Our Norwegian climbing star Rannveig Aamodt was born 1984 and has been a passionate climber since her 20s. Besides climbing, she studies alternative veterinary medicine, coaches a team for young Norwegian climbers and has become certified as a yoga teacher.
In April 2012 she experienced every climber’s horror: she had a 15 meter ground fall and broke both ankles, her arm, pelvis and several vertebrae. She was in a wheelchair for months and had to relearn how to walk, and also had to relearn her big passion: climbing.
She came back, and now, a few years after her accident, she is stronger than ever before! Rannveig travels a lot, loves to take photos and can show us with her story that you come back even if you “have fallen very far.”
WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE AREAS?
If I could spend a month climbing anywhere, I’d spend it in Kalymnos, Yosemite, Indian Creek or Flatanger in Norway. Lately I’ve been enamored with the Red River Gorge in Kentucky. The crags in the Red have a reputation for endurance climbing, but in reality, the variety is endless. There are bouldery routes, super technical slabs, pumpy endurance lines, and everything in between. Prometheus Unbound, 5.13a, in The Red’s Muir Valley, is one of my favorite climbs I’ve ever done in my life. It’s got a great combination of powerful and technical moves, a super fun bouldery start, and a pumpy heartbreaker at the top. Its memorable sequences are as fresh now as they were when I first climbed it.
WHERE WILL YOU GO NEXT?
I haven’t been climbing enough in Spain, and I’d like to spend a lot of time in Rodellar and Catalunya. I’d also like to climb a lot in the Verdon in France — it looks amazing, and the adventurous technical limestone looks totally inspiring. Yuangshuo is another area I’d like to visit in the near future. Last, I’d like to revisit Zion, and have a go on Moonlight Buttress. It’s pretty, aesthetic, and so inspiring. It’s got the most amazing crack system I’ve ever seen, and it’s sandstone, my favorite type of rock. I have yet to free it but I dream of doing so. About six months after my accident, I climbed on toprope and had the time of my life.
WHAT ARE YOUR STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES
I think my strengths are power endurance climbs with interspersed rests. I am pretty good at recovering, so I can operate near redline for a while between jugs. Another strength is technical face climbing, which I really enjoy. I haven’t been able to do it much since my accident since falling can really hurt my ankles, but as I continue to heal up, I am having a lot of fun getting back on vertical terrain.
Onsight climbing is challenging for me — I have a hard time trying my hardest on my first go. I have a little bit of fear of the unknown, and I want to get better at the strategy of onsight climbing — of knowing when to rest and when to charge. I need to train this more. Another weakness is dynamic movement that requires me to cut my feet. I climb like a girl, with lots of static moves and lockoffs, and I need to work on climbing with more aggression. Both of these weaknesses may be related to my start in trad climbing in Norway, where the rock isn’t the best all the time, movement is often technical and balancy, and falls can be pretty scary. I think grew accustomed to climbing in control a lot.
WHAT’S YOUR BEST CLIMBING DAY?
The best climbing day of my life was six months to the day after my accident. I’d been back walking for only a few months and we decided to have a recon mission on Moonlight Buttress. Until then, I really had no idea where my recovery would take me, and I had doubts that I would continue to climb, much less enjoy it. I walked to the base of the climb with hiking poles and nothing on my back because my feet hurt so badly, but once I got on the rock, I started to flow. I got to toprop every pitch, and by the time we were on the 5.12 finger cracks halfway up the route, I finally realized that climbing was going to be in the life for a while. All the training I had done began to pay off, and I realized that despite nearly dying and nearly losing everything, things was going to be alright. It was a powerful moment that I will remember for the rest of my life.
THE BEST THING THAT’S IMPROVED YOUR CLIMBING?
Having a mentor and coach has been tremendously helpful, and for me it’s my friend and coach Stian Christopersen in Norway. Climbing is as mental as physical — if not moreso — and self doubt is often more stopper than the hardest cruxes on rock. Having a mentor has helped me tremendously when it comes to trusting my training, and putting trust in the process also helps me put trust in myself. I recommend everyone have someone they can put trust in, be it a friend, a trainer, a coach or some sort of mentor. Another thing that’s been really helpful is having structured training, instead of just going climbing. When you structure your training, you wind up doing everything with a lot more intention, and you are forced to identify and address your weaknesses.
WHO ARE YOUR INSPIRATIONS?
I’m super inspired by anyone who is out at the cliff having a ton of fun and trying their hardest. I really don’t care what grade they climb, what first ascents they’ve done, or who they are. I just love seeing people out there giving their best and embracing the sport for its purity. I have a number of friends who get me really psyched: one is my friend Steve Townshend, from Canada. I’ve belayed him on his multi-year project in Thailand, and when he attempts it, he climbs with intensity and authority that I want to have more often. My other friend is Dru Mack, who’s a local in the Red River Gorge. Despite the fact that he warms up on my projects, he brings an incredible atmosphere with him to the crag. He’s psyched, humble, and he tries super hard. He is incredibly encouraging, and I love having him around. Also, my friend Tor Solholm from Norway is a great inspiration. He’s the first person who made climbing look like a dance, and he’s the one who made me realize how beautiful the movement of climbing can be.
Here you can visit her website: