Breaking in the new tools

The last few days I have been bound to bed (figuratively speaking) by an influenza that has been raging here in Finland through and also in my working place and with my relatives. I’m getting better now, but haven’t been able to do much sporting, which is a shame. Luckily I have been able to already test out my new ice tools I bought for myself as a christmas present. They are the new models of the Petzl Quark.

Two weeks ago I opened the season with my friend at an artificial ice climbing venue in Helsinkin called Pirunkallio. It is a rock face next to a lake which have been frozen over by pumping the water onto the to top and letting it flow down the rock. This is the second year they have done that, but this winter we didn’t get proper sub zero temperatures until mid January. Year ago they opened up the wall a month earlier. Nontheless, when we were there we had a crispy -18 degrees celsius evening. Not too much, but still my hands were a bit cold and my but froze a little. The wall is a bit different than las year – which is understandable – and the most notable thing is that there weren’t that much of ice as last year. This mostly due from the shorter period of proper conditions to prepare the wall. Still it was quite fun and seemed steep enough for our skills and condition. The price for a single day is 10€ and the season pass is 80€, but you could get for 60€ if you are a member of the local climbing association.

Me climbing and Ilkka belaying

Me climbing and Ilkka belaying at Kauhala

Last Saturday we – me and my usual climbing partner Ilkka and his friend Tero – to Kauhala a short distance away at Kirkkonummi. I hadn’t been there before for ice climbing, but had been few times for rock climbing. The crags are not the same, though. The place was surprisingly good. It has ice on quite a wide area and you could do some ice bouldering – which we did too – and highest sections are something like 10m high. Most of it is not exactly vertical, but steep enough to get you pumped. At least for me. If some place, that could be a place where I could even be brave enough to try leading on the ice. Tero had some ice screws with him, but all of us passed the opportunity for a lead. Over all the ice walll provides very wide range of climbing and even from a single anchor you can climb steeper or more gradual routes. There were even few bulging spots and getting on small ice ledges was quite tricky. I would really recommend to visit this place if you are not familiar with it.

My new Quarks

My new Quarks on Kauhala ice

And the tools. I do like them. We compared them to my friends older Quarks and the new ones seem quite a bit lighter. That makes them a bit harder to give them enough force to thrust them into the ice, but that could also be just getting used to them and lack of skill 😉 They are very sharp from the factory which helps a little. These new ones also come with integrated trigrest and it has an additional hook for the index finger. This gives better grip of the tool and allows better leashes climbing. I have been, in fact, using mine leashlesly partly due that I can and partly because I haven’t manged yet to buy ones. Even when I do I will buy ones like Black Diamond’s Spinner Leash or Grivel’s Double Spring. Also DMM is coming up this year with their own version Freedom Leash. Anyway they haven’t been money gone to waste and I’m eager to get to use them again soon. I do not have any real experience other than with the old and new Quarks, so I’m not the best person to say are they better or worse than others, but many have recommended them and I like them and they’re now mine 😀

I have few more pictures from Kauhala too.

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