Wednesday, September 27, 2023

A Finnish Caving Buffet

If your caving friend was coming over for a weekend, what would you show about the Finnish caving scene? Here's our menu for a caving buffet, covering everything from ice saunas to block caves to cracks in granite, mines, limestone caves, to salmon meals to ... did I already mention saunas? Not to forget Sibelius for dessert!

But let's get to the detailed design of the menu. For appetizer... one needs to start already on the boat ride. How about a sauna? Ice? No, let's go for an ICE SAUNA straight away. Or is it ICE CAVE? No matter, Viking Glory's spa department can do it:

(More about the spa visit here.)

But we are hungry, so now it is time to get to the meat of it. How about a dark first course with some downtown city vibes? Turku's Luolavuoren luola (Cave of the Cave Mountain :-) ) delivers a respectable 45 meters of darkness. But this early in our buffet we need to keep it light, so a sprinkling of some fresh light seemed appropriate. An oil lamp and new color-changing Black Diamond headlamp did the trick:

(More about the Luolavuori visit here.)

For the second course we have to use some secret ingredients, as all chefs do. We can't disclose where this is, but it is definitely green. And occasionally blue! For added taste, we got some spiders:

(More about the canyon cave visit here.)

For the third course we needed some cleanup. But not without escaping the underworld. Itäkeskus underground swimming hall to the rescue:

(More about the hall visit here.)

Time for some seafood in the menu, I guess. How about salmon, cooked on cedar planks soaked in rosemary and water, with a secret sauce on top?

Variation is a key to a nice meal. The fifth course brought us even further down, but to a man-made world with upside down skyscraper testing ground in the Tytyri mine. And, as expected, there was a sauna. And fortunately, this course was also child friendly. Weirdly enough, we also found a treasure and saw Josef and Maria appearing in stalagmites. Who knew!

(More about the mine and KONE testing grounds visit here.)

Calcium is important, so the sixth course was about limestone caves. But it was also a light course, just like the first one. Finland's premier limestone cave Torhola:

(More about the Torhola cave visit here.)

But the meal continues! The seventh course was the onion-shaped Högberget cave in Kirkkonummi. Not sure I know what the fuzz is about this cave. Onion looks... why is this so interesting? But the cave is otherwise super interesting. Actually, there are other similar shapes and rock forms around in the same neighborhood. And interestingly all are at the Litorina sea water level, so our theory is that these are ancient beach caves.

(More about this cave in another blog article here.)

Right. Continuing... and feeling like we needed some iron. Maybe also something more concrete meal than a squishy onion. How about a blown up two-storey Russian bunker from the time they occupied the Porkkala peninsula in in the 1950s? There's certainly enough iron in those rusting rebars. Hopefully they are not so rusted though that they let go of the hanging pieces of thick concrete slabs...

(More about this bunker in another blog article here.)

The ninth course is blocks... not legos but boulders. A block cave. Pile of boulders. Plenty of them. By a lake. The actually has its own in-cave boat parking, if you arrive by boat :-) By this time in the meal, we needed some stretching, and we certainly got that in the tight corners between the boulders.

(More about the Korkberget cave visit here.)

Wow! It is a long meal, and the Korkberget was perhaps the heaviest and longest course. Feeling pretty full, but there's always room for a dessert. Particularly an artistic one. This time our dessert was server by Jean Sibelius, who in 1911 found Finland's first ancient rock painting, by the Vitträsk lake in Kirkkonummi.

(More about these paintings in another blog article here.)

Read more urban exploration stories from, and other underground stories from Read the full Planetskier series at, or all blog articles from Blogspot or TGR. Photos and text (c) 2023 by Jari Arkko. All rights reserved

Korkberget fun

Korkberget is my favorite local cave. Also one of Finland's largest block caves, even if you don't get to go very dark while going through the cave; in most places you can see entrances and light between the boulders. But it is a wonderful sight, a great squeeze exercise, and nice back massage. And clearly an opportunity to practice much needed flexibility by the cavers :-)

We started out in the cave by taking the hardest general section on the west end of the cave. This involves tight squeezes to dead end cave tunnels and back, passing large rocks with just a little bit of space to spare, and twisting your body in unnatural ways. Fun!

Then we continued through the library section (which used to host a magazine left by someone), which provided much needed massage when flowing down a sloping rock bottom under so large boulder that there was no space to hold the helmet on...

This was followed by the main cave, which looked fun:

And then we popped up on top:

Followed by an immediate descent to a vertical tunnel that needs to be climbed, for a visit in the cave's boat parking harbor (also inside the cave). Back out and then to the tightest squeeze of the cave, a narrow passage that first turns left then up, while not having enough space to move your hands from back to front... but we all made it.

Some earlier Korkberget articles can be found here and here. There's also a complex map.

Read more urban exploration stories from, and other underground stories from Read the full Planetskier series at, or all blog articles from Blogspot or TGR. Photos and text and coordinates (c) 2023 by Jari Arkko. All rights reserved

Caves on crack

A canyon. A wonder of nature that I did not know existed in Finland. Amazing, truly amazing green views! A place so secret that I do not wish to even tell its name or coordinates, for fear of leading more traffic to this delicate natural place. The place is near Turku, however. Let's call the it "Kaarinan rotkoluola" (Kaarina crack cave). You may ask how we knew about this place. We had a friend with us with knowledge... so here we were. 

More traffic in this place might also further disturb the neighbors who live nearby and seem unhappy about visitors. I get that, their houses are near. Let's all be careful, not spread the information unnecessarily. And if you do happen to visit this place, please please be quiet, stay out of sight, and don't park your car nearby or where it disturbs anyone.

The setting is a rocky hill or a cliff that is crossed by a crack. There is about 90 meters between the beginning and end of the crack, though it does not run exactly straight.

The canyon begins and ends as a crack, a narrow canyon that drops several meters into the granite hill. In both ends it starts mellow, just a meter or two first. But it goes further down and becomes narrower, eventually connecting above you. 

There's two main sections in the cave. The first one is an (approximately) 12 meter path fully covered from above. Then there's a five meter opening in the crack above, But even in this section the canyon walls lean on one side by a half a meter or so, and one could perhaps argue that the cave continues here as well. At least if your definition of being in a cave is that you're protected from rain :-) From this point onwards the cave continues with another 11 meter path under the rocks. 

Anyway, tentatively labelling the cave as having a length of 12 + 5 + 11 or 28 meters. That's respectable for Finland :-)

We were unable to go through the entire length at the bottom of the canyon. From the end of the crack you can come back, almost, to the place we had to climb up. But there's a very tight squeeze we did not feel like experimenting with... not sure this is doable.

Photos follow. This is what the canyon looks like from the top:

The cave parts look like this:

The entrance and and exit of the canyon:

There were some rare cave entrance spiders in the canyon as well:

Also. when working or exercising, it is super important to have breaks. Take a seat and a breather now and then. Like this for instance:

Read more urban exploration stories from, and other underground stories from Read the full Planetskier series at, or all blog articles from Blogspot or TGR. Photos and text and coordinates (c) 2023 by Jari Arkko. All rights reserved

Tuesday, September 26, 2023

More lights testing, now in Torhola

We continued the sampling of the best Finnish caves on our weekend tour, as well as played more with the nice lights we had. (Previous light story was here.)

This time we were at the Torhola cave in Lohja, conveniently near Lohja's Tytyri mine we just visited (the mine visit article is here.)

Torhola cave is of course one of the most wonderful caves in Finland, the only even medium-sized karst cave, with lots of tunnels, squeezes, cracks, multiple levels, etc. And in a nice environment by the lake. There's also a couple of side caves. 

I think Torhola is also the only cave in Finland with its own parking lot and sign. But I feel sad for the tourists and families who are planning on a nice outing only to see scary, dirty overall-dressed helmet heads messing around. Even if we always try to be helpful and act as guides, talk about the cave, etc. Seems like people feel they need more equipment to enter, when they see our outfits. Sigh.

The photos above and below are taken from the tight entrance to the "basement" part of the Torhola cave. This tight entrance can be found at the very end of the main big hall. You have to get on your knees to get to the end, as the roof gets low. And only when you get to the end you will see a hole that leads down. Go feet first. It is a drop, nothing dangerous, but you won't see easily what's going on before your feet reach the stones. This is why we have named the tunnel the Schrödinger's drop (see map further down).

It is even more interesting for coming up. The difference between the levels is large enough that it is difficult to get up. But, there's a foothold in the roof behind you when you're climbing up, and you can use it to push yourself through the hole. Scary or fun, depending on your viewpoint :-) I like it.

And once again, the oil lamp provided wonderful warm light:

The map:

And of course, some bonehead had decided to make a modern cave painting in the main hall of the cave:

Read more urban exploration stories from, and other underground stories from Read the full Planetskier series at, or all blog articles from Blogspot or TGR. Photos and text and coordinates (c) 2023 by Jari Arkko, Jarmo Ruuth, and Duncan Simey. All rights reserved

Mine sauna

I've been here before, but it is always refreshing: the Tytyri kaivos keeps having less miners but more and more tourists and elevator researchers. This time we found a treasure: a sauna in the depths of the mine, on level 80. 

The sauna is not historic, it has not been used, just a recreation. But they are trying to get the sauna approved for use. Crossing fingers, I will definitely come here if they open it up!

Other things in the mine include crushing plant, 1950s mining vehicles, the now broken diagonally rising pulley van, a light show in a 100m x 100m x 100m underground hole, troll park, geological history display, the fancy skyscraper elevator bank, a banquette hall, stalactites and stalagmites, and many other things.

And 5G works all the way down there :-)

More pictures from the sauna:

The elevators:

Other pictures:

Tytyri can be reached at their web site. Tickets are 24€ for tours, but you can stay after the tour to look around by yourself. 

For more sauna and swimming stories, check out and websites! Read more urban exploration stories from, and other underground stories from Read the full Planetskier series at, or all blog articles from Blogspot or TGR. Photos and text (c) 2023 by Jari Arkko and Ralf Stranded. All rights reserved. I never take photos of other saunagoers or swimmers and visit when there is simply no one else or the facility has been closed or booked only for me.