of “real” dates) and the sun is shining. That means no excuses – the running shoes need to come out at some point and the bike can’t complain about getting wet…

  • Monday – cycle to work, then to norskkurs? Hmm, maybe I’ll have to think about that second part, since I don’t really want to be sat in a classroom smelling like I’ve just run a marathon…
  • Tuesday – Volleyball
  • Wednesday – same as Monday
  • Thursday – cycle to work, climb in evening
  • Friday – rest
  • Weekend – Hoping for some climbing/orienteering or at least get out for a run in the forest

My “diet” has been going ok – finding more and more things to keep me full, but generally just relying on endless amounts of fruit, rice cakes and smoothies to keep me going during the work day! Still don’t feel 100% but cutting out the dairy has certainly helped.

Almost Vegan but feeling better


After a couple of weeks without lactose I’m starting to feel a bit better, my stomach has settled a bit and more importantly I haven’t feel so tired and malnourished for the last few days. As a vegetarian for almost 20 years I’m used to being picky about what I eat, but avoiding lactose (chocolate!!) has been very tough.

Things still aren’t perfect, I won’t go into the details, but at least my general outlook has improved and now I feel like I can start training a bit. It’s probably too late for the Gothenberg Half marathon which I have entered, that’s on the 17th May so doesn’t really give me enough preparation time. Last year I only gave myself about 2 weeks of training before doing the race, but I had been much more active in general back then so it didn’t go too badly.

The orienteering season has just started, and the weather is looking better and better so there will be opportunities to climb soon too – so I need to get my ass into gear, as my fitness level has taken a steep dive since I came to Norway.

I hope that by recording my training plans and progress online, it will motivate me and give me realistic targets to chase. Also anybody that wants to join me will be more than welcome.

Since this is the first plan – it will include tomorrow (Sunday) but future plans will be Mon – Sun as I don’t want to get accused of being one of those “week starts on Sunday” types 🙂

Plan for week 5th May 2008

  • Sun – Fixed orienteering course in Østmarka (details in this pdf) or if the weather is bad – climbing
  • Tue – Cycle to work, volleyball training
  • Wed – Cycle to work, cycle from work to norskkurs in city centre, probably train home 😉
  • More to come… (Mo has friends visiting so not sure about the weekend)

Symfony and I – an introduction

Symfony bookI’ve been working with PHP for several years, and in November of 2007 I became part of a team tasked with researching Symfony for a new web project, with the goal of creating a plugin oriented media portal for Norway.

Other than some Java training at university, and the odd borrowed third-party classes (notably my PHP background up to this point was purely based on procedural style programming. I’d worked on some big projects, some I’m proud of and some I really want to go back to and rewrite from scratch, a sentence I’m sure you will hear from many “code monkeys”.

Symfony for me, was my first breach into the much hyped object oriented style PHP5 – and a whole new way of thinking. In the following articles, I hope to share with you the experiences I have had, with PHP5, Symfony and any other related technologies that I stumble across.

One of the things I have realised in the last few weeks, is that when searching for answers to problems that are not well documented, the most common results are in the form of developer blogs. Some of these have been invaluable to me and I’d like to credit them here, I’d also like this to become one of those blogs – since some of the answers I have sought have not been so easily forthcoming.

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