quote

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



Monday, February 13, 2012

Vierumäki Skiing Weekend

Greetings!

Our skis on the porch
This weekend we went to Vierumäki with Annina's family to do a bit of skiing.  It was great fun and is always nice as it was the third year in a row we have come to the same house there.  So it almost feels a bit like home.  The skiing tracks were really well taken care of and I got a bit of track ski training in.   In the evenings we enjoyed nice dinners and sauna time.  It was fantastic and very relaxing. 

As for the skiing I focused mainly on power endurance to test my fitness level.  Despite logging a 10km time of 34min and 22.5km in 1h27min I realized my fitness is far from where it should be.  I managed to log almost 50km in the weekend which is 1/4 of what I was hoping to do.  I was sort of half considering trying to repeat my skiing trip across Scandinavia this spring but now i will have to wait until next year.  I need to be 110% for the next attempt so there is nothing to doubt.  It was fun to go classic ski cruising with Annina's family around the tracks also and just enjoy the Narnia look alike landscape.

Narnia Conditions
Annina's brother whom is a photographer by profession also made a photo shoot of me for his portfolio.  It will be fun to see how the pictures come out!
www.roborthen.com
Overall the weekend was so wonderful!  Thanks to Annina's family for such a great time and can't wait until next year!  Thanks for reading and stay tuned for tomorrows ice climbing report!     

Friday, February 10, 2012

Progression

Greetings!

This last week or so has been a busy one!  I have had a lot of short climbing afternoons which ended up with my first ever lead on a WI4+ let alone a WI4.  So somehow the ice climbing has been progressing a bit better than last year even though it is only my second season.  In the last week I managed to lead four grade WI4s one with a free standing ice pillar and one with a thin ice curtain. 
Me on Oikea Suora WI4+ Photo By:Toby Archer
On top of that I helped Toby accomplish his mixed climbing project which was successful finally after many tries!  He finally did the route cleanly!  It has been a very fun week and also had a short kite session with Johan.  We actually managed to go somewhere but the wind died out so we ended up slogging back to shore.  It was good fun though! =)

Then the other day I managed to pull out my skate skis and go for a short cruise around my house.  I managed 7km in 30min which is pretty off my old self but okay.  I hope to regain my fit self within the next month.  It felt good since I haven't used them in 3 years now.  This weekend we will head to Vierumäki with Annina's family to do some skiing and relax in this nice cottage on the ski track.  It will be very fun as this will be the third year in a row we will go.  Can't wait!  Thanks for reading and stay tuned! =)

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

A Wintery Weekend at the Summer Cottage (Video)


Video Link:   http://vimeo.com/36332525  

Greetings!

Last weekend Annina and I headed to the summer cottage.  We were first lucky to get out of Helsinki since there was 200 cars that crashed on the road we were leaving on.  The weather was really bad but luckily the crashes were going the other direction.  It was a powerful scene and almost apocalyptic.  Luckily there was no fatalities.  After getting about 30km inland we were greeted with bright sunshine and almost no traffic.  It was hard to imagine the carnage behind us.

We arrived at the cottage just before sundown and it was a balmy -25'C (-13'F).  We skied into the cottage which is a few kilometers and quickly started the electric heaters.  Unfortunately the chimney blocks were frozen in place so we were not able to start the fire.  So we closed off one room and jumped into the sleeping bag.  Soon though the room reached 25'C (77'F) and felt nice and toasty.












The next day we went for a small ski in the beautiful sunshine at -30'C (-22'F)!  It was great!  Then finally the chimney melted properly and we were able to have a fire and sauna.  Outside during the sauna was -30'C (-22'F) and inside the sauna was +85'C (185'F).  The temperature difference was huge!  The cold air was always rushing in through the bottom air vent. It made a ice ring inside the sauna even though it was so warm!  Pretty crazy!  In the middle of the night I checked the temperature and it was -36'C (-33'F)!  Pretty cold but we had a nice cozy eve.

The next day we awoke again to some beautiful weather.  Luckily when I went to check on the car it started up no problem!  Funny somehow as the car was built in Mexico!  =)  Once we packed up and closed up the place we were greeted with a beautiful sunset on the ski out.  A perfect ending to a perfect relaxing weekend! =)
Thanks for reading and stay tuned!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Sea and River Ice Meet Verticle Ice


Greetings!

Annina enjoying hot coco on the sea
This week has been a busy one so far!  Everyday I have been out skiing on the sea ice in the evenings.  It has been fantastic to ski around the islands near my house.  Really get a different perspective than in the summer.  People say the ice is to thin but from my testing samples I at least trust it fully in our bay.  I took a long ice screw and drilled a few samples from different places and found that there was a good 4cm thick ice layer.  Below that was a 4-5cm layer of water/slush and then some more hard ice.  With a 21cm screw I couldn't get through the bottom layer so it has to be at least 10cm+ in thickness.  So with those two layers it should be really good.  I am still not sure if I would walk there, but skiing is no problem.

Finally some cold weather in the form of -20'C (-5'F) has come!  A lot of people don't like it so much but the more time you spend outside in it the more you get used to it.  I remember a few winters ago on my ski trip brushing my teeth in the morning in just a sweater, no hat, and no gloves in -35'C (-31'F).  I guess if a person stays inside all the time you will get used to the +20'C and it will feel crazy cold outside.  Amazing that the human body can adapt so well.

Me Skiing on the Sea
Annina also joined me on a few of the ski trips across the sea ice.  She bundled up and just went for it properly and really enjoyed it.  It is always tricky to dress for this weather as most people overdress, then sweat, then freeze.  Once you get it right it is really wonderful and amazing.  Usually the trick is to almost under dress and then put a warm down jacket on when you stop.  Although it's always good to have a good hat and mittens/gloves on. 

Two days ago in the evening Jody and I went to this farmed ice wall near my house.  We were surprised that despite the temperature it didn't feel that cold.  The Ice wall is about 15m (50ft) high but pretty vertical right next to the river.  The ice conditions were okay but the ice was mostly pretty chopped up.  Jody led the first two lines which were very good leads.  I then seconded them and felt pretty okay but it felt weird on the manufactured knobbly ice.

I then led two lines and felt pretty good although the ice on the second line was a bit airy on this pillar.  It was a little nerving but otherwise I felt surprisingly comfortable on the nearly vertical ice.  Jody then seconded the lines.  We then set up a top rope on the steepest line and we did some laps of the wall until we got tired.  We climbed very efficiently and pretty fast considering everything.  It was a very good session as we each led and seconded a total of 60m of climbing and trained each ~40m of top roping for a total of 100m (328ft) of vertical climbing each.  Pretty good for a few hours.  Really great fun to climb with Jody and am looking forward to the next climb with him.

Me leading
Jody Leading

















 Today I will venture out again on the vertical ice and then tomorrow we (Annina and I) will head to the summer cottage.  The forecast is for -25'C(-13'C) in the days and then -30to-35'C (-22to-31'F) in the nights this weekend.  Should be interesting also since the road is snowed in and we have to ski the last kilometers and haul our stuff in.  Should be fun!  Thanks for reading and stay tuned! =)