Sunday, April 03, 2011

End of the season?

It's pissing rain now, and there hasn't been a frost for the last three nights. There are massive piles of brown and grey snow all over the place. Where the snow hadn't been cleared well and got packed down, its now ice, covered with a sheen of water and dirt. Lovely.

D at Kauhala
A week ago it was cold and sunny. Last Sunday Diana and I climbed at Kauhala in pretty good conditions. There was even an ice line on the far right that I had never seen before so had to try. It started with a few metres of very steep and very thin ice, up to some slightly thicker and easier angled ice above. I tried a couple of places to put my 13 cm stubby screw in here but it kept hitting rock. On about my third go I dropped it, and took that as a sign that the vibes weren't good for committing to the crux above with groundfall potential, so managed to climb back down. Oh well, maybe in another decade it will form again!

Life in the freezer
Wednesday night was the last cold one on the forecast and I wanted to use a sleeping bag that I'm reviewing near to its limit. It was actually colder than I expected at -14.5; the bag is rated to -15 and kept me pretty warm considering I was bivvying out with out a tarp or bivvy bag. Everything was covered in ice in the morning and getting up was kinda brutal.

Room with lots of view
I couldn't take any decent photos because although I had kept the camera battery inside the sleeping bag, as soon as I took the lens cap off, the lens frosted up and wouldn't clear. I had to resort to taking a few snaps on my phone.

Me on "Tappisolu Overflow" at Kurkelanjärvi
Thursday, I went to Kurkelanjärvi in Kisko with Eärendel to do some climbing. I led the first route of the day. It was fine at the bottom although the start was tricky, but higher up the ice was sun-damaged and the screws felt pretty shit. The standard late-season 'easy but dangerous' feeling. We decided to top rope the next few lines instead.

Eärendel on "Vipermafia"

It's been a good season.

Walking back to spring?

Down here in the South of Finland it looks like the ice climbing season might well be over - I know some people have been out rock climbing and bouldering at quick drying venues already. I've been ice climbing since November, so a four-month season isn't bad, including ice climbs in England, Wales, Norway and Finland, but roll on summer. It's one of the great things about being a climber who does a bit of everything; you've always got the next season to look forward to.

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