Heikki The Monkey Man (because I can)

Did it really come to this, did I really find a new hobby in addition to my current ones? Going to the gym is fun, with the fast results and jogging makes one feel alive (as long as allergies don’t kill you). On my first run this year I ran a little under four kilometers and couldn’t breathe without wheezing until a few hours later. But something was missing from this setup, because one also needs to be.. flexible?

We visited the Eastern border at Lappeenranta a few weeks ago and a friend suggested that instead of going to the gym, we’d take a look at the local indoor climbing hall of Bouldersaimaa, who were having an Open Door day. I was a big sceptical walking in there, we needed to leave our shoes at the door and everything. Before we saw a single employee! Speaking of, the guy at the desk was more than welcoming and clearly wanted me to fall in love with the sport. He asked me to sign a few papers mentioning possible fatalities and a waiver agreeing that I was there out of my own free will.

This activity doesn’t require you to buy a bunch of equipment, save for a pair of special gym shoes. I hear they should feel one size too small to do their job properly. So if it feels uncomfortable, that means it’s working.

Indoor climbing (I’m having trouble calling it ”bouldering” in the Finnish language, it sounds so…clumsy) also doesn’t require you to use ropes or a guy to hold the rope to keep you up there. Simply go with God and hop on the wall! Just kidding, there’s a giant mattress covering the entire floor there to break your inevitable fall. They reminded me of the gym mattresses from primary school, so I felt very nostalgic crashing and burning on them.

So, without any kind of stretching or the faintest idea on how one should operate in that place, I went for it. Sure, they filled me in on the color coding system and all that jazz but for the first few tries I was just trying to climb on top of the wall. Turns out I’m a bit of a natural*. We went bananas for an hour or so and if there was any doubt about which exercise works the forearms best, there isn’t anymore.

*Disclaimer: on my second time I was told my technique is all over the place and I should try to use ”smart climbing” instead of just pulling myself up. So there’s much to learn!

On the following Monday I walked into the local climbing hall of Boulderpaja and pulled out my E-passport. The plan is to go there once a week.

Speaking of utilizing offers, this week is Bicycle Week and you’d think it has nothing to do with bouldering but it does! Boulderpaja in Jyväskylä has a special offer this week for a 3-month pass (June to August)! I know, in Summertime you don’t feel like doing indoor sports but it rains sometimes, you know. If you switch gym training to climbing every once in a while, you don’t only get an amazing upper body, you also get cool bruises and hairline fractures on your toes.

//Heikki

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