Things that make us smile

The past month I’ve been busy with relatively time consuming projects. I’m either working 12 hour days or climbing so much in one push that I need a full week to recover.

It’s been a month since I last went out climbing or doing anything without being tied into a schedule.

One of the many projects. Gotta have them T-nuts straight ladies!

This past weekend I finally got a break from schedules and projects. Katja and I spent two beautiful days in the Turku area bouldering in Maskutalo and climbing and camping in Kustavi.

I’m climbing Huokaisee (4) which is also the down climb. Olli is on Jälkitärinä (6b). Photo by Juha Suikkala
Optimisti boulder has about 15 problems, all in the 6a-c range and all excellent. Bring an extra pad. Photo by Juha Suikkala

Driving to Kustavi is like driving home.

Katja is smiling. I am smiling too. I asked Katja what she is smiling for.


We both started laughing. We are smiling because we are doing what we love to do: exploring new places with friends, challenging ourselves, having chocolate and cookies for lunch, petting dogs, listening to the same song from the YOUNGHEARTED in repeat, having dinner under the stars (more cookies), sleeping in a car, and being outside in the crisp fall weather.

Vans are overrated. We spent the night in Katja’s golf. Photo by Katja Silomäki
Bye bye birds. We stay right here. Photo by Katja Silomäki

Once again we had the whole Kustavi to ourselves: Uhrikallio, Hopia, and Riskelä.

Emu was not feeling well. Katja carries everything.

Minor set back was me coming down with a cold Saturday night. Sorry Katja for waking you up every hour and using all our toilet paper for blowing my nose. Another rest week for Emu.

The forest is full of lingonberries and beautiful fall colors. Go play outside!

And find something that makes you smile like so… 🙂 🙂 🙂

Emu and Katja’s Tampere Link-up

The past six weeks Katja and I have spent about 40 hours scouting routes, cleaning routes, climbing together, and figuring out the logistics for a fun link-up. Our goal was to climb 30 routes each in one push around our hometown Tampere. To make it easier we agreed that we would only lead routes we’ve climbed before.

Hola, We are Emu and Katja! We want to send big.
Hola, 14 sent!

I had spent several days climbing in the Tampere area the month before so I decided my goal was to try leading everything. Katja had a list of routes she wanted to lead and the rest she would toprope.

Katja cheerfully getting ready to send Masterbation at Rämövuori.

Saving time is easy if you figure out the logistics beforehand. We saved time by bringing two ropes and climbing at least two routes in a row. The time spent transitioning from a climber to a belayer was cut in half. Better yet, if the climbing is really easy like at Rämö 2 take turns in climbing the whole wall.

We climbed the hardest routes in the daylight and the easiest in the dark with a few exceptions (Tessun kuuraketti and Jorma).

The small things matter too. Katja learned to pee without taking her harness off which saves about five minutes. The boinky straps in the back of the harness allow you to take your pants down and pee quickly and safely without opening the straps or removing the harness. Ladies, pee safe on multipitch climbs!

We didn’t run or hurry. We were efficient.

“Which song do you want to listen to next Katja?” Efficient is relative.

The highlight of the day was actually the night. We bailed from Melo because it was pouring rain. At Mustavuori we had a light drizzle. Jere asked if he could come and take photos of us climbing in the dark. Absolutely!  Thank you for sharing the photos Jere.

emu solmii
I’m getting ready for the warmup Zig Zag at Mustavuori. Photo by Jere Toivanen
Climbing in the dark was surreal. I felt like I was in a light bubble. Photo by Jere Toivanen
emu lähettää
Emu in a bubble. Photo by Jere Toivanen
Team tanks, team socks, team crocs, team jackets. Photo by Jere Toivanen
Mustavuori is a beautiful climbing venue by night. Photo by Jere Toivanen
Late night dinner (more ryebread with cheese) and gear shuffle at the car. Photo by Jere Toivanen

After it got dark we had eight routes to go. We knew we have until 4am until it starts raining so we decided to take it easy. It took us 45 minutes to climb six routes at Ketara in the daylight and two hours to climb three routes at Mustavuori in the dark. Climbing in the dark is usually avoided at all cost but this time it was exciting and fun.

Cheers team! One more crag and five more routes to go. Photo by Jere Toivanen

The dark and wet climbing continued at Viitapohja between 1am and 3am. Don’t trust the weather forecast. The first time I felt tired was when we got out of the warm car, hiked into the dark, chilly, rainy forest, and started climbing the 26th route. We got wet and our stuff got soaking wet. Fortunately the climbing is steep so the routes stayed relatively dry.

Nätti Jussi was our 30th route. Neither one of us had climbed it before. At the top we laughed, hugged, and did all sorts of weird fist pump/high five routines. We sent our link-up!

On our way back to the car I fell into the trench by the road.

Thank you for the inspiring, fun day Katja. And thank you to all our friends who supported and cheered for us!

Emu and Katja’s trip report from Tampere (by night) link-up. It takes about 14 hours to complete from TK to TK by car.

Route list:

Ketaranvuori (sport/mixed/trad)

1. New eye 5c 2. Erittäin vaikee  4+ 3. Pc 4+ 4. Varpaat 5 5. Greek II 6a 6. Hollyfield hävis 6a 7. Tuuletus 6a

Rämövuori (sport):

8. Yksiö 6a 9. Rancho relaxo 6c 10. Umpipari. 6a 11. Kraateri 6a 12. Musta-aukko 6b 13. Veenus 5c 14.   Masterbation 6b

Rämövuori 2 (sport):

We climbed 8th different bolt lines and the 6a+ variation. I climbed from right to left and Katja from left to right. The routes could be:

15. Bogie 16. Eagle 17. Birdie 18. Par 3 19. Par 4 Variaatio  20. Hole in one 21. FORE! 22. Backtee

Mustavuori (sport):

23. Zig Zag 5 24. Jorma 6b 25. Tessun kuuraketti 6a

Viitapohja (trad):

26. Kultainen keskitie 5 (sport) 27. Vasen väärä 4+ 28. Nojaa 5 29. Lapinleikkaus 4+ 30. Nätti Jussi 5

Nine months later

I am not having a baby. This is a story of the day when Emma epiced at the crag BIG time.

Max and I went to Spain last November. What happened the second to last day of our seven day trip has taken me a long time to digest and recover from. Nine months to be exact.


First, I hurt my shoulder while I was climbing a route in Margalef. Second, I did it in the worst manner possible.

We had climbed several days in a row in Siurana so my muscles were already exhausted. Based on my climbing routine at home before the trip (two days on two days of) I should have known better.

I should have taken a rest day after four days of climbing and in between those four days.

But every time I go to the crag I want to climb as much as I can. That’s how it’s always been with me and climbing; go big or go home.


After climbing four routes I got tired but I still had my draws up on a climb. Max suggested he could get the draws down if I’m not feeling it. Right. Like I would let my BOYFRIEND get the draws for me.

Truth to be told, If I was climbing with a friend I would have gladly said yes. Please get the draws for me, I’ll buy you a beer. But I was there with my boyfriend and I knew I can get up this climb. So I refused the offer three times and reluctantly tied in and made my climbing partner, who just happens to be my boyfriend too, watch me epic.

Three clips from the top I pull on two tiny crimps and smear my feat up the smooth limestone. Right before I’m ready to lock of for the next move I realize I can’t move. Next I hear my right shoulder crack. Everything happened so fast I can’t say for sure what happened, but I believe my right shoulder gave in because I had placed too much weight on it.

Later I learned that my shoulder joint sublexed which means a partial dislocation of the shoulder and is common in sports that entail overhead activities such as volleyball, swimming, and climbing. I’ve never suffered from an acute sport injury so I got scared.

After sobbing for about five minutes I was able to calm myself down. Despite of what had just happened I was determined to go to the top.

The minute my feet touch the ground I start crying again. I don’t even know why I kept crying.  I was relieved and happy because my shoulder was intact and pain free.

Photo by Max
Photo by Max

The pain finally came a week later at work. I was unable to lift my arm up to the keyboard. After seeing a physiotherapist the real problem started reveling itself. Climbing for three years had aggravated a problem I’ve been developing in my right shoulder since I first laid my hands on a computer.

I found a physiotherapist through my work. She pointed out the imbalance in my shoulder joint and arms too (my biceps are to big, poor Emma) and explained that my right shoulder should look like my left shoulder. During the winter months I climbed at the gym just an hour at a time twice a week.

The climbing did not cause this, but it sure did not help.

The physiotherapist explained to me which muscle groups I need to strengthen and which I should stretch. She also told me to pay more attention to my posture. I am very grateful for her. My shoulder is not perfect yet but it is better.

This upcoming weekend Katja and I are giving a first go to our Tampere linkup. The original idea was to climb the linkup in a day in one push but the only decent weather window is between Friday and Saturday afternoon.

Katja, get psyched and bring your headlamp!

Emu and Katja’s Tampere (by night) -linkup. As many as we can is the goal.