Sunday, April 30, 2017

I love Norway!

 Norway: No wet rain, no darkness, no sign of summer

Photo credits (c) 2017 by Jari Arkko

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Squeezing into the Nepperi cave

On Sunday I needed some exercise, and decided to take a walk in the area of Pitkäjärvi in Espoo. I picked a route that would allow me to visit the Nepperi cave and took my drone just in case I needed to peek from the sky at some point.

Nepperi is reportedly the biggest cave inside Ring III. But I was expecting very little based on descriptions in the net and from my friends. However, this turned out to be a small but interesting cave. The interesting bit was a small passage on top of big rectangular blocks, tight enough to not be able to go through with a helmet on (I think --- I didn't have it with me on the walk anyway). After the squeeze for maybe four or five meters, you enter the upper ledge where there is a bigger and more open cave room, with the horizontal crack opening to the cliff face. By this time your are about three or four meters high up on the cliff.

There was another way in as well, but I didn't try it because the slippery, wet rock right on the side of the cliff didn't look very inviting.

And once again, apparently obviously, we're finding this cave from the excellent and an article by Antti Huttunen. Great work, Antti!

Coordinates: N 60.250153 E 24.729517 (the link goes to Google Maps). Parking: I parked along Haapaniementie at coordinates N 60.249195 E 24.727937 and walked through the woods. At some point you'll come across a fence protecting people from the cliff drop. Go under the cliff, not above.

Flowers on the way:

The squeeze:

The green cliff wall:

The balcony that you can reach through the squeeze:

In the squeeze:

The entrance part of the cave, photographed from the start of the squeeze:

Photos (c) 2017 by Jari Arkko. Remember that pointers to all my stories about caving and skiing can be found at the ​ and ​ web sites.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Dead Cat Margarine

Dead cats were blended into margarine and fed to humans. We're going to a secret, abandoned tunnel to meet the ghosts of the cats. But it won't be easy to get there.

But first a warning. Under NO CIRCUMSTANCE should you try to enter the place that we describing in this article. It is on an area of grave danger and for this reason, I'm not revealing the location. ENTERING THIS AREA PUTS YOU IN DANGER OF DEATH AND INJURY. Even being nearby is EXTREMELY DANGEROUS. You have been WARNED. We take no responsibility if you choose to not follow our advice.

At first, we thought the problem was the cliff. A fall here would likely be deadly. But it was nothing compared to walk we had to do after scaling the cliff on our ropes. Dangling above the sea, stepping on remains of the few burned and rotten planks. I'm surprised we did not fall.

Compared to this, the relative safety of the tunnel was soothing. Or would have been, if it weren't for the thoughts about the ghosts of the cats. Or the people who were tricked to eat them 50 years ago.

But, unknown to us, the real danger was on return. We're in a bad neighbourhood. And in a city that razes Unesco heritage sites for fun and profit. But I don't want to meet the local thugs, when even the local ten year old girls are deadly dangerous.

Remember the cliff, and the rope? Imagine descending a cliff or a cave, only to find your rope stolen and slings thrown into the sea when you attempt the return?

Photos and videos (c) 2017 by Jari Arkko and Jarmo Ruuth. Video editing on and sounds licensed from Apple iMovie. See This blog is also available from the TGR site. Tämä blogi löytyy myös suomeksi Relaasta.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Scandic Victoria's Skybar

I'm on a business trip in Kista, Sweden (probably a frequent occurrence from now on). I've previously reported about the sauna in this hotel, which I had a chance to use today. I also tested their 34th floor sky bar today. Was almost entirely empty on a weeknight, but at least they had a decent Toast skagen (traditional Swedish toast with shrimp). Recommended for small hunger.

Photos (c) 2017 by Jari Arkko

Devil's Churn in Sipoonkorpi

We went out on Easter Monday, for an "hour long walk". Turned out no one looked at the map, distances, or time, or took into account time for driving or gathering gear. So, we walked for three hours and returned home probably five hours later.

Oh well... at least my new sports watch was a bit happier with the number of steps taken today. It wasn't entirely, happy, however, as apparently three hours of walking in the Sipoo swamps doesn't count as fulfilling your daily goals to more than 80%.

Anyway, hopefully the other half of Jarmo's family was not unhappy about the "slight" delay. And that Janne didn't get cold after he step on a swamp's eye early on in the hike.

But, we did manage to see the "devil's churn" or hiidenkirnu as they are called in Finnish. The proper term I think is glacial pothole. A hole dug into ground rock by a spinning boulder, by the force of glacial or water movement.

We went to see the group of potholes as described in this excellent article, once again from the website, and once again -- who else? -- by Antti Huttunen.

I also played around with flying the drone in the pothole. Thus time on full manual, as some software issue prevented me from connecting my iPad to the drone controller. (Later I resolved the issue by re-linking the controller and the drone, but it was difficult to dig up Internet advice for this bug while in the forest.)

We also found a decaying house in the forest:

Photos (c) 2017 by Jari Arkko and Jarmo Ruuth. Video editing on and sounds licensed from Apple iMovie. See

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Seaside walk

I've been meaning to start a hobby of taking long walks... I need to get to much better shape. Partially inspired by the new sports watch I got, which reminds me when I sit still too long, and knows how many steps I've taken during the day. I'm also excited that the biking season is soon starting, hopefully with warmer temperatures than today (-1 C).

Today I walked in the Espoo seafront, one of my favourite walking places. As I had not had a meal yet except breakfast, so I also stopped at the Nokkalan Majakka restaurant. Excellent views, though I can't recommend the pork sandwich... but maybe that was my nowadays frequent dislike of meat.

Photos (c) 2017 by Jari Arkko

Skiing with a drone

A few weeks ago I got a present from my IETF friends: a Mavic Pro drone. Thank you! We've already played a lot with it, me, Olli, Janne, and many of our friends, with everyone having loads of fun with the device!

Although there's a lot to learn for drone newbies. Olli even got interested enough to order parts for his own open-source drone.

And it is an amazing device. I've tried some copter toys before, but this one is the first one that is actually easy to fly. It does exactly what you want it to do via the controls, and if you let it go it stops right there, whatever the speed, be there wind or not.

It flies automatically back home, and recognises precise landing spots through video. The radio range is impressive 7 kilometres, and the drone flies roughly 25 minutes on a single charge. The basic drone controls are on a dedicated device that attaches to your own smart device. The smart device is the user interface for the more advanced functions, shows video feed from the drone, locates the drone using a map, and so on. I'm using my iPad mini for this purpose.

And some of the tech in the drone is even scarily powerful. You can click on a person on the screen and have the done follow it merely based on image recognition. Here's a somewhat disturbing clip of the scary people-following tech inside this drone:

These advances functions are powered by the drone's 8 CPUs, having altogether 24 cores. Shortly after starting the drone, its powerful internal fans need to start cooling the electronics :-)

Of course, the one application I had in mind was skiing. We've now tested it a couple of times in the closed ski areas nearby. First in Peuramaa, when Kauniainen was still surprisingly open last weekend. And this weekend then in Kauniainen. The snow conditions are by the way excellent, all slopes still fully covered in good snow.

In Peuramaa, the golfers are already taking over, there were many people golfing right next to the slope. Summer is coming, I guess. (But I'm glad no one got a drone-in-one shot!)

The Mavic Pro shoots 4K video and the default settings produce the views as they were, in high-quality and without burning out or underexposing any of the details. The drone has a number of automatic modes, from following its controller on GPS to tracking based on image recognition and automatic lift-off and return-to-home features. The image-recognition-based tracking modes can also have the drone fly on the side of the target or circle it, with camera pointed to the target at all times. We have not tested all of those modes yet though. Initial experiences from the basic video-based follow mode indicate that snow is a good high-contrast environment to ensure that the drone can see the target clearly, but that the drone needs some manual control in addition to the automation to adjust flying altitude as the skier descends.

Here's a clip from our first test of shooting skiing in the automatic follow mode, in Peuramaa's a bit cloudy day. The drone is here in completely automatic mode, following me based on the recognising the skier on its video:

And then in Kauniainen, on a slightly more sunny day, and with some additional manual control in addition to the automation we took this clip:

More photos:

Thank you!

Photos and videos (c) 2017 by Jari Arkko, Olli Arkko, Tero Kivinen, and Jarmo Ruuth. This blog is also available at the TGR site. Tämä blogi löytyy myös suomeksi Relaasta.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Abandoned railroad tunnel

Today's evening excursion was to an abandoned railroad tunnel. The tunnel is 600 meters long, and in the middle of everything, at a place I've been many times, but I had never heard about the tunnel before.

And what a beauty the tunnel is! The structure seems solid, almost as if was constructed yesterday. Yet on some parts you can see the passage of time, as dripping water forms new things out of the walls.

The usual city termites have been around the tunnel as well, spreading trash and burning their guitars (!) although luckily they seem to have left the darkest middle places of the tunnel alone. And who burns guitars?!? We found two burned guitars in the tunnel.

But while I usually do not support unauthorised street art, I really like it when done in designated places. And in this tunnel... I love it! Amazing!

Sadly, it seems that there is an attempt to fill and block the tunnel. There's really no good reason to do that. Can this be stopped? (Or, if it can not be stopped, could we leave half a meter unfilled under the roof, to make a nice 600m crawl space for cavers?

By the way, I'm not reporting exactly where this tunnel is, for the sake of safety and continued access. Whatever you do, be aware of the safety of yourself and others. Never go alone, and always understand where you are and what the possible dangers in that place might be.

Thanks for Tor for guiding us where this beauty is, Jarmo for once again great photography, and for Velma, Janne, Eetu, and Eino for company.

Photos and videos (c) 2017 by Jari Arkko and Jarmo Ruuth. This blog is also available at the TGR site. Tämä blogi löytyy myös suomeksi Relaasta.

Remember that pointers to all my stories about caving and skiing can be found at the ​ and ​ web sites.

Monday, April 10, 2017


Welcome to the US, the land of lawyers and liability wavers! I had to sign a long liability waiver for just getting the ski pass for the day. Not seen that for mere tickets, though it is of course standard for hiring guides and the like.

I am at Granite Peak, collecting my 22nd US state, Wisconsin. And having a nice, sunny ski day! I was in Chicago in a meeting for week and a half, and used my one free day to do this.

Granite Peak extends for over a mile across a long ridge, with chair lifts placed at strategic points so that it is easy to get back up after any run. Traversing from one end to another takes some time, but not too long, and the lodge area is in the middle so getting there is easy.

Most of the terrain is rather mild, good for beginners and intermediates. There's a couple of mogul runs though. But what I liked best was the area at the top of the Blitzen chair. Here you find a couple of very short (just 10 meters or so high) double blacks that are steep and interesting. I personally liked Caroline's Couloir best, almost vertical for a few meters at the beginning. I also liked the long run, Western Frontier a lot, at the far skier's left.

The lifts also run in the evenings, the area is open from 9 to 9 in the season. Would have been nice to be hear in the night! Lift tickets for a full day are surprisingly expensive though, 100$ for a full day when not booking in advance.


Caroline's couloir:

T-shirt weather:

Ski runs:

Not imposing, at all:

Photos and videos (c) 2017 by Jari Arkko. Video editing on and sounds licensed from Apple iMovie. This blog is also available at the TGR site. Tämä blogi löytyy myös suomeksi Relaasta.