Hiking in Finland

Climbing, bikepacking, skiing & packrafting in the north

The Week in Review

Happy new year!

News & Various:

Katabatic Gear has a new, serious winter quilt - the Blackwelder 0°F. I have a huge smile on my face seeing this beauty.

Dave tells the truth about trees. A must-read, this is a hilarious, excellently written post that will put a smile on your face.

Valcas1 explains how to make a DIY Wood Gasification Stove.

If you feel that life is too short to do a crappy job that you hate, Chris has some valueable advice on How to get Working Holiday Visas. Think "Work-for-a-while-in-an-exotic-country-and-then-go-hiking-there".

David wrote two excellent MYOG article appropriate for the winter. One deals with DIY anti-balling plates and the second with ice axe modifications.

Birds are your kind of thing? Check out Terje Sylte's blog, and his recent photos of eagles. Great stuff.

Fraser picked six photos for his Photographic Review 2010. They're so awesome that Wordpress put his blog on their frontpage. That should be reason enough for you going to see them.

Helen reviews the book "Dances with Marmots".

Trip Reports:

Eric realized it is never too late. Recommended see, awesome photos.

Clint and his friend Seth made an epic climbing trip to the Revelation mountains. Excellent photos, excellent writing, this is a recommended read!

Maunawili Falls was Joshua's last hike of 2010, and it was a pretty one. Where there's wildlife and waterfalls a great time is always held.

Around Scotland went to visit the Tatras. Stunning scenery in great photos, make sure to check them out.

Dan and family visited Lapland, USA.

Cedar & Sand visited Moab.

Hike. Ski. Hike. Ski.

Hiking in Kauai means lush, green forests, wildlife, beautiful flowers, high mountains, beautiful beaches. Stunning photos!

John visited the AZ Hot Springs via White Rock Canyon, a very nice trip report with pretty photos.

Mike took some stunning photos on his second Howden le Wear walk, make sure to check them out!

James went on his last climb of the year.

Jill found out that snow makes everything tougher.

The Kebo Mountain Area in which Kelley and John were for a walk is very pretty in its winter dress.

Roger walked along the Danish - German border, 74 km from Padborg to Skelde Kobbelskov.

Dave continues to write about his trip on the Boundary Trail.

James spent 2010 on the hills.

Nibe walked the North Sea Trail from Den Haag to Katwijk and back, and their outdoor bar offered nice cool drinks.

Knuutilan Kartano Panorama

GEAR talk:

Chris Townsend lets us know his Top Ten Favourite New Items of Gear for 2010.

Sheepleg introduces us to the perfect cookset for couples, the GSI Microdualist.

Martin wrote a great review about the Western Mountaineering Hooded Flash Jacket.

Mark takes a critical look at the First Ascent Hangfire Hoodie.

Fraser finally got a pair of snowshoes, and proudly shows off his new Redfeather Hike snowshoes (as well as some Fizan Compact poles =).

Ryan's take on gear is to "Keep It Simple, Make It Last". A good principle.

Steven, better known as "Man-with-ice-blocks-as-hands", reviews the The North Face Montana Mitts.

If the Montbell Thermawrap Parka is something you have had your eyes on, check out what Thomas has to say about it in his review.

The Velo Hobo reviews the GorillaPod. If you still look for a multi-use tripod for your camera, check it out - I love mine!

/edit: Too much things on my mind means I start to forget stuff. The Scotland by Chris Townsend book goes to Sam, congratulations! Please contact me via Email with your address and the book will be on its way soon! Thanks for all who commented =)

Hiking in Finland Says "Thank You Dear Readers"!

In the words of someone much more smart, well articulated and funny than me:

It's just a ride.

My thanks go to all the fine readers and smart people who comment and regularly check in here, you keep me motivated and inspired to write and share my stories with you.

Many, many thanks go out to all the fine folks whom I have met due to this wee blog - the guys from the Trekking-Ultraleicht.de Forum who entrusted me with organizing their Winter Tour, Phil and Steven who came for a sauna and fire trip to Finland, my fellow Nordic Lightpackers whom I met for an adventure in Vålådalen, Thomas for his hospitality in Oslo, Mark for his willingness to meet me for a beer in Tampere, as well as Matti for going on a snowshoeing & skiing trip and Xavier for his patience in Salamajärvi National Park. Also a big thank you to Peter whom I very nearly met - I am sure in 2011 we will climb some mighty Scottish peaks and wildcamp there.


So while I am already venturing out to 2011 and what will happen, what more can you expect? Well, my Wilderness Guide education will see me skiing a good seven weeks around in Finland between February and April, and a Canoe (Packrafting!) trip is scheduled as well. School ends in the end of June, just in time for some summer adventures. I reckon autumn will be that golden time where I might take clients to see the beauty of Lapland, and before you know it, it will be December again.

The "Ultralight A - Z" video series will start to appear soon-ish. Gear and Book Reviews will be coming at a steady flow. Ultralight climbing and mountaineering will make its debut on this site. More trips. A new design. Plenty of stuff to stay tuned for. You keep reading and commenting, and I keep writing, video- and photographing.

And remember: It's just a ride.

Book Corner: Scotland by Chris Townsend

My trip to Scotland at the end of November didn't happen. What's the next best thing I could do? Get a copy of Chris' superb Scotland book.

As someone who has never been to Scotland, this is an excellent resource to plan a trip. We live in a time and age where we often forgo books and maps for the internet and mobile apps, but seldom that, what you find for free from the net, is of high (enough) quality. So if one is serious about a trip to Scotland, be it for the TGO Challenge, a solo traverse of the Cairngorms or any other trip, this tome of knowledge is required reading.

After I got the book I wasn't able to put it back down. Chris manages to capture your interest with his writing style, and first after I went through the whole Introduction chapter I took a break. In the introduction you'll find pretty much everything you need to know if you plan to walk the glens and mountains of Scotland, from how to get there, how to behave in a bothy, where you can find accomodation and what gear would be smart to bring.

Because I haven't been in Scotland before, it is also very, very useful that the book has a glossary at the end of the book - now I know that glen (Gleann) means valley, a Burn is a stream and a Loch is Gaelic/ Scots for lake. The maps are good, but for a trip you should get the proper OS maps. Chris is a good photographer, and the book is full of fine photos from mountaintops with great views, waterfalls and scenic wild camping spots which makes you want to pack your rucksack and start walking right away.

Chris divided the mountain areas of the region into seven areas - from the Southern Uplands to the Northern Highlands and The Islands. Each of these chapters starts up with a summary, which lets you know the highlights of the region, a general map to get an overview and an introduction. Then Chris dives into the details, describing hills, access to the area, where you can finds pubs & accommodation as well as suggestions for routes and trips. Because Chris has walked all the munros - twice! - he knows the region, and you can feel that when reading this book. However if you expect ready-made routes, think again - Chris wants to inspire and encourage readers to plan their own routes and trips, while he gives them all the tools they would need for it.

A list of further recommended reading, the current list of Munros and Corbetts (apparently mountains in Scotland are still growing/ shrinking =), and a handy Index round out this tome. At a massive 1184 gram, divided over 557 pages, Scotland by Chris Townsend is something to read at home, next to the fire while pouring over maps to plan a trip.

In conclusion, if you plan on any rock/ ice climbing, mountaineering, ski touring or hill walking in Scotland, for a daytrip or for a week or more, you should get this book. The knowledge and insider information in this book, together with the stunning photos and maps for planning, make the book mandatory for all those who plan to spend time outdoors in Scotland. It is also excellent for those who see their trips thwarted =)

Cicerone was so friendly to allow me to raffle off one copy of Scotland by Chris Townsend. To participate, you need to leave a comment and tell where in Scotland you'd like to go. The raffle closes on Sunday, 2nd of January at noon Finnish time and the winner - determined by Random.org - will be announced in The Week in Review on that day.

For those who don't trust their luck or can't wait, click the underneath photo & link to purchase your own copy.

Disclosure: If you buy the book via the link I will earn a couple of cents, as I have a Amazon Affiliate Account.