Tuesday, March 13, 2007

What a difference a week can make

Me, seconding. Thanks to Little Toni for the excellent pic.

Jody gettin' it on

One week later: big Toni on warm dry rock

Two weekends ago (3rd March) we went ice climbing, and although it was slightly soggy with the temperature hovering around freezing, there was still plenty of ice. This weekend just gone (10th March), we went rock climbing in the sunshine and the rock actually felt warm to the touch. In the mountains you can do this just by changing altitude, but all the cliffs in southern Finland are basically at the same altitude - not much above sea level! At the end of past seasons I have ice climbed one weekend (pick a north facing crag that stays out of the sun) and then rock climbed the next weekend (go for a sunny south facing cliff obviously), indeed one year I remember climbing ice in the morning and then swapping crampons for rock shoes and going sport climbing in the afternoon, but the speed that everything has melted this past week has been really noticeable. Normally at the end of a winter you get some good ice conditions when everything melts during the day only to freeze hard with night frosts. This washes unwanted snow off routes and builds solid, smooth reliable ice that is a pleasure to climb and just feels 'safe'. But in the past week, just like earlier this winter, the temperature has stayed above freezing both night and day. Also noticeable is how early this thaw has come. I can't remember a year when I haven't ice climbed until the end of March, and the icefalls still being climbable at the end of April isn't particularly unusual.

1 comment:

ed said...

wot no leashless?