Advanced Ice Climbing


This course is for people who have lead rock climbing experience, and at least 2 days ice climbing experience. Over the week you will cover the essential skills for independent ice climbing.


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 is focused on refreshing and improving your ice-climbing technique, with hands-on coaching from your guides. We typically head to the Lower Gorge crag, with fantastic single-pitch routes ranging from Wi3-Wi5 (moderate to hard).


Today you will have an opportunity to try out some mixed climbing (on both rock and ice). You'll also learn some more advance skills such as building v-threads for abseiling.


Climbs for day 4 are Nye Vermorkfoss and Backvein – two 3-pitch waterfalls that weave in and out of the rock – always much easier to climb than they look from the valley floor and the photos!


The focus on day 5 is lead climbing protection and skills. You’ll be working on judging ice quality, placing ice screws and simulated leading. You will do this at a great single pitch crag, with plenty of climbing to put these skills into practice!


On day 6 you typically do a longer route with a short walk-in, such as Tjonsterbergfossen – an epic 5-pitch route with great views over the valley. Putting all your skills into practice, it's a fantastic end to the week!


12 verified reviews

Rated 5.0

(Jan 2023)

My third trip here Always love it Different guides each time Learn more and more each visit Heading back independent now


(Jan 2023)

I had a fantastic time on this trip! Ben (guide) made sure every day had a learning outcome and set the right level of challenge, which is perfect for building enough confidence and skill to think about heading out on the ice independently. The accommodation provides an excellent opportunity to meet new, like-minded people and is perfectly suited to climbing trips. I would recommend this course to anyone who wants to build a solid foundation before being an independent ice climber.


(Feb 2019)

I've now been on three ice climbing courses with Skyhook, and each one has been excellent through and through. Ice climbing can be a daunting activity, especially if you don't have vast amounts of climbing experience (like myself), but every single one of the instructors that I've worked with on the courses has been fantastic, doing everything in their power to put you at ease and allow you to have an enjoyable time, while also pushing your limits. I would not hesitate to recommend Skyhook and, in fact, I will most likely be back next season for some more ice climbing.


You need to be competent at lead climbing (sport or trad) and have at least 2-days experience of ice climbing. You'll already know how to lead belay, clip bolts and the basics of swinging an ice axe.

If you're not quite there yet, why not check out our other two trips:

  • Beginners Ice Climbing - for total beginners, with no experience required.
  • Ice Climbing Improver - for those who have either some top-rope climbing experience, or who have tried ice climbing (e.g. on our beginners course). This one is also great if you are more experienced, but don't want to progress to lead climbing.

It includes accommodation, guides and all technical equipment. It excludes travel, food, appropriate clothing and winter mountaineering boots (these can be rented from the hostel if needed). Snow shoes are also provided free of charge if needed for the walk-ins.

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).


• Passport

• European Health Insurance Card (if appropriate)

• Travel insurance details

• Boarding passes for flights

• Wallet

• Driver’s license & rental car details (if needed)


Please make sure all clothing is not cotton – 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)


• 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

The local supermarket has a broad selection, with equivalent prices to a higher end supermarket in the UK (e.g. Waitrose).

A moderate level of fitness is required.

You will stay in the Rjukan Old School Hostel. You can find them on Facebook and book extra nights.

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!

If flying, go to Oslo Gardermoen - usually most affordable with Ryan Air/Norwegian Air. Course participants typically rent a car together for the 3h drive to Rjukan. When you sign up, we recommend you also join the Facebook event to arrange this. You can find the event on our Facebook page.

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

The minimum age for all our courses is 18.

You stay in the Old School Hostel .

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.

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

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.

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

Weather conditions in Rjukan can get very cold in the winter months, with temperatures dropping as low as -25 Celsius. Travellers need to be prepared for these weather conditions. For more information please read the kit list provided.

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.

Rjukan Old School Hostel, Knut Dahlesvei 31, 3660 Rjukan, Norway 

Here is their Facebook page:  

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!