Another longs past post emerging from the depths of memory.
Last fall I visited the mecca of Finnish climbing – Olhava – for the second as a climber. There were several people going who I know, but I was there with a friend, South African expat, Jason. I’ve been there several times in the long past, but those have been hiking trips. This time I also managed to do my first lead at the place 🙂 We were both a bit tights scheduled having a small kid to attend at home and our trip was going to consist of only one evening and one full day of climbing.
We got there around 6pm on Friday evening and there was still light for some hours and we geared up after pitching the tent and went for a route. I decided to do my first lead here on a route called MÃ¤nty, which is rated around 5, though, I found the one crack part at the top to be perhaps a bit more difficult. I had previously top roped the first easy part of the route. Another thing I missed before getting onto the route was the meaning of the letter “V” in the Finnish climbing topo, which means “difficult to protect”. If I would have happened to check the 27crags.com, it would have read there in plain sight 🙂 No wonder it felt a tad scary while looking the last protection far below.
After the initial scary lead, the sun started to set and we top roped a combination of Taivaanportti-variaatio and Vekara to the middle anchors. After that it just relaxing around the fire, eating dinner and having a few beers late into the night with few other people who had arrived during the evening.
The next morning we did not have too much of a rush to the wall and had a lazy morning with breakfast and chit-chat. One of our friends, who had arrived just after midnight with a another friend of his, were first to set off for a route. I was initially supposed to go with this former mentioned friend, but schedules changed and we both changed climbing partners. He started on a route Private Dancer, which he had climbed before, but it was not long we heard a yelp and a sound of someone falling onto gear. Next we heard him asking for some bandaid and a boat to pick him off from the route. What had happened was, that a smaller flake on top of a larger flake had started to move when pulled and he had bruised his fingers and ankle in the process. Few people went with a boat to fetch him and back at the camp it was soon apparent that the climbing was over for him and a medical evacuation was called in. We didn’t stay until the rescue personnel came for him as things were pretty stable him having the leg wrapped up. Later we heard that he was actually carried out on stretchers and later still that the leg had actually fractured and required few weeks of total rest with a cast. Not a good way to start your climbing weekend. Now it has, though, fully healed and he’s climbing good as ever.
After the morning medical hassle, we set off for another sector – PaskantÃ¤rkeÃ¤Ã¤ – where I had not yet visited. We top roped few routes there: Satumaa, PaskantÃ¤rkeÃ¤Ã¤ and Tulenarkaa. All of them could be very possible leads for future. Then we moved to sector Laatta, where we top roped a route Salama, which I have top roped earlier also. I think I need to try lead it the next time. After these we were lazed out by the nice weather and decided to to call it a day for the climbing. I spent rest of the time before leaving by checking out the routes on the far out sector, which has few very possible trad leads for me. Another reason to go again. Also I was picked some mushrooms which I had seen earlier. Sadly though, most of them were already gone bad or wormy and not much could be used in the end. Then we just packed our gear and did the one hour walk back to the car before the three hour drive back to home.
All in all, we had a wonderful time and trip, despite that we didn’t get that many routes climbed. Olhava in itself is just worth visiting and you can’t be disappointed. Especially when I got my first lead done there.