Thursday, January 10, 2008

Night climbing

With the weather forecast miserably, globally warmed for this weekend (+2 degrees and raining) I just had to get out ice climbing before the thaw kicked in. After putting the kids to bed I grabbed my gear and jumped in the car. Various texts and email hadn't turned up anyone else interested in going so it was going to be just me and the night forest.

Self portrait, no flash

It was snowing as I drove to Nuuksio and with thick clouds and no moon it felt very dark and slightly claustrophobic in that way when your world is limited to the beam of your head torch.

Ready to go, with flash

One route, a 25 mtr groove at about WI 2/3, had reasonably thick ice, so I decided to solo rather than bother setting up a top-rope, putting on a harness and using a shunt to self belay. In the dark it was surprisingly un-scary as you have no sense of gaining height. Having climbed it the once, I followed hare tracks down through the snowy forest and then back along the base of the cliff to my pack. As none of the other routes were in solo-able condition, I put my pack on my back and climbed the line again, before heading off through the woods back to where I left my car.

Soggy snow under car headlights

Back at the car it was snowing hard with wet, large flakes. The car thermometer said 0 degrees and as I drove home, and the snow was turning to sleet. Now is the winter of our discontent... indeed.


Anonymous said...

Solo ice-climbing, wow! Which route was it?

Toby - Northern Light Blog said...

It doesn't really have a name, we've just called it the left groove. Don't know if you're local to Helsinki, but if so it's at Nuuksionpää, on the road to the Haukkalampi car park for the national park.