How to climb 8B being sick and without training

Jarkko Linkosuonio, 126 kb
Jarkko Linkosuonio
© Anni Manninen

Many of us try hard to become better climbers. We train hard, follow programs and maybe even diets. Sometimes it works, more often..not so much.
Some people can't do all that. Can't train at all. Not even work.
And still climb as a pro.

Meet the next Finnish star Jarkko Linkosuonio.

Here is his story:
In 2009 I was 18 years old and I was in a really good shape. I wanted to be a professional rock climber.
Suddenly I got really bad flu. After I got better my pulse was really high all the time, my muscles didn't recover from training and I was really tired all the time. Doctors couldn't find anything wrong with me and I was just told to rest.

I rested for five whole months and there wasn't any change in my condition, I didn't feel any better. I decided to go for a road trip with my friends (Anthony Gullsten, Roosa and Kuutti Huhtikorpi) in Europe and climb, no matter how I felt...
We were on the road for almost five months and I felt really bad all the time. But the only thing I wanted to do was to climb. On that trip I did my first 8B boulder and over 20 8A-8A+ boulders. I had to rest a lot and I could only take a cople of tries each climbing day, but it was worth it. I also did an 8b+ sport route in Spain and some 8b's.
When we drove back home, we stopped in Denmark for the Nordic bouldering championships and I made it to finals. I hadn't climbed inside in 10 months. Unfortunately during finals I couldn't do anything because I was too tired.

When we came home I decided to stop climbing because my condition was so bad. I though that I was going to die if I continued like this.

My condition went worse and worse every year and in 2011 I couldn't even walk properly. I had to stop working and I got a long sick leave. I was diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) and now doctors also suspected chronic Lyme disease.

In 2012 I started to eat really healthy and medicate myself with herbs and organic food. And now I feel much better!
I'm not completely healthy, not even close, but I feel better.

In the spring of 2014 I started to climb a little bit after a 5 year break from doing any sports what so ever! During that year I climbed about 5 times in a month and really easy stuff.

Sometimes I have tried how hard I can climb and it's really weird how strong I can still be!
In October (2014) I did my first climbing trip after 5 years and I went to Fontainebleau. I did a lot of easy stuff and I tried something harder only for few times. I flashed one 7B+ (Magic Bus) and did one 7C (Carnage assis) in first try.

I came back to Finland in November and I wanted to try an 8A boulder. I went to try one boulder which has one really hard 8A move. This boulder is Paddington and I did it on my first session in 7th try.

I took a one week break and went bouldering again and I flashed one 7C+, one 7B and one 7A. I made 3 tries and did 3 boulders.


From January to March my condition was quite bad and I almost didn't climb at all. Maybe 5-10 times or something.
21 March I thought my condition was bad. I went to Myllis and wanted to try the moves of an 8A. Instead I ended up trying Super Mario, 8B, and I made the 3rd ascent on my 8th try!
That was my first session on it.

After that I have climbed about 1-3 times a week and only outside in Finland. I have done quite a lot of hard boulders.

My last 2 month ticklist:
Super Mario, 8B (3rd ascent)
Bob Marley, 8A+ (3rd ascent, 3rd try)
Hottentotti assis, 8A+
Unusual Suspect, 8A
Antonin reitti, 8A
My cock rages on, 8A (7C+)
Hottentotti, 8A
Silversurfer extension, 7C+ (Flash)
Kuumalinja, 7C+
Suomijoutsen, 7C+ (FA after break)

I have tried Hypergravity, ~8B+, now a couple of times. It has ben REALLY close! I have fallen a couple of times from the end which is the easiest move of that boulder. In my opinion the grade is for sure 8B+ after a hold broke.
I can make only 2 or 3 tries per session.

Now I have rested the last two weeks because my finger hurts and it's already really warm in Finland. I also did basically all the moves on Armoton, 8B+ (8B?) in 15 minutes and I was really tired already before it. After that I haven't tried it.

My goal this year is to do an 8C boulder, Lucid Dreaming.

I'm good in pure power moves and jumping to crimps and taking swings. Lucid Dreaming should really fit my style. I have planned to go there in December. In autum I have planned to be in Europe a couple of months and do hard boulder there.

For now I can climb about 1-3 times a week and climb almost only outside. If it's bad weather I rest and if its good I send. Usually I climb 1 day and then I take 2 rest days. Sometimes I need more.

In Hypergravity I can take 2-3 tries per session and I need 1 hour rest between tries. For now I can go only boulders where the approach is short, because I can't do long walks. My legs get pumped. That's also the reason why I don't go to Rocklands in this season. I really want to do Amandla, 8B+, and Sky, but the hike is too long... Hope I can get there next year.

A question: You say you now climb 1-3 times a week, and only outdoors. Any fingerboarding? Campusing?
Nope. Only climbing.

So, you're naturally strong? Always been?
Yeah I think so...In 2007 I started to be a good climber. 2007-2008 I had a year off because of a finger injury. 2008-2009 I trained hard and I got stronger every day and in March 2009 I was in really good shape but then I got sick.

I started climbing in 2000 and I have climbed a lot!

Are you also pretty light?
Yeah, only 48kg at the moment.
I was maybe 53kg when I trtained in 2009 but when I stopped climbing my muscles disappeared so I'm now quite light.

Alright, so there's a lot of potential there. I'm guessing a couple of kgs of muscle wouldn't hurt, right?
Yeah, I try to eat a lot and get my weight back.

Quite an amazing story, right?
Now let's just hope Jarkko gets back to full strength, however scary that may sound...

Maybe it's about time we start practicing spelling J A R K K O L I N K O S U O N I O !

Forums 10 comments

This has been read 11,056 times
Return to News from June 2015