Korouoma Ice Festival 2011

Every December I go to Finland for Christmas. And while there, for probably six years in a row now (except for one year), I've been participating in what we call the "Korouoma Ice Festival" in Korouoma canyon, Posio, Finland. Korouoma has the best ice climbing in Finland and is located only about 100 km from Rovaniemi. It's a brilliant place to be in the middle of the winter.

It is not a real climbing festival. There is no organization or agenda. It's just a bunch of friends getting together for a few nights to climb ice and catch up. At some point we started calling it a festival just as a joke. Our group stays for up to five days in the canyon in a cabin that has a wood stove. It is the perfect time to catch up with old (and smelly unless girlfriends are present) friends. Unfortunately, once we have caught up, verbal energy is mostly used to propel bad jokes.

Our climbing is usually nervous, sketchy and sometimes somebody breaks an ankle. We have had a few emergency evacuations (always with the same guy) by skidoo. One of the most tricky things for success during the climbing days is to to find the balance between being gutsy enough to climb within your actual capacity but not to overdo it. It's not fun to climb only the easiest lines but it's not productive to scare yourself shitless on something too hard. We have to remember that December is usually the beginning of the season for most. Being humble usually works better in the long run. Build it up, work on technique.

This year I had only a few days for climbing. It wasn't enough. Next year I'll make sure I'll have more time.

I put up some photos of the festival from last December, 2011. View the photo gallery for the 2011 Korouoma Ice Festival. Below are a few sample shots.

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