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I had been looking at the north ridges of Livarden for some time, and decided to try one on through an afternoon hike. After parking the car at 16:00PM, I aimed for open terrain, and was fortunate enough to find a trail that was obviously leading towards the mountain. I was a little surprised to find a cabin halfway up the mountain. Someone is having a great view with their afternoon coffee.
When I arrived the upper gully, the terrain got steeper, but by no means difficult or scary. I noticed another gully that came down on my left, and decided to take a closer look. This gully would take me to the ridge that I originally had wanted to be on. A snowfield was running all the way up the gully, and with axe and crampons, the climb started easy enough. Halfway up, I took a pause, and gasped when I looked back down. It occured to me that if I fell, I would probably slide all the way down the gully before I could even get a chance to self-arrest. And I would be pretty banged up on the way. But still the grip was good, and the axe sat firmly in the snow. I decided to continue upward.
I was quite high when I started to get the shivers. The gully turned slightly right and looked almost vertical near the top, and I decided to climb up straight ahead, on rocks. Facing a rock, slightly higher than myself, I realized that this was a point of no return. I could climb the rock, but it would be far worse if I had to climb back down. And still I had some climbing to do above the rock. I looked back down, and now my knees began to shiver. Its one of those moments when you get the sensation about having done something stupid. After a little while, I decided to climb back down.
There was no way I could climb down face out. In some spots, the axe was hitting rock below the snow, and other spots the snow was rotten. If I stepped in rotten snow, I would fall for sure. It was that steep. I decided to climb back down face in, and I was quite scared in the beginning. But it is gratifying when feel you are able to cope with a tricky situation.
Back down in the gully, I took the obvious route up, and reached the summit 17:40PM. The views are just great up there. After a round of pictures, I decided to return. Still plenty of time before sunset (18:30PM). On top of the upper gully, I decided to return via the ridge to my left. I went all the way to ridge's edge and observed the steep fall down to the lower ridges. The ridge was snow-free, but I had kept the crampons on. And suddenly I tripped. I did a full rotation forward towards the edge, and was well on the way with my second rotation when the axe got stuck in the ground. I concluded that I had my share of excitement for one afternoon, and removed the crampons. I continued down the ridge, which was extremely slippery, and full of surprises. And before I knew it, I was vertical in the air and took a bad hit in the elbow when I landed. *Then* I abandoned the ridge and moved into the gully. I was back at the car 18:30PM, and concluded that it had been an interesting hike.
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