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

Friday, March 30, 2012

Our Spring Vacation and Engagement


About two weeks ago we had our spring holiday and stayed nine days at the summer cottage.  It was a very awesome special holiday and we were very lucky with the weather.  Everyday was filled with sunshine and around 0'C during the days so it was very beautiful.  When we first arrived we first cut a hole in the ice to enjoy the ice swimming while in the sauna.  Feels so good and refreshing to take a dip between the sessions.  Although we had to wait a day to start the sauna as to carefully heat the chimney so it didn't crack.  Every day besides the first we warmed the sauna every evening and enjoyed the Northern Lights.

Once we finally got settled and the place warmed up the first day we just enjoyed everyday doing some fun activity and most importantly relaxing.  We sort of lost track of time and what day it was as it was so awesome!  The only problem is that the nine days felt like two.  I guess we were having so much fun it just went by too fast.  The only intermission we had was a short jaunt to a local ski hill called Messilä.  It was great fun and we again lucked out with the weather and the ski hill was empty.  After a long day of skiing we went to visit Annina's dad and Iria at their second house in Sysmä. 

 We enjoyed some very fine wine and chatted the night away and had a nice sauna.  Thanks to them we had a very nice relaxing enjoyable evening.  The next day we headed back to the cottage for the rest of the time.  Again the days wizzed by with ice skating, skiing, sledding, kiting and just general relaxation.  It was fantastic.
The last day we were at the cottage was a very special one.  I worked up the courage on such a sunny warm day to ask Annina's hand in marriage.  It was a very special moment and she gladly accepted and we were both delighted.  It was a very fine way to end our vacation and a very special day for both of us.  It is a big step in our life as we plan a future together.  Today we head to Stockholm to also celebrate our three years together.  Should be a very nice cruise and can't wait as it has been a long time since I have been last on a cruise.  Next week I will compile a nice short video of our time at the summer cottage.

Thanks for reading and keep tuned! =)

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Dinner Plates and Lots of Ice


Me on Solaris M5+ (Photo by: Nina)
The last month have been really busy but have managed lots of ice routes.  One of the first trips last month was to Salo. We had a good outing and got some routes done along with my first M5+ mixed climb called  Solaris.  I think I was a bit lucky to onsight it but it sure felt good to top out on the route after a proper struggle.

Then two weeks ago Jody and I headed to Kouvola to have a weekend ice climbing trip.  It was great fun and the weather was really really perfect and sunny!  We both did some nice leads on some well known routes and then it was my turn a gave this route which we named the 'Fang' WI4+ (30m, 98ft)a go.  It was a really great route and really beautiful.  I think it was my favorite of the whole winter as the proper steep part was a perfectly flat piece of ice which suites my style.  Despite searching for protection it was awesome and went fairly smoothly.

Jody Leading
Abseiling 'The Fang' after the ascent

Once we had changed venues we continued to climb some nice but brittle routes.  I also managed to lead my first WI5 called the 'Pillar of Might'.  It was a big pillar that zoomed vertically straight up for about 25-30m (82-98ft).  I didn't get any pictures of my leads but I preferred Jody concentrating on just belaying me.  Overall it was a great first day out.  We decided to camp in the same spot as last year.  It was a great spot and we were again treated to a very nice night of weather.  The moon was out and we drank a nice beer and watched the sky before we returned to our respective tents.  
'Pillar of Might' Center Right
Nice Moon

Frozen Snowshoes

The next day we started out at the sector we had left from the previous day.  We quickly led two nice routes and then I tried this mixed problem called 'Falling Angels' M6 (although we don't know the real name).  It looked possible but on the onsight attempt when I was pulling onto the icicle out of the cave my
Me before falling
placement broke and I took a small fall.  I probably should have hung it up there but then I attempted the whole route again but after pulling onto the ice sheet and clipping the top carabiner I ran out of steam since I was climbing without my feet.  I really should have hung it up there but then I continued up the route.  I was a good 4 meters or so above the last bolt and was topping out.  Then I thought I had it in the bag and maybe relaxed to much.  My right foot popped and then my right tool dinner plated and broke free.  All of a sudden my left foot went and I took a scary flyer 2/3 of the route headfirst.  It happened all to fast and was lucky the route was overhanging and that I didn't hit anything on the way down.

After that scare I fired myself from leading any other routes for the day.  I felt awful but was sure glad Jody caught me well.  We climbed a few other routes but in general we had thrown in the towel so to speak.

Then Toby and Sari came over and they told of this story which is unspeakable and unbelievable.  Really lucky circumstances that no one was hurt in their story.  That story really still worries me though.  Overall it was a fantastic weekend and was a nice climax to the ice season as we just climbed locally for the winter.
Toby leading a route
For my last ice climbs of the season we visited the local ice farm near my house for a quick few laps on the rotten ice with Juppe.  It was great fun and really extraordinarily warm weather.

Last week I had my winter vacation at the summer cottage with Annina.  It was fantastic and was a wonderful week.  Look forward to the report in the next few days!  Will also have a short video update too! Thanks for reading and stay tuned!   =)