Sunday, January 14, 2007

Weekend climbing post

Amongst all the darkness and rain of the globally-warmed Finnish winter, when in the past cold winters I would have been out cross country skiing, or snow-shoeing through glittering still forests, instead I have been staring at the computer screen looking for cliffs on the online 1:15000 maps of the country available on the delightfully named "Citizen's Map Site". I'm not a even a citizen just a resident, but they don't seem to have noticed yet.

I found one likely candidate cliff and had been to check it out, coming home pleasantly surprised by its height and steepness. I returned yesterday with English Tony and Aussie Simon to see if any ice had formed, or whether there were doable mixed routes (mixed routes are climbs done with ice tools and crampons but on a mix of snow covered rock, trickles of ice and frozen moss or other vegetation - as opposed to pure frozen waterfalls where all you climb is ice). Mixed climbing is very much a second choice to proper ice climbing, at least on little Finnish cliffs, but its still better than nothing. I tried to on-sight an obvious corner line, but despite its slabby nature it turned out to be harder than it looked and I fell off only about a third of the way up. At least I did fall, not very far but far enough, as that's normally that you were trying hard.

Tony got much higher but ground to halt at about two thirds up where the mud and turf was bizarrely unfrozen in comparison to just metres lower and the corner crack thinned down substantially. Simon - who had never mixed climbed before in his life, had a shot on a top rope and embarrassed both of us by laybacking neatly up the first half of the route making it look much easier than at least my gibbering, jamming, panting and swearing suggested. But he's clearly strong and talented and I've always thought that sort of natural ability is rather like cheating. ;-) Some pictures follow - thanks to Simon for snapping the ones of me and Tony climbing.

Optimism: a car full of ice tools after a week of sleet, rain, very mild frosts and a wee bit of fresh soggy snow. But if you don't put the effort into go and look you won't ever know.

Typical Southern Finland: where the field ends rocks can be found in the woods.

Aussie Simon: "in Australia we have a bright thing up there that we call 'the sun'. Do you get that up here?"

Some punter about to fall off in yet another display of climbing mediocrity.

Tony showing us how to do it.

Tony past the crux.

Some other climbers have visited the crag before as there was an insitu nut in the corner that I was desperately trying to clip when I fell. I removed it whilst removing our gear, it looks like it's been there some time - maybe a year or two. On the very off-chance that's its owner is reading this - if you want it back, you are welcome to it!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

looks fun! where is that mysterious place?