"Dreams are the touchstones of our characters" -David Thoreau

Saturday, July 9, 2011

2 Ton Falling Rocks and a Bouldering Marathon


Last Wednesday Johan and I decided to head to Mäntsälä to check out this new crag.  I have seen the crag from the motorway many times but never stopped to check out the climbing conditions.  Once we were there we got a little lost on the small roads but realized we were right below the crag the whole time.  Once we found a place to park the car we decided to walk straight to the bottom of the cliff.  The heat was sweltering and we plowed through the bushes and trees eventually arriving at the bottom.  We dropped our bags and did a small exploration of the crag to find that it was maybe 400m long and about 20m high most of the way.  Quite nice but needed a lot of cleaning.  Then once we were there we realized you could drive almost to the base of the crag.  Once we found two routes that we liked we decided to clean them.  When we got to the top we found some anchors!  Crazy as it looks like no one has ever climbed there before.  We put in some ropes and started cleaning with huge amounts of dirt and football sized rocks coming out of  the cracks.  Makes me wonder if they use this area for winter climbing instead.  In any case once we were down we were a mess!
We decided to top rope both routes first to see how they were.  On my route lower down some small holds broke and more small rocks came down.  It was deceptively hard as well to climb up the cave and over the roof.  Then Johan quickly climbed the route and changed the rope over to his route.  He made the first technical section okay.  He then came to a part where he needed to mantle this huge block.  When he just made the huge lunge to get to the top it all of a sudden detached from the wall and came on top of him!  Luckily he was on a top rope and it swung him out to safety.  The block looked about 2000kg (4400lbs) and it crashed down the side of the cliff making this awful burnt rock smell.  Luckily nothing had happened to either one of us as it was by chance that I wasn't standing directly below him.  We were both quite shaken up after that!

After that incident it took us a little while to collect ourselves and I ended up leading both routes now that most of the loose rocks were now knocked down.  Makes me even more sure that no one has climbed those routes before.  Hard to say but in any case I led them fine but still not brimming with confidence.  We decided to call it a day after that and take a dip in the lake nearby.  It was really nice to wash away all the sweat, grime, and dirt.  Felt really refreshing and was nice to cool off on such a scorching day.

We decided to head home and had a nice stop for ice-cream.  In the end it was a pretty eventful day and thankfully nothing serious happened.  Definitely a nice day that I spent with Johan as I haven't seen him, in awhile.  We decided next time we will go to a very clean well known place to get our confidence back.

Yesterday I decide to go on a solo bouldering marathon near Kerava.  It was a pretty fantastic place and felt a bit funny as I had no crash pad and was alone.  I guess I am pretty used to it but I realized that when I climb in this way I am very calculated.  For example this once 6c route I just decided to have a look and started correctly.  I was so focused on every hold and exploring the possibilities that all of a sudden I ended up at the top of the route by accident!  A bit funny as many of the routes seemed to go this way.  I also completed my first 7a route!  It was this overhanging roof which then led to a small face.  I finally got though it cleanly after about 15 tries.  Felt really good and nice to see some personal progress!

Once I had moved on to different sectors I came upon this very easy problem that was only rated 4.  I realized then how mental climbing is as I seemed to struggle and barely made it to the top.  Once I got to the last sector I completely ran out of steam and was not able to climb anything anymore.  I was wondering why I was so tired and then when I checked my tick-list from the day I realized I had completed 20 routes!  Most of them were on-sight too!  Meaning that I have never seen or knew how to climb them and just started climbing them and completed them so called blindly.  I was very satisfied and headed home after a very successful day.

Today we will head to the summer cottage again as tomorrow is my birthday.  Can't believe I am going to turn 30!  I don't know where the time has gone! :P  Crazy!  Thanks for reading and stay tuned for more updates!

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