Sunday, June 17, 2012

Ice Climbing in Espoo. In June.

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.

Trust me, there is snow

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.
The wall

Important Parameters

The location can be found from this link. When you drive on Mankkaantie towards south, you'll reach an intersection for Tapiola Golf just when the name of the road changes to Turvesuontie. The golf course is on the right, and the dumping group is on the left. Immediately after the intersection there is a small area where you can park your car. It is probably a good idea to visit only during weekends and off-hours, as heavy traffic to the area may find that your car is on the way. Note that there is some activity even during the summer.

Climbing above garbage

Wear good shoes and be careful in the area. The piles of snow come with all kinds of junk.

Entrance to the snow dumping ground

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.

The crew
Photo credits (c) 2012 by Jari Arkko and Jarmo Ruuth

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