Ice Climbing Improver Course


The course is for people with rock climbing experience, or basic ice climbing experience.


Day 1: Arrival and Introductions

Most people fly to Oslo Airport and then car share for the three-hour drive to Rjukan. When you sign up, we put you in touch with other participants through the Facebook event so that you can arrange this. You will meet at the hostel at around 8pm for introductions and to collect any equipment you may need from the gear store.

Day 2: Ice Climbing Technique

Day 2 focuses on technique and balance, including crampon technique and mastering your ice axe swing. You'll also have the opportunity to learn more advance techniques for steep ice, if you want. We typically do this in the Gaustatoppen single-pitch crag (around 20m tall).

Day 3: Ice Anchors & Rope Skills

On day 3 you’ll learn how to judge ice quality, setup anchors and place ice screws. You will do this at a great single pitch crag like Presenil, with plenty of climbing to put these skills into practice!

Day 4: Climbing at Vemork

Today you’ll climb in the atmospheric Vemork area. Putting your skills to good practice, you’ll be scaling icefalls up to 50m high. Don't worry though – there are climbs for all levels, ranging from Wi3 (moderate) to Wi5+ (hard).

Day 5: Alpine-style route

On day 5, you’ll climb a long alpine-style route such as Fabrikkfossen – an epic 7-pitch route with great views over the valley. The choices are almost endless however, so your instructor will pick routes based on the group and make sure everyone is appropriately challenged for the last day.


What's Included

  • Professional guides.
  • Accommodation in the Rjukan Ice Climbers hostel (called Dale Skole).
  • Technical equipment (helmet, harness, ice axes, crampons etc).
  • Winter mountaineering boots: See FAQs.
Not Included
  • All transport, including transfers to/from the airport and climbing areas: See FAQs.
  • Meals: See FAQs.
Have a question?

If you have any questions about this trip or want to speak with an expert, get in touch.

We're ready to help.

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Team Images
Team Images

Rated 5.0

3 verified reviews


(Jan 2022)

Great introduction to ice climbing from many years of rock climbing. Amazing experienced instructors, who supported and pushed us throughout the 4 days of ice climbing and chose routes to suit the team each day. An amazing homely hostel with all the facilities you could need. Would recommend to anyone who wanted to try Ice climbing.


(Jan 2020)

Just got back from another amazing trip with Skyhook .The old school hostel is outstanding providing hot showers with heated flooring and also a sauna . A drying room and work bench with tools for sharpening crampons and ice axes .so great place that has everything you need .In the lounge area is a massive kitchen to use and cook your evening meals. A log burner fire and comfy seating to relax after a day of ice climbing. Skyhook have hit the nail on the head with this course . Catering for every level from beginner to experienced.The ice climbing is amazing with multiple locations to choose from. The instructors are top notch and super qualified . very nice people and pass on lots and lots of knowledge. once again..... Thank you Damien and skyhook for a great trip.


(Jan 2020)

Absolutely amazing experience. One of the most organized and friendly hostiles I've ever been to! The guides were both extremely informed, well spoken, and just great people to hang out with. The first day of the improver course we all got together did some climbing and review of basics, and then broke up into smaller 1:2 ratio groups to go over goal specific stuff. I learned a lot, had a blast, and will definitely be back to Norway in the short future. 10/10 recommendation for this course.


Before you go

This course is designed for people who have either: - Rock climbing experience - competent at top-roping (belaying and tying in) either indoors or outside. - Or, 2-days ice climbing experience (e.g. our Beginners Ice Climbing trip). If you're more advanced than this (e.g. you lead climbing on rock and have some experience ice climbing), you may want to consider the Advanced Ice Climbing course instead.

Documents: • Passport • European Health Insurance Card (if appropriate) • Travel insurance details • Boarding passes for flights • Wallet • Driver’s license & rental car details (if needed) Clothing: Please make sure you don't bring cotton clothing. Cotton clothing is great for the summer but loses heat very quickly in the winter. • 4 base-layer t-shirts (e.g. running t-shirts) • Fleece/soft-shell jacket • ‘Booster layer’ e.g. second fleece • Waterproof jacket • Down jacket for warmth, if possible (from e.g. Rab, Alpkit, Mountain Equipment) • Spare clothes for evenings • Underwear • Base-layer trousers (optional) • Soft-shell trousers or other warm trousers • Waterproof trousers • Swimwear for the sauna • 4 thick wool mountaineering socks • 2 pairs of waterproof/snowproof gloves or mitts • Winter mountaineering boots that fit crampons (these can be rented directly from the hostel if not owned. The cost of rental is 250NOK for the whole course.) Other: • Small rucksack • Water bottle/thermos • Sunglasses • Glasses/contact lenses (if needed) • Sleeping bag liner for the hostel (you can rent sheets if not owned) • Bathroom items, including towel • Electronics - Head torch, travel adaptor (French plug style), phone & charger • Lipsil • Book/mp3 player for flights Climbing Equipment (optional): If you own any of the following, you may bring them along as well (otherwise, they will be provided free of charge): • Harness • Helmet • Ice axes • Crampons • Ice screws • Ice clippers • 4 screwgates • 2 prussik loops • Belay device

Please see above for trip inclusions and exclusions.

A moderate level of fitness is required. Some rock or ice climbing experience is also needed. This course is a perfect progression from the Beginners trip, but you can also join directly if you have rock climbing experience.

All specialist equipment is provided. You must bring with you: Appropriate clothing (similar to ski wear) including waterproof trousers and tops. At least 2 pairs of gloves/mitts and winter mountaineering boots (you can also rent these from the hostel). Snow shoes are also provided free of charge if needed for the walk-ins.

Transport (airport transfers and getting to climbing sites) is not included in this trip. There are 2 main airports serving the area: Oslo-Gardermoen and Oslo-Torp. Oslo-Gardermoen (north of Oslo) is the main airport where most international flights arrive. However, Ryanair uses smaller airports, so they also fly to Oslo-Torp (southwest of Oslo). Rjukan is about 2,5-3 hours west of Oslo. You have a few options for getting to Rjukan from the airport: 1. Share a rental car: When you sign up, you're added to a group chat on your Skyhook dashboard. We highly recommend chatting here with the other participants (each group has 12 people), as most people arrange car-sharing to get to Rjukan from the airport. Splitting the cost of a rental car is typically the cheapest and fastest way to travel. If you do this, we recommend allowing 3 hours for the drive so that you can take your time and have a break along the way (you'll be going past a beautiful frozen lake). Renting a car means you can easily get to and from the climbing sites. If you rent a VW Golf for three days (in January), it should cost around 1500 Norwegian Kroner/NOK (roughly £110). If you add the price of fuel, it's more like 3000 NOK (roughly £220 ). 2. Buses and trains: If you fly into Oslo Gardermoen airport to Oslo, there are busses and trains. The central bus station and train station in Oslo are 500 meters apart, which makes it easy to switch transport. If you fly into Oslo Torp airport there is a bus heading towards Oslo(check this website for schedules: ) If you take the bus from Torp towards Oslo, you will have to get off at the Lysaker stop. The bus towards Rjukan also stops at Lysaker, so it's possible to switch to a bus directly to Rjukan instead of first going to Oslo. From Oslo to Rjukan, it is about 2.5-3 hrs west by bus. You can look at schedules and prices on this website:

Yes - please make sure you have travel insurance which includes ice climbing. Popular providers include the BMC and Snowcard.

On your trip

Temperatures can range from - 10 to - 25 degrees Celcius. You should come prepared and ensure that you have lots of warm layers.

The hostel has cooking facilities where you can prepare your own meals or cook together as a group. You will get your own crate to store your groceries during your stay. The local supermarket has a broad selection, with equivalent prices to a higher-end supermarket in the UK (e.g. Waitrose). It's a 5-minute drive from the hostel, but it is also possible to walk there. There are limited takeaway options in town, with one of the most popular ones offering pizza.

The courses are based out of Rjukan (3 hours from Oslo), a valley interspersed with over 200 frozen waterfalls. Over the week you will cover the essential skills in a variety of single-pitch and multi-pitch crags (20m-400m), all within a few minutes' walk of the road.

You will stay in the Rjukan Old School Hostel. You can find them on Facebook and book extra nights. The hostel is a small and friendly hostel with basic dormitory-style accommodation. It has comfortable beds, good cooking facilities and pans, warm showers, a sauna, Wi-Fi and a drying room for gear. Bed linen is included. There is no reception desk – just come inside and ask for the owner Jakob, who is also your head guide.

You will start the course with a briefing at the hostel around 8:00 PM on day 1 of the itinerary. On the final day, you should be finished by 4:00 PM.

If you arrive during the day, it is likely that everyone will be out skiing or climbing. Feel free to put your feet up and make yourself a coffee before the guides come back. In the evening your guide will introduce you to the rest of the group and start your course briefing.

Other FAQs

Absolutely yes - most people book alone. It can feel a bit intimidating, but you will do introductions when you arrive, and you’ll get to know the others in no time!

The minimum age for all our courses is 18 years.

1 guide to 6 clients (1:6) on the first 2 days then 1:2 on day 3 and 4.

Yes, no problem - just let us know when you complete your registration form.

Rjukan Old School Hostel, Knut Dahlesvei 31, 3660 Rjukan, Norway Here is their Facebook page:

The currency used in Norway is the Norwegian Krone (KR). There is 1 ATM machine in Rjukan, but it’s worth getting money before you arrive.

Your head guide is Jakob

All trips on Skyhook are run by small, hand-picked local guiding companies. For this trip your guides run Dale Skole, based in Rjukan.

By booking through Skyhook you'll be joining a small-group trip. This can make it nice and sociable (you'll be added to a group chat after booking), and guarantees great value for money!