A Tribute to Indoor Climbing

I was about to tell you about my last trip to Kvaløya, Norway. The new places I visited, the fun moments I had climbing and bailing with Liisa, and the crippling fatigue that slowly wore us down. But it sounded so blah that I didn’t post anything.

Even though I was happy to be back home at the same time I also desperately wanted to go back to this.

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Liisa and I had to shed layers mid-hike. This is freedom. Photo by Liisa Peltonen

Then something unexpected happened. A couple days after getting home I found myself smiling happily at the freshly painted plywood walls at TK, my local gym because I had just had the most relaxed and enjoyable climbing experience I’ve had the whole summer. Climbing plastic holds and clipping fixed draws was incredibly fun. Wait, what?

And most importantly, why?

It took me about five minutes to come up with twenty-five reasons why.

  1. No approaching.
  2. No slippery wet slabs.
  3. No loose rock.
  4. No sketchy snow.
  5. I was not cold while I was belaying.
  6. I was not afraid of a hold breaking or the protection failing. The bolts and anchors are tested and safe.
  7. No route finding.
  8. Did I just drop something? No worries!
  9. I know what the route is like by looking at the holds. No scary routes!
  10. No rappelling.
  11. No tangled ropes. No stuck ropes. No core shots. And even if I end up with one of these, no worries!
  12. In-house first aid kit.
  13. I can fill my Nalgene in the bathroom as many times as I like to.
  14. Gotta poop? No worries!
  15. I forgot my spandex. Lost and found box. No luck? The climbing shop!
  16. My fingers and toes are dry and warm.
  17. Why did I not study meteorology when I had the chance? Or physical geography? Had I known. Oh well, I learn now.
  18. No hiking with heavy backpacks, no climbing with heavy backpacks.
  19. Gear loops! I almost forgot I have them. Nothing is dangling from my harness, so nice.
  20. This carpet is incredibly soft.
  21. My phone died. No worries!
  22. I dropped my phone. No worries!
  23. I can hear my belayer. My belayer can hear me.
  24. I’m tired. I don’t want to be climbing anymore. No worries!
  25. I can tell my mum exactly what I was doing this afternoon. She worries so I often feel guilty about pursuing a lifestyle that has inherent risks.
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Climbing long routes means we take the first weather window we get, skip one night of sleep, and climb/scramble 18 hours straight. In the photo Liisa and I are almost at Storstolpan. Photo by Liisa Peltonen
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Liisa and the Ståra Blåmann. Her haul bag weights so much she can’t stand straight. Hehe.
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Climbing long routes means I say goodbye to the cute gym look and organize trad gear in itchy, uncomfortable wool and/or technical layers. Familiar with the atopic eczema? No? You are very, very lucky. Cotton would be so much better, except COTTON KILLS! Photo by Liisa Peltonen
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Climbing long routes often means that you approach for several hours.
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Sketchy snow and loose, wet rock are my favorite combo!
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I forgot one! You smell terrible, especially your socks! Liisa forgot hers at the Baugen hut. It seems like someone found them. 😉
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Heading back home. I was very happy to find cairns this particular day. An hour hike to the car, then a cheerful 16 hour drive back to Tampere.

I promise right now, that I will never again complain about climbing indoors. I don’t have to be there if I don’t want to. I can bail anytime, at any point of the day and no harm is done.

I’m happy as long as I have the option for both indoor and outdoor climbing. Here are a couple examples of what me and my friends do for fun indoors. Please, always consult the staff before rigging setups like these in the gym. Cheers!

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Even my most devoted boulderer-friend Riikka knows how to set up a portaledge. Big boulder, big wall, it’s all the same.
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The Birthday bingo challenges Hanna to aid a trad route. First step is to practice aiding bolt ladders.
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