Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Why I climb

YES, FRIENDS, I SENT THE THESIS! I WILL GRADUATE. It has been a long process, three years. During that time climbing has become, not just a form of recreation I love to do, but a way of life. For the past three years, I have devoted most of my time to climbing or working to save up, so I can go climbing. My climbing partners have gradually become my family and my priorities in life have changed tremendously. I used to have ambitious career goals but none of them seem important now.

I am very fortunate for getting my education in climbing in Oregon. Adapting to the blissful, stress free life style while living in Eugene made me realize what makes me happy. I was inspired by people who chose their jobs based on what their ambitions outside of work life are. In Finland, I had done the exact opposite. I had no time for sports other than running because I was committed to school and work.

This is what commitment is today:
cleaning boulders in Pinsiö, Finland in 2013.
Photo by Tuomo Turunen.
I learned to love indoor climbing. Photo by Mika Silander

For me, climbing has always been about doing what I thought is impossible for me. I love challenges. I love being scared. I love not knowing what is ahead of me. I love getting humbled by climbs. I love long, committing days on rock. I love the adventure. I love my dirty, smelly self after not showering for a week. Or a month.

Climbs I thought were impossible. This is the Hulk in 2014.

I love the nights spent under the stars. I love wrapping my cold, numb fingers around a hot cup of coffee in the morning. I love living out of a car. I wish I had a bigger car. Oh well, I live out of other peoples' cars. I love to make my climbing partners laugh. At me or with me, I don't care, as long as people around me are having fun.

I love waking up in random places like this. The Alabama Hills!

I love meeting new people and hearing their stories. I am blown away by the friendliness and hospitality of the people I have met along the way.

Lauri and I preparing dinner for the gang in Kustavi. Photo: Rami Valonen
This is what hospitality is like in Turku. Thank you Matti!

I've been asked how I've manage to support this life style financially. It has not been easy to get to where I am now, but I would not change a day. For the past three years, I have saved up every penny and learned to get by with a very little. I have worked three jobs at a time. I have chosen climbing trips over new clothes, proper gear, movies, dining out, job security, and having my own place to name a few. I have a long list of things I used to think are necessary for my happiness. As it turns out, they are not.

My spork. Photo by Max.
My pants. Photo by Max.

My gear is swag, used, borrowed, or bought because it was half off. In March 2015 I got a pair of Black Diamond Down Patrol climbing pants. That day I realized, for the first time in my life, I had bought a piece of clothing designed specifically for climbing.

I tried sending the French Blow in my cool climbing pants. No send. :D
Photo by Rami Valonen.

I have been injured. I have cried because I thought my body would break. I do PT exercises. Every. Single. Day.

Getting ready to climb in Pärkänvuori, in Kustavi. Photo by Rami Valonen.

I have struggled with fitting into the grade driven climbing culture in Finland. I climb because I love climbing. Not because I want to send or because I aim for the hardest grade. It is the key to my success and my strength as a climber. I work hard to be free from the fear of failure. Unless the gear is really bad, the fall is not safe, or the weather is coming in... hehe.

Every day spent outside, climbing with my friends is a win.

Two weeks ago I was having a blast in Bohuslän, Sweden.
Climbing Mallorol in Bohuslän. Katja, imagine if I had not gone to Oregon!

My next goal is to take a tiny break from this laptop. I'm off to Norway with Rami, Alan, and Liisa. Our goal is to find dry climbing. Cheers!

The belay-granny says greetings Bohuslän!

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