|Summer ice climbing. Yes, there is ice underneath.|
It is Sunday, +10 degrees, raining heavily, and it is the middle of summer in southern Finland. What should I do?
Go ice climbing in Espoo, obviously.
Where there is a will, there is a way. It turns out that you can go ice climbing at any time of the year, just a few kilometers from my home. As my friend Jarmo put it, this was a typical summer weekend in Espoo: skiing on Saturday and ice climbing on Sunday.
Turvesuon Lumenkaatopaikka in Mankkaa
Jarmo had found a snow dumping ground on his runs through Mankkaa. Even in the middle of the summer, there are 10 meter piles of snow in this area. The only problem is that they are covered by sand and garbage.
|Ice wall before being dug out|
No matter. I brought a shovel. After an hour or so, we have a reasonable 3+ meter ice wall.
|Digging an ice wall out of a hill|
|Putting on the crampons|
|The ice axe salute|
There was a short break in the rain just when started climbing. The climbing was nice, though of course it would have been better with an even higher wall. But the height was up to us... we could have digged for another hour and reached maybe 5 meters.
The ice was quite variable. In some places it was rock hard, in other places it was rotten or snow. This made the climbing interesting. We also had to avoid damaging our tools by hitting areas that had sand. Or worse; snow dumping grounds get all kinds of garbage, such as concrete road barriers and the like. We had to be careful to not cause an avalanche of garbage on our heads.
|Reaching the top. Note the lake behind.|
At the time that we were there today, the highest snow piles and steepest walls were on the back side of the area. The area may also be useful in other times of the year. In the winter the piles of snow are very high, and might be usable for some short ski runs.