torstai 24. huhtikuuta 2014

Farewell to winter - one more visit to the ice mania of season 2014

It is again the time of the year when the road sides look ugly and the local newspaper's text message section fills up with anger against dog shit. Sweet, at least the newspaper's cash flow turns happier and happier even though those gutter activists are striving a misery of their life times.

 In our family we also took part in this post winter revealallshit party by adopting two abandoned bikes from the ditch. Now one of them called Punky Pirate is running smoothly as I bike to work to give very important lessons on verb conjugation in Swedish. Coughing and spitting road dust from the deepest structures of my lungs I curse out loud and instead of Swedish grammar, let my mind travel to completely other stuff – to the memories of the past winter season, just to put the sadness into some perspective. And if it helped at all, I would  also be typing pissed off sms to the local paper because there is nothing worse for a winter climber than the stupid spring.

Photo: Emma Patrignani
This winter I tried to put effort in climbing something that would look and sound cool in a Facebook update. I already saw my confidence rising up simultaniously with the liking thumbs. But just like in all other winters, I didn't see anything worth publishing but some immature crap about adulthood and twisted love epics in Hakkuhelenat. What is comforting though is the realisation that there is plenty of space in this digital sewerage system called blog. As a result, compared to the flashy trip reports with grades inhumano, my stories from the past winter season lack numbers because there wouldn't be much to type about and, secondly, how do you put number tags on experiences that happen and find their meanings mostly in between one's ears and not in front of the number curious public?

If there were not the ravens and the shoutings of encouragement from under the visor equipped orange helmet, based on the drumming that I heard in my ears I probably would have believed that I am participating a hard core techno rave. But on that occasion I was running it out on a rotten thin ice in my ski boots that I hadn't tested on such surfaces before. At the top belaying my friend the techno beat calmed down just to give way to my beloved climbing partner's friendly mouth: ”You goddamn crazy bitch!”. I took it as an honour since his difficulties as a seconder couldn't have occured because of the plentitude of tricky placements. But numbers? No idea. Maybe somewhere exists a solid grading system for the rotten ice that hardly sticks on the rock but it is then something I have never heard about. In normal winters when that ice fall is at her fattest, she can be climbed in 15 minutes, singing happy happy joy joy songs. In the guide book the grade of this line is WI 4, pretty straightforward grandma ice. So what should one declare now? Or put in Fb? Even the biceps are not visible in the winter climbing pictures and that is really tragic: So much hard work on growing them by aimlessly hanging from the ice axes and then no one can see the results.

Aiming at type two fun - at something that is fun afterwards

Think it was in February as I felt that now with the over grown confidence and biceps I could finally climb The mixed line that consisted of some pretty hard pulling on thin ice on an overhang and as usual on winter trad lines, with psychological protection. Putting long story short: The line that had been taking my piece of mind for weeks just deteriorated in the unexpected February heat wave and left me again without glorious moments of despair and disbelief that one gets on that sort of climbs.

Weeks rolled by and I recovered from several disappointments caused by the enormous gap between dreams and reality. This season the gap was majorily consisting of bitchy weather and projects that were literally melting under the picks. One fine Saturday in April though it was time to saddle the Derby horses again and get psyched by Metallica. My friend had already got inspired by Juha's and mine culture historical Derby last year and stated that we should go for it again. In addition to being part of Korouoma climbing culture he wanted to talk to spruces again as he had once done having stayed awake for too long time because of some patriotic marching excercises those young guns are put in. The reasons for our intentional deprivation weren't quite as noble but one cannot refuse if someone wants to get acquainted with hallucinatory mind states and still be able to climb ice. That is something your conventional junkey cannot do so better be cautious when comparing ice climbing to drug addiction.

The weapons of the Derby 2014

In comparison to last year's bulky conditions the ice falls now seemed anorexic. We figured the Derby would offer us a full board of existential questions of our what-, where,- and why abouts. The definite highlights of that board were the toughest ones: Sikariporras, Sudenhammas and Tuulentie. But like it quite often is, the most fulfilling are the lines that one needs to struggle with and accept some crap in the pants. After those experiences the official guidebook grades serve really well as toilet paper.

Sikariporras had shrunk so much we first skied past it thinking it cannot be that one. But it was and it offered some immemorable moments of type two fun as we finally sighed of relief at the top. 

Sikariporras suffering anorexia
The glorious ride through the canyon rolled on. Sudenhammas had a good day and was smiling at us. Pity that the happiness wasn't of reciprocal sort. She might have just been sarcastic but I found it intimidating that her smile was in a spot that I had just screwed four protections underneath and had to climb past that smile without hitting it. And all I wanted was to hit her smiling face. Hard.

The miss happy face

Photo: Joni Ylänkö 
At Tuulentie we had been on the move since forever and somehow the idea of climbing that icicle didn't motivate all that much. But we knew Derby wasn't Derby without climbing Tuulentie so I Put on the battle face and went for it. The icicle that had seen several melting periods and refreezing periods had her moods. Also suffering of my own periods we gained a mutual understanding with her and she didn't refuse my gentle tapping on her fragile surface. Topping out in the darkening evening and looking out in the valley we stood there with the ever loyal belay slave, calm and silent from inside and outside. 

After the last ice fall (previously unclimbed in Derby) around midnight the techno beat inside went down but what then took place was the drum rhythm at the background. It was the rhythm that had supported us the whole season in a form of heated sauna and great meals after dragging our asses back from Korouoma and whatever crazy trip we returned home from. Now in the Derby that backbone had established a Pop-up restaurant at Pajupuro hut waking up every half an hour to add more fire wood to the stove to keep the meal warm. After having climbed 10 ice falls we finally reached the hut around 2 am. We had been awake almost 24 hours and eaten some Raw Bites during the day, and if most of the ice had deteriorated, so had our shapes. And as all the (guitar) solos, bass and singing went mute, the solid beat of the drums remained – drums that never can be thanked enough.

Pop-up restaurant of Pajupuro

Thank you dear Drummer for putting it up with the mad winter pursuits that made us close the home door so many times in front of your worried eyes, mountains of ice axes, crampons and smelly clothes everywhere, empty promises of cleaning it all tomorrow and listening to my sometimes tormented, sometimes over excited conceptions about winter climbing.

This is to you.

"You never know whom you might come across in the wilderness. One has to look good, who cares about frost and darkness" T. Kauppinen

To refresh the memory of Derby 2013:

And to see the yllätysvideo of Derby 2014, here is the direct link:


2 kommenttia:

  1. ..della serie: "il privato é pubblico"..

    what a funny coincidence: exactly during the same day when you were squeezing your brain to compose this post, I was banging my head on the computer screen trying to figure out how the katsomerta kdenlive software works.. well that's the result:

    teidän Fair Lady

  2. i didn't know linux ladies exist.

    anyhow, GOOD SHIT!! überhyvä boogie ulpu, joni ja emma!!!