In the spring, my friend Harri mentioned that they are planning to do an overnight climbing/camping trip with his kids (aged 14 and 11, I think). He asked for some suggestions on the place and I gave few, including the Haukkakallio where I had visited with my wife three years ago. Naturally I wanted to go there myself also, and managed to get myself invited to join them too 🙂 We were there at the end of May..
Up to the very last days, the trip plan was not settled, partially due to the very mixed forecast they were giving. Originally we were supposed to do it from Wednesday to Thursday (which is a public holiday in Finland), but eventually, the plan realized for us all go there on Thursday evening. I was coming back on Friday evening and another friend of my friend came for the evening and for the next day. We had schemed a plan to go on the first day to a smaller crag called Huuhkajavuori and camp on a nearby lake. Then go for a full day onto the bigger Haukkakallio.
On the drive I experienced I kinds of weather from perfect sunshine to tormenting rain. I arrived first and went to check the crag while waiting. Shortly it started to drip, though, and ended waiting in the car for the others. When they arrived it was clear that it was too wet now to try any climbing and we opted to check out the Haukkakallio in the meantime before deciding anything. I had been there before, but the others were quite impressed by the sheer size of the cliff. It seems to continue forever. After we had had enough of looking around it had cleared up a bit and we decided to go and check if there would be anything climbable at the Huuhkajavuori.
There are two easier sport climbs and one of them, Bebat (5a), was mostly dry we did setup to climb that. First foot holds were wet, but rest of it was fine. It surprisingly hard moves before the first bolt. Harri toproped it after me and then the kids gave it a try. It proved to be a bit too much for them with the wet holds, but they did not try it for nothing as I was able to grab some nice pictures hanging beside the route. You don’t often get any other than the regular “buttshots” while climbing. After that I also climbed the rather wet Ekotrippi (5b/c). Especially the top parts crux move was quite unnerving as the key pinch holds were dripping wet. Scary, but fun. Then it started raining again and we moved to a nearby lean-to where we spent the evening grilling and hanging around. It was a bit uncertain whether it was allowed to sleep there as there was a sign saying “no camping allowed”, but we kind of did not as we slept on the benches of the lean-to.
The next morning we took it leisurously and now the weather seemed to favor as too. After cleaning up our camp we drove to the Haukkakallio and directly went to the furthermost sectors furthermost climbs as we had checked out them previous day and they looked interesting. I started with a trad climb Minisläbi (4/+). Nice little route with few awkward moves. Others toproped it, though, the kids did not really enjoy this “Finnish outdoor climbing” -experience as the grade and the climbing are something quite different you have used to do indoors. Everybody got to the top with more or less trouble. Then I and Harri lead the adjacent sport climb Lippis (5b) which looks like very airy climb indeed, but is not in the end that intimidating. Unless you are not used to thin slab climbing 🙂
After these we moved to the Kivikausi sector, which, as the name suggests, is situated atop some huge boulders that have apparently long time ago fallen from the cliff. It is perhaps the most popular sector and no surprise, as it has perhaps the most moderate grade climbs and the place is very open and sunny and you have plenty of big boulders to make as your picnic basecamp 🙂 Then we climbed The Constant Gardener (4/+). I lead and others toproped. This one the kids seemed to even like, even though there were some places that were perhaps a bit too reachy for they shorter reach. Next up was airy sport climb Air Arete (5c), which has a really nasty problem at the very beginning. Fortunately you can clip the first bolt already from the ground 🙂 I managed to onsight it and after the initial difficult moves it is not so difficult as it is exposed. Good training for some alpine stuff 🙂 In the meantime the kids had some lunch, I didn’t bother to cook up anything real and just had the snacks.
At this point the Harri’s friend Aki arrived, just in time to watch as Harri took a beating from the Air Arete, failing to get past the first moves. Excellent effort though. Aki wanted to start with someting easy and I took the rope up the Aurinkotuoli (4/-), which I have climbed before. Harri even surprised himself of leading it with the preplaced gear. Kids also had a go with it, though, again the first reachy move proved to be rather hard for them. I also lead the Luomukka (4), which I also had climbed before. Again nice easy route, though it is rather difficult to protect and you kind of end up almost soloing up the whole route.
After that it was already getting quite late and we had time for a final climb. On the walk back I set my eyes on this one “mossy” trad line, Gardener’s Question Time (4), which was as the name implies in a need of some major cleaning. First I climbed on top of a boulder under the route and from the I needed first to clean up the crack quite a bit just to get any gear in. After that it weren’t much cleaner and I had quite a bit of trouble jamming into the flaring crack with some wet moss inside. I was freaking scared up there, but had decided to go for it. At the top there was a big flake, but that too, as well as the small slopy ledges, were completely filled with grit. I was not far of taking a quite a whipper near the top, but managed to hoist myself up to the anchor unscratched. Fffiuuhh! I was quite relieved to be at the top. On the way down I brushed quite a bit of dirt off, and then Aki had a go with the route top-roping. He also shared my opinion that the route as far more difficult that the grade 4, though, don’t know what holds we could find under the moss if it was properly cleaned.
After the last battle, I was ready to head home. Others remained for another night and day of some climbing. Very good trip as a whole and would like to do it again. That 1,5 days of climbing is quite good amount as you do not get too tired and can keep a relaxed pace in it. Hopefully I do not need to wait again three years to get back there 🙂