Sunday, November 23, 2008

First ice

The ice is back, just. Various mates couldn't join me, in main because they had far more sensible things to do on Sunday morning like brunch, recovering from hangovers, being in Holland - those kind of things. But being a bit sad I still decided to go and see if there was any ice on my own, with just my iPod for company.


At Kauhala there was some ice. I soloed to about ankle-snapping height and then decided that was stupid so climbed back down, ran round to the top and chucked a rope down, allowing me to shunt a couple of lines. Not hard, just delicate with only 5-10 mms or so of ice - you could top out though above the ledge which sometimes isn't possible very early season at Kauhala. There is currently a very dead and upside down tree leaning against the better righthand fall (see photo above). It has obviously fallen off the top of the cliff but didn't make it all the way down. If the ice melts again, as looks likely towards the end of the week, it would be good if some public spirited individual could get a line around the top and pull it over so that it doesn't block the line for the rest of the winter.

Kauhala from Toby A. on Vimeo.


I then drove round to Nuuksionpää, the main lines are forming and were probably top-ropeable. I tried soloing the groove just to the left of the main face. I was listening to an old podcast of "In Our Time" with Melvyn Bragg on my iPod, and the discussion was on probability. Various eminent professors of maths were explaining the history of the study of probability (not very long and all connected to gambling unsurprisingly), but as I was soloing up - tapping my tools into centimetre thick blobs of ice and lumps of frozen moss - they were discussing about how probabilities rapidly change when considering a series of events that are linked and when the events are discrete. This of course made me realise that although the I was say 75% certain that the blob of ice that my left ice axe was in would hold my weight whilst I had two or three other points of contact, the probability of it holding should any of those other points of contact suddenly rip, would then be a linked - not a discrete - event. And that wouldn't be good. At this point after a quick appraisal of the probability of me being able to walk away from crashing into the forest floor after falling off from 15 mtrs above said forest floor (not good), the eminent professors had persuaded me of the folly of my quest. I very gingerly down-climbed back to the ground, and went home for lunch.

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