Friday, 31 December 2010

Celebrating New Year in the name of cross-country skiing

The past few days have gone in the name of cross-country skiing. We, me and my cousin, visited our uncle's place in south-western Finland. All in all, we had time to do skiing for four days and our daily pace was approximately more or less 15 kilometers (between 13 and 18 km's any way). So during those four days, we skied total of 60 kilometers, which was some kind of a goal for us. The tracks were in pretty much perfect condition, so it was really pleasant to do cross-country skiing from that point of view.

Of course it's easy to ski even more, but those sessions, we had, were quite normal "just go out and ski" not some 30-kilometer "take hot chocolate and lunch with you" days.

I think that it's time to do some climbing for now...

Friday, 3 December 2010

Nothing special

Wow, it has been quiet for a while. Probably, because I haven't been doing anything really special or exciting. But still, I´ve been messing around with a bunch of things, although this time no pictures are taken.

Winter is going on quite well in Finland and there´s surprisingly snow here in the southern part too well before Christmas. So I´ve luckily been able to start my cross-country skiing season a bit earlier (few weeks ago) compared to the latest winters. And at the moment, it´s snowing so hopefully the tracks will be in even better condition.

What comes to climbing, I´ve been leading indoors and messing around with routes of 6a´ish. I´ve also done some bouldering and managed to climb my first 6b on 45 degree overhang during last Sunday´s session.

Monday, 27 September 2010

Back home in Finland

For now, I´ve been few weeks back home in Finland. I´m just trying to get used to the´normal´ everyday life again after the most awesome summer ever. I´ve had also some time to spare to do indoor lead climbing and I spent the last weekend in forest with our local scout group.

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Helvetia part X: Balmhorn 3698m


Again one so awesome day off has gone. I decided to match few days off for doing Balmhorn with our grounds assistant. Balmhorn is the highest mountain peak nearby Kandersteg. The summit is 3698m above the sea level. Today was the first attempt to do it and well the weather couldn't be more perfect.

The route to Balmhorn and back from Sunnbuel valley

View towards Zackengrat ridge

We left the centre and took the first cable car up to Sunnbuel at 8am. From Sunnbuel, we hiked towards Sagiwald, where we took the path up towards Schwarxgletscher. Before we started heading up towards Zackengrat ridge, we got ready for roping up with crampons and ice axes. The way up to the ridge was actually easier than I thought. Then we took the ridge up towards Balmhorn. It was quite snowy before the pre-summit, so walking up was bit harder, but we managed. Finally, we reached the summit around 3pm and the view was so amazing...

The summit 3698m (view towards Kanderfirn glacier)

We had our lunch at the summit and after we started heading down the same route. Except, we had to walk down from Sunnbuel, cause the last cable car down goes at 5.30pm. We finally reached the centre at 8pm, so quite nice 12h alpine day off...

Thursday, 26 August 2010

Helvetia part IX: Staff snow'n ice

Again, one of my most awesome days off. I had last two days off in row to participate in the staff snow'n ice, more precisely it was snow'n ice combo.

On Wednesday, we left the centre bit before 8am and started to head towards Oeschinensee cable car station. From Oeschinensee, we hiked up the path towards Fründenhütte. The path was pretty cool, especially when it started to get bit steeper and more zic-zaccy after a while of hiking. We finally reached Fründenhütte around 11.30am. The view from the hut is just so amazing...

Sunset view from Fründenhütte

On Wednesday afternoon, we had the first part of snow'n ice combo, which is basicly the glacier workshop. A bit of walking around the glacier roped up to each other and jumping over small crevasses. After a while, we got a chance to practise the crevasse rescue and the set-up itself. Some of us also got lowered into a crevasse to be rescued after a while. When we were walking back towards the hut, we actually got into a real situation, when one of us jumped over a crevasse bit too far and pulled the next guy into it. Luckily, we didn't need to build a pulley system, cause it was quite easy to just pull the guy up with the rest of the group.

Roped up on the glacier

Crevasse rescue practising

Back at the hut, the dinner was amazing as it usually is at SAC's (Swiss Alpine Club) huts. We had soup, rice and some brown meat sauce, and chocolate pudding for dessert.

Next morning was quite cool, when the supply helicopter provided some stuff for the hut just after breakfast. After the 'sandstorm', we started heading towards the glacier again for the second day, which includes ice climbing. We roped up the glacier for a while and finally arrived to the ice climbing spot. We ice climbed for a while and then started to head back towards the hut, where we had our packed lunches around noon. After lunch, we just packed everything up and started heading back down towards Oeschinensee and Kandersteg.

Thursday, 19 August 2010

Helvetia part VIII: My first relaxing day off

Oh, finally I've got a day off just for relaxing. All my previous days off have been more or less busy or extreme. Today, I've just been spending my time not to do that much. In the morning, I walked to the village and was looking for a D-shape carabiner, which I finally found. I bought it, cause in safety sling use it's much more relevant than HMS's, which are usually a bit too thick to have the carabiner and the climbing rope through the same metal ring.

After my shopping trip, I've just been watching random outdoor films in our staff room about e.g. mountaineering, deep water soloing etc.

Thursday, 12 August 2010

Helvetia part VII: Multipitching Bire

On Tuesday 10th August, I had maybe the most awesome and a quite long day off, when we went to climb Bire, one of the closest mountain peaks.

We took the Oeschinensee cable car up and started hiking the path up towards Bire. It took around 40mins to walk the path to the beginning of the climb. We started climbing around 11.30am. The pitches were pretty short, straight forward and quite easy, cause the whole Bire route is graded as 5a, which is the hardest grade of the pitches and some of them are even easier.

After some hours of climbing, we reached the grassy part before the peak. We had to walk on a path towards the peak and those last pitches. The last pitches were also quite straight forward, but towards the peak we found out the lack of bolts, so e.g. we had to make a 'slings around few rocks' anchor once. Finally, we reached the top of Bire around 18.30pm. At the altitude of 2500m, the views were quite poor at first, cause of clouds, but we were actually above them. The whole climb was pretty much around 450 to 500 meters, so it's obviously going to take for a while.

After the climb, we started to head down on a miserable path towards Oeschinensee. Actually, we had to call to the centre to delay our route card. Finally, we reached the village and we called to the centre again to sign in our route card, cause we wanted to catch the last pizzas at Dessis (Hotel Des Alpes) and so we did. Totally an awesome ending for an awesome day, when we had pizza and beer at Dessis around 22.30pm.

Thursday, 5 August 2010

Helvetia part VI: Blüemlisalphütte hiking

Awesome. On air again for a while...

When my relatives came here for a visit from 29th July to 3rd August, I got nice chance to have two days off in row. As the plan was to hike up to Blüemlisalphütte with my cousin, and so we did it. Although, the weather forecast was quite crappy for those two days, we still headed towards Blüemlisalphütte after a delicious moment at Marmotte, the local tea room. The weather was really a bit crappy, but luckily it didn't rain that much. Only some drizzle just above Oeschinensee and just before the hut. Otherwise, it was just really cloudy and foggy all the way up there.

We finally reached Blüemlisalphütte few hours before the dinner. Blüemlisalphütte locates at the altitude of 2840m above the sea level, so the views should be really awesome. Unluckily, the hut was basicly inside of the clouds all the time, so no nice pictures from alpine views. The dinner was pretty nice, cause we were basicly allowed to eat as much as we could.

When we woke up next morning, there was some snow around the hut and the famous visibility was still pretty crap. Although, we were able to take some nice snowy pictures of the hut. Just after having some breakfast, we started heading down and as we reached lower altitudes the weather started to clear up a bit, but the hut seemed to be still inside of clouds.

All in all, it was very cool hike and nice few days off, although the weather was what it was...

Thursday, 15 July 2010

Helvetia part V: Climbing going on

It has been quite hectic, when it comes to climbing. This week, I've had three intermediate climbing courses in row, on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. So it has been basicly hanging out at the climbing wall of Winteregg. By the Wednesday's cable car down from Winteregg, the cable car driver already recognised me and asked 'What have you been doing during these days in row?'.

On Thursday's day off, we decided to go climbing and surprisingly we went to Winteregg. So four days in row at Winteregg climbing wall. Although, the day off was a bit more relaxed and climbing was more fun and free, than during working days. So all in all, four days in row at Winteregg and eight cable car rides, which is a pretty good achievement in four days...

Sorry, there aren't any pictures available from climbing or from my 'Oh shit' lead climbing fall that I took last week...

Friday, 2 July 2010

Helvetia part IV: A pretty nice day off


I started my day off by taking the Sunnbüel cable car up at 8.30. From the cable car station, I started hiking towards Gemmipass passing the mountain hotel, Schwarenbach, around 9.30. I continued hiking after a short break at Schwarenbach. After hiking uphill for a while, the path suddenly started to go along the lakeside of Daubensee.

After the lakeside path, the route reached quite quickly the viewpoint of Gemmipass. At the viewpoint just by the Gemmipass cable car station, I had my packed lunch and took some photos of the mountains and the view down towards the town of Leukerbad. There was also a mountain side restaurant, where I had a coke. Actually, it was pretty amazing to drink a coke on the terrace, which was almost hanging from a cliff at the altitude of around 2340 meters, while Leukerbad locates at around 1400 meters.

Then, I decided to head back towards Schwarenbach and Sunnbüel cable car station.

Saturday, 26 June 2010

Helvetia part III: Lötschenpass hike, department selections and the first whole day off

Lötschenpasshütte 2690m

On Wednesday, we had our last hike of the basic training season. The one day Lötschenpass hike started in the morning by taking a bus to Gasterntal valley, the village of Selden. From Selden, we started to hike up towards Lötschenglacier. At first, the path was mostly quite easy, but after a while it started getting steeper and doing more 'zic-zac'. Finally, we reached the beginning of the glacier, which is by the way called 'the world's safest glacier'. Mainly, because it doesn't move so much, so there are no unexpected crags under the surface snow. Then we hiked up the glacier to the Lötschenpass hut, 2690m. From the hut, we hiked down to Lötschental valley and to the village of Ferden. We took a bus from Ferden to Goppenstein, where we jumped off and took a train to Kandersteg, through the Lötschbergtunnel.

On Friday morning, we got to know in which department we are mainly going to work. Luckily, I got my first choice, which was programme. On our first day, we had the Gasterntal hike. It's one of the easiest hikes of KISC. We took a bus to the village of Selden and we hiked up further to Gasterntal valley to the Heimritx's viewpoint. At the viewpoint, we had a really long lunch break, when we also got to know each other a bit better. The programme department is devided into smaller sections and I got chosen to the climbing section, which is pretty much more than okay. Then, we hiked down the Gasterntal valley back to Kandersteg.

On Saturday, we had the first day off of our department. We checked out the local Allmenalp via ferrata route with a few other programme shorties. I can just only say that it was really amazing with all the rock faces and two cable bridges crossing a waterfall. Maybe you can find more about the 'awesomeness' from the photos...

Saturday, 19 June 2010

Helvetia part II: Cheesery hike, aborted Three valley's hike and rafting

For now, the famous cheesery hike is done. A few days ago we hiked up to this alpine cheesery, which is located quite nearby the centre. It was just a nice steep uphill to the cheesery, at least most of the route. Although, the weather was really foggy, so we couldn't really see that much. The cheesery is located around 1800m altitude and it's quite traditional alpine cheesery with some really good home-made cheese to offer.

2500m before the ridge

On Friday 18th June, we had another training hike to the centre's Upperhut, Ueschinenhütte, which is located in the famous Ueschinen valley. The altitude is 1890m. We spent a night there and headed for the Three valley's hike next morning. The weather wasn't that good (raining all the time). When we got up to the ridge of this route around 2500m, the snow fall started to get heavier and wind was blowing harder than we expected. So we had to turn back at the beginning of the ridge and head back to the centre.

Although the visibility was actually quite bad, the ridge of the route is quite awesome. The ridge is a couple meters wide and there's a few hundred meter drop on both sides, nice...

On 20th Sunday, we had just this amazing rafting experience from KISC's external activity supplier. We took train to Boltigen, where the rafting down the river started from. We went down the river about 15kms. It was just so awesome to raft in white water...

Monday, 14 June 2010

Helvetia part I: Thun, Spiez and some Oeschinensee gondoling

On air again from Switzerland...

Arrived here on Friday 11th June and it's totally amazing country. Before our training season started on Saturday 12th at 5pm, we went to check out few nearby towns by train. At first, we checked out the town of Thun, which is quite famous Swiss town due to it's fabulous old town region. There were some really nice narrow streets and a river streaming through the town. The town of Spiez was also amazing and it was just on our way back to Kandersteg from Thun. It was just a really beautiful lakeside town with the most fabulous alpine scenery.

On Monday 14th, we had the famous D-Day of our training season with those funny looking theme clothes. After spending our morning in the village, at afternoon we went up a mountain hill with the Oeschinensee gondola. Some pretty nice views... After the gondola ride, we had lunch and then we hiked to Oeschinensee to check out the lake and mountains surrounding it. Finally, we hiked down the hill back to the village.

Couldn't be more excited about these mountains...

Thursday, 3 June 2010

Paddling 95 km's last weekend

Well for now a bit different kind of sport, paddling. Last weekend, we paddled from Vihti to Tammisaari, which is just on the coastal line. The starting place was actually quite nearby our scout hut about few kilometers away. This trip has been under planning since last autumn and finally we got a chance to do it. What comes to the equipment, we had the old and dirty fiberglass canoes of our local group, not kayaks.

We started on Friday around 1pm from an old riverside mill, which was quite fabulous. Our day's goal was to paddle to Lohja, about 35 kilometers. We managed to do it and arrived around 9.30pm after some annoying headwind, but also experienced the excitement of waterway lock, which could be operated manually. The lock located at the end of Hiidenvesi just before arriving to Lohjajärvi.

On Saturday, we started our journey around 9.30am. The weather forecast said there would be some heavy raining on Saturday, but hopefully it wasn't. Although, it rained few times for some time. The most annoying thing was probably again that stupid headwind, especially when the first 20 kilometers were mostly lakes. When it started to be more river like, also the carrying started cause there was two old ironworks with barrages just in the beginning of the day's first river. Hopefully, those barrages gave bit more stream to the river, which gave us more speed after those slow carrying operations. Around 9pm, we crossed another ironworks and just after it we found a nice place to spend our night (almost someone's backyard :D).

On Sunday, we started to paddle around 9am. After few kilometers, we had again an ironworks to cross by carrying. After this the river was about to end and the final > 10 kilometers of sea bay started. The headwind started to be quite strong and the waves came almost into the canoes, but still we made it to the final and 95 kilometers were paddled around 3pm...

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Havukallio cliff checked out

Another cliff has now been checked out. I climbed there last weekend with other Finnish scouts. Some quite nice routes were climbed like Hollolan Bleau, Cure, Kanto...

Climbing Kanto 6- was nice and enough tricky with some nice moves and lay back climbing in the crack of this route. Honestly, it wasn't easy for a 'green horn'.

Weather was quite nice for the whole weekend, although it rained a bit on Saturday evening. All in all, the cliff had a bunch of nice routes and I would really recommend it, but for lead climbing almost the only way is to climb trad.

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

A 6b

Is it really possible that there's such an "easy" route, which is graded as 6b?

Yes, it seems to be possible, cause I just climbed one in Tapanila climbing centre. It was a corner type of 6b with more or less handle holds and few slopers. So the holds were actually quite comfortable and the route wasn't really physically demanding. Although, the moves were quite long and maybe some how more 6b'ish, so that might be the reason why it's 6b.

Friday, 23 April 2010

Outdoor rope climbing season opening

On air again...

This year's outdoor climbing season has also been opened what comes to rope climbing. A few weeks ago, we tested the quite popular cliff of Rollarit, which locates just nearby Helsinki city. Some of the left side cliff's routes were climbed, like Guru, Liidi Master and Lanttumaakari.

Friday, 2 April 2010

Easter bouldering


Places are "almost dry" (meaning quite wet), but still we got a chance to do some bouldering in Taivaskallio. Some routes were already dry, but we climbed just more like where it was dry, so not aiming for special routes.

All in all, a good way to start celebrating Easter holiday with soaking wet climbing shoes...

Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Waiting for dry rock

Wish it could be dry already...

At Easter, we are going to check out some nearby climbing places, and just hope they're enough dry for some Easter climbing. Although the most frustrating thing seems to be that some rains have been forecast for the next weekend, but hopefully sun is going to shine some hours, so there could be a chance for outdoor climbing.

The main goal is to go rope climbing, but if "the cliffs" are too wet, we'll hope that some bouldering places are dry already.

Friday, 19 March 2010

Some 6a+ 's

It actually took this long for me (climbed since November 2009) to manage some 6a+'s in both bouldering and rope climbing. On last Sunday, I managed to climb one 6a+ in the brand new bouldering cave of Konala, although I had hurt my fingers and wrist during the warm up, when felling in between of two crashpads.

On Tuesday, I managed one 6a+ in Tapanila climbing centre, while climbing in the B hall during Finnish Alpine Club's session.

Friday, 12 March 2010

Kumpula's indoor climbing wall --- checked

For my part, the Helsinki university's campus climbing wall is now checked out. Today, I had a couple-hour climbing session there and it seemed to be a quite small place, but still interesting and cosy for indoor climbing.

The routes seemed to be a bit more technical than strength demanding, so even in some 5a's, a smaller guy had to reach for the next holds with more technical body positions. The final "score" of the day were a few 5c's, which actually seemed to be easier than some 5a's.

Any way, a fairly good place to practice climbing technique and remember to climb rather at noon, so the place won't be totally crowded.

Monday, 15 February 2010

Snow sledge jumping on 9th February

On Tuesday 9th February, we built a sort of "big air" jumping stand for snow sledging with very soft landing, so it was actually a quite smooth jump. For one guy, the jumps were about a couple of meters long, but the best results were made by two guys on a snow sledge, when the jumps became about six meters or even longer away from the jumping stand.

The best results were gained with two on the sledge and a bit more speed

Just testing alone

Sunday, 14 February 2010

Almost a perfect day...


Today has been a quite busy day. At 10am, I went to Käpylä to the opening seremony of Scouting 100 years in Finland and hanged out with my scout friends and snow sledged few slopes.

At 12am, I found myself bouldering in Pasila's Cave. I warmed up some routes ( grades 4 - 5a ) and then tried to send a 6a+ on the 45 degree wall. I got just the fingertips of my left hand to the top and fell right after. At least, I'm enough hard for myself cause I don't really think that I made it clearly.... so hopefully some other time. Then, I had to stick to the "good old" 5c orange on the Battery wall.

All in all, I've developed enough well, although I'm a relatively new face in climbing...

Saturday, 13 February 2010

Getting my blog started

Today afternoon, I figured out that maybe I should also start to release a blog of my own. I got this idea, while I did snowshoeing in forests nearby my place. Hopefully, my blog will contain different kind of outdoor stuff in the future e.g. climbing stories, gear stuff, snowshoeing, snow sledding ( with a bit more attitude) etc.