/ DESTINATION GUIDE: Helsinki Bouldering

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UKC Articles 03 Sep 2019
Cities, seas and sit starts. Pete Edwards shares the beta on urban bouldering spots in and around Helsinki, Finland...

Climbing on a city break these days is more likely to involve a trip to a local climbing gym, but pick your city and it needn't be. Fontainebleau is well known as being "near Paris" and the scene around Madrid is certainly growing but what if I were to tell you there is a venue buried inside the city limits of one of Europe's capitals where all of the crags are accessible easily, quickly and relatively cheaply by public transport and there is ample bouldering of significant quality?



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HeMa 03 Sep 2019
In reply to UKC Articles:

For gear & chalk, pretty much all of the climbing gyms have it (4 Boulderkeskus.com, 3 Kiipeilyareena.com and kiipeilykeskus.com), as well as a few climbing/outdoor shops (Camu.fi within spitting distance of the central railway station, Mountainshop.fi in hip Kallio and lastly Varuste.net next to one of the Boulderkeskus bouder gyms).

I bit of shame that while you visited some of the classic areas, you imho did miss some of the best crags (albeit they are a bit further away from the city center and might not offer as wide grade range). E.g. Taivaskallio and Meilahti are showing that indeed granite can get polished (some of the footholds on say Via Dolorosa in Meilahti or Savumuuri in Taivaskallio).

Funny thing about Karhea laatta... I was there some years ago and the pioneer and father of finnish climbing Matti Jokinen was there also for his evening session. He rated Karhea laatta highly, but did note that none of the original holds were there anymore.

Post edited at 20:43
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Jody 06 Sep 2019
In reply to UKC Articles:

Thanks the well written article, Helsinki and Finland in general is a great place to climb.

"It may be the urban nature of Helsinki or the plus side to the parasitic birds but we found VERY few mossies,"

If only this was the case every year . When I visited Finland this year I have never known it to be so mossie free and I have climb there over 15 years. Apparently, it was due to the unusually dry weather, so unfortunately I would not bank on it being that good in the future.   

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HeMa 06 Sep 2019
In reply to Jody:

> If only this was the case every year . When I visited Finland this year I have never known it to be so mossie free ...

True, the good thing is that Thermacell generally works OK here in Finland for mossies... 

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TobyA 06 Sep 2019
In reply to Jody:

Yeah, at Koivusaari you're generally ok with the sea breeze and rock base but I remember Mellunmäki (nb: it's spelt incorrectly in the article) being mozzie hell some nights. So if you make it through the mean streets of Mellunmäki un-mugged (it's actually like the rest of Finland, perfectly nice, it just has a bit of a reputation for being one of the rougher bits of Helsinki but these things are all relative) you'll get eaten by the wildlife. Or the rock will shred you're fingers! 😀

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ad111 08 Sep 2019
In reply to HeMa:

If only the thermacell worked on the moose flies . . . I was pulling them out of my armpits for about half an hour last time I left Lappnor.

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TobyA 08 Sep 2019
In reply to ad111:

> If only the thermacell worked on the moose flies

I never really developed that much of a loathing for moose flies - they just don't seem to bite. Yes, they walk around in your hair and that's unpleasant feeling but they're big enough to feel so you can grab them!

How did they get in your armpits though?! A danger of bouldering with your top off?

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HeMa 08 Sep 2019
In reply to UKC Articles:

Oh yeah, in case you happen to be in HELLsinki for business and can't be arsed to lug a pad with ya. BoulderKeskus seems to be renting pads.

https://www.boulderkeskus.com/en/sivu/news/news/?postid=964

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ad111 09 Sep 2019
In reply to TobyA:

> How did they get in your armpits though?! A danger of bouldering with your top off?

Exactly!

It's just the thought of them burrowing about that I can't stand. I'd far prefer be bitten by mosquitoes!

Happily the temperature is beginning to drop along with all of the insects and good conditions are returning

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TobyA 09 Sep 2019
In reply to ad111:

> It's just the thought of them burrowing about that I can't stand.

I'm sure someone told me that moose fly bury their larvae under the skin (hopefully only of moose) but I was never brave enough to look this up. Anyone know if its true?

I should say for non-Finns or Helsinki-residents, current and former, I don't actually remember moose flies that much at the suburban crags and boulders - they are proper forest beasties.

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ad111 10 Sep 2019
In reply to TobyA:

> I'm sure someone told me that moose fly bury their larvae under the skin (hopefully only of moose) but I was never brave enough to look this up. Anyone know if its true?

I had a look on wikipedia:

"They will, however, bite humans, and the bites are said to be painful and may cause an allergic skin reaction. Initially, the bite may be barely noticeable and leaves little or no trace. Within 3 days, the site develops into a hard, reddened welt. The accompanying itch is intense and typically lasts 14 to 20 days. Occasionally, an itch papule may persist for a year.[4] The main annoyance in humans is the inconvenience and unpleasantness of removing keds from hair and clothes."

I'd also like to add for visitors - Finnish climbing is fantastic and it's well worth exploring the (in my admittedly biased opinion) many top class bouldering locations like Vaasa and Ahvenanmaa. Plus, you shouldn't miss out on a trip to see the first 9A boulder!

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