Sunday, March 22, 2009

Helsinki ice

All you need for soloing (ok - one more leg is helpful)

Warm days and and the bits of southern Finland in the sunshine are dripping and thawing, but it is still getting really cold overnight, so I decided this morning to go out early and climb some local ice.

Lefthand fall at Kauhala

Kauhala was pretty fat on the left, and the normally biggest icefall on the right that wasn't touching down earlier this year had just formed to the base. I soloed four lines, had a chat with the other early birds who had made the effort to catch the morning frost, then headed over to Nuuksio.

Fields and road

Like elsewhere along the south coast, Nuuksionpää hasn't formed well this winter, the lefthand groove line was decently formed, particularly in comparison to January when I last climbed the route. It felt pretty ok to solo, the ice not being too layered.

Moose and hare tracks

I then climbed the lefthand slab. This was its normal slightly scary self - not very steep, but either thin ice with picks going through the ice and bouncing off rock underneath, or very layered making you worried that even with a well buried tool, still a whole thick section could break away taking your tool with it. Three points of contact at all times and not placing the tools too close to each other was definitely the way to go.

The road to Nuuksio national park

Next weekend I'll be out of the country - so possibly today was the last ice climbing of the winter.


Chris said...

Hi Toby,

How are you finding the Vipers? I picked up a pair recently and thought they were a bit top heavy (like a lot of BD tools) though maybe that's just my weak arms. They do look like nice tools. What's the balance like compared to the Quarks?

Nice shots by the way!


Toby - Northern Light Blog said...

Hi Chris - BTW - just looked at your site, excellent pictures. Loved the on of the Sea King over Dothaidh! I grew up under some very busy military airspace so - despite feeling it to be both train-spottery and militarist - still have a soft spot for military choppers and planes.

The Vipers are cracking. As you can see from my post from last weekend, I literally just picked took them from my mate and started climbing with them. They feel very 'neutral', really rather similar to the quarks. I've noticed that I've bashed the grip rest a few times when trying to clear a bulge - I think this is probably just down to them being a slightly different shape to Quarks, and it will just take a wee bit of getting used to. I don't think they are top heavy - but then I'm only climbing ice, where you want that swing. I guess if you are scratching away with them above your head all day on Scottish mixed, you might notice it, but I very much favour tools where the weight is in the head. I reckon that is how it should be. I don't actually mean I like heavy tools, actually I like light tools, but the weight for me should be focused on the head. The BD Cobras are ever more so this case with the carbon fibre shafts.

I'm still getting used to the android leashes - the clip works superbly, but having them attached halfway down the shaft means that putting your hand on the head of tool for, say, daggering isn't so easy.

Chris said...

Cheers, glad you liked the pictures. And thanks for the info on the Vipers, that's very useful.

I'll mainly be using them for Scottish mixed. I know the Vipers are no heavier than my current tools (Simond Piranhas, which I see Needlesports describe as the "axe of choice for British winter climbers c.1990") so I guess it'll just take time to get used to the different balance.

I have a friend heading over to Vancouver in the summer, so I'm also hoping to get them from MEC.

Thanks again,