Thursday, January 20, 2011

January ice climbing and hiking

Various pictures from being out and about in a snowy southern Finland. Skis, snowshoes and crampons have all been involved so far.

Cliff checking in Northern Vantaa.
There is lots of ice in unusual places but not much in normal places. This mission was a bit of failure in finding ice, and the snow was just crusty enough to hold your weight in snow shoes for a fraction of second before collapsing downwards. Some poet said something like "in winter, every mile is worth two" - he had obviously been snowshoeing on insufficiently crusted snow that day...

In France you have to pay a fine if you dress like this now, well at least if you are a woman and brown...
This was the end of last week and it was ferociously cold before the next warm front rolled in over the weekend heralding the slight thaw of the last few days.

Jody cruising the steeps
We went to Salo on Sunday - Angelniemi is pretty fat. I led the same line as in the picture above leashless, and felt unpleasantly like I was going to fall off near the top of the vertical. I reckon I'm climbing 80% leashless these days, but as soon as it hits 90 degrees, I back to the 90s with wrist loops cinched!

You can check out but you never leave... Big Toni, back ice climbing again after a few years of pretending he had given up - hurrah!

For the non-climbers: no, his left crampon isn't meant to be hanging off his boot like that!
There is an American chap, Dane - I guess that's not his real name, but who knows with Americans! ;-) who is doing sterling work on his blog and through various climbing forums pointing out that modern crampon front bails don't fit modern boots very well. The picture above is Toni having some 'compatibility issues' between his brand new Sportiva Nepal Evo boots and BD Bionic crampons. We were mainly trying not to laugh too much at this point and rather offer words of commiseration like "bummer, dude! So what's your plan now?" Toni once laughed at me for falling through the ice into lake, and I have long memory....

More gear woes
The Sportiva Baturas have gained a reputation for being brilliant boots to climb in for the first day or two until they start falling apart. Jody's pair above were doing their bit to keep up this rep with zip breaking. Fortunately Sportiva's Finnish distributors are doing the decent thing and having his boots returned to Italy to have the new and reportedly hugely more reliable zip put in.

Eärendel seconding.
One of the greatest things about climbing is that you always get to meet new, cool people and then instantly trust your life to them and ask them to trust you with theirs! So in the last couple of days I have had the pleasure of sharing a rope with Eärendel and Mia for the first time.

The little falls at the right end of Angelniemi. Jody leads.

Angelniemi mixed - "Ukkosmyrsky", maybe around M4 or 5?

Mia's first 'proper' ice lead - Solvalla
Today I climbed at Solvalla with Mia. There is a whole new easy ice line on the right edge of the crag that I've never seen before - this Mia climbed in fine style as her first ever ice lead where she placed all here own screws as she went. The main fall is now huge - way bigger that when I first found it in climbable condition maybe five years ago, and pretty soon you'll be able to do a direct finish as well with steep ice right the way to top of the cliff on the steepest part.


Dane said...

Hi Toby,
Thanks for the kind words on Cold Thistle. It actually is my real name. Take a look at the other blogs I manage and get the rest of the story. Am I going to see you in Cham this month?

Great blog BTW :)

Dane (yes, it really is Dane)

Dane said...

Forgot..stop picking on Tony :)
It isn't his fault!