Monday, September 28, 2009

Reventeenvuori Climbing

Sometimes things just click. We arrive at the cliff as a three so as Tony and Simon get sorted to start a route, I squeak my shoes and solo an easy climb. I don't solo much these days, too old for too much silliness, but I know this route. I know I can cam my toes into the crack, or squeak my news shoes on to its rough holds. My fingers or hands lock into the jams and I cruise easily up it. Walking back to the base of the cliff I discard my woolly hat and puff-vest and start up its sister route, another crack - this one thinner and a little more technical, but still not hard. I get back to bottom and Tony has been having a bit of trouble getting going on the route he is trying. It's a new route called Kitkakoulu or "Friction School", well named for its 25 mtrs of delicate, technical 6b granite slab climbing.

Simon starts up Kitkakoulu, F6b

The soloing has settled my nerves and warmed me up, so figuring it looks well bolted decide to give it a go. The climbing is beautiful, lots of friction padding for your feet and tickling the blank granite with your fingers - piano style - searching for any rugosities to help you pull. I surprise myself by reaching the last, slightly steeper section. Here the holds are slightly more conventional, but the rock rears up to vertical for a couple of metres before the lower-off.


I get my feet high, and stab into the thin finger jam - too much weight coming onto my little finger - from there I snatch for a edge. When I manage to get my second hand onto this I actually feel the rock flex under my weight. I throw my left to another edge slightly higher, try to breath deeply a couple of times and then spring up on to the slab and clip the lower off. Well chuffed, I lower off having done my Finnish F6b onsight - and a really good long one at that. Almost certainly it will get downgraded to 6a now!

Your correspondent on Graduaatio, 6 (thanks to Katja for taking the shots)

Next I decide to push my luck further and try Graduaatio, a trad route in the same sector that I fell off back in May. Having been on it before I had a better idea of what to do this time, although I couldn't find the decent nut I placed before on the crux. This time I made do with an RP placed in the wrong the orientation, although it gave me enough confidence to do a move above to a point where better gear can be placed. The crux move this time felt fine and I easily pulled past the crap edge that I had slapped too when I fell off and this time reached the jug above. After that it was just cruising.

The man in black (me) at the crux of Graduaatio

Next we moved down the crag to try something different. A huge amount of work has been done in the middle section with lots of new routes, both sport and trad now there for climbers.

Diana on Talkkari, 6-

Diana decided to go for a rather obvious crack. It was a struggle and turned out to be more awkward than it looked, but she made it up with a couple of rests points. Coming up second, I arrived at the belay with most of the gear I had taken out still hanging on the rope in front of me - always the sign that you had engaged in a good fight! We subsequently found out that the route is Talkkari, a 6- or E1 5b. I think it might be a bit soft for this, but it is a struggle no matter what the grade.

A few people expressed scepticism about the DMM torque nuts caming ability in horizontal cracks in connection to my recent UKC review of them. Here Diana proved the critics wrong; I had to fight with this little bugger for ages to get it to come out from there!

The crew (yep - we start 'em young!)

The next route was a good looking line of bolts going up the side of a granite tower. It looked doable and I gave it a go. I very nearly came off trying to get a quickdraw into the bolt at the crux - and actually the climbing was OK in comparison to this and I got the onsight. I'm not sure if I totally messed up the clip, or whether the bolter just has much longer arms than me. We later discovered the route has the lovely name of Pupselinos Remastered and is F6a+.

Simon on Pupselinos Remastered, F6a+

With wilting arms Diana and I decided one more route was in order and I set off up what looked like a rather odd bolted rising traverse taking the easiest line across the cliff. Not the most conventional of routes, but someone had put in huge amounts of time and effort cleaning and bolting this F4+ route called Vie Minut Vuoristokiipeilemään which takes the climber through some wild terrain above a large route and must be one of the longest routes at the crag.

Then all that was left was to go to the Matkakeidas petrol station (and Kymenlaakso institution) for dinner. The photo above was the buffet option. I went for the burger meal option which whilst boring at least didn't include a piece of salmon that someone seems to have covered custard. I'm not going to moan about Finnish food culture again though, because bad burgers or not, it was still a stonking day at that crag. Cheers all for the company and belays.


Tony said...

There's not much chance of your 6b being downgraded. It's more likely to be your first 6c onsight. Nice one.

Diana said...

But Toby, that mess of sauce was a lovely dinner!