Korpijaakko

– my personal views on all walks of outdoor life

Icescapes of lake Konnevesi

As February turned into March it was time for the AcrossGreenland2014 expedition to gather for a meeting. This time we had agreed to meet outdoors to test gear and get some kilometers on skis. Even though the lousy winter conditions in Southern Finland were against us, we didn’t let it slow us down and thus headed to Etelä-Konnevesi i.e. the Southern parts of Lake Konnevesi, a future national park.

We arrived at a quiet little fishing harbour after midnight and as the lake was covered with bare black ice we opted to pitch our tents on the snow patches on the parking area. The morning saw us packing our pulkas and local pensioner driving back and forth on the ice road starting from the harbour. Clearly he was curious of what we were doing but not daring enough to stop, come out from the relative safety of his car and speak to five strangers in bright coloured clothing…

The skiing was, well, interesting. There wasn’t any snow on the ice and on every push I felt stupid for not having ice skates. But as it was supposed to be a ski expedition training, skis we had. Going was fast and friction minimal so one could easily tow five pulkas and three skiers taking a break on top the pulkas…

We got to our destination the Pieni Navettasaari, an island with a lean-to shelter, in few hours. We had good company at the lean-to (in addition to the friendly dog who started following us on the way…) but despite the company decided to go for a quick spin on the skis also in the afternoon. Skate skiing on the steel edges of the skis was the most efficient way to travel as we had partial skins fixed to the bases of our skis. The little loop offered nice views and most of all very interesting miniature icescapes.

We spent the early evening chatting by the fire and once it got darker we retired to our tents to go through the endless lists of planning and preparations related to big expeditions. Heini also wrote a little blog post from the tent, though we had to send it over 3G network as our satellite hotspot refused to work. That’s why you go for training trip in the first place.

There was a slight dusting of snow overnight which made the ice even more slippery. Taking down the tents pitched on the ice was a slow process and required all concentration and balance available. And as the temperature was below zero the surface was too hard even for the steel edges of our skis so we changed into plan C – crampons – and walked back to our cars. Sub-optimal, but we are expecting to walk our fair share on crampons also in Greenland so why not at the lake ice as well…

The Etelä-Konnevesi area was very nice: countless little island with rocky shores, bits of old-grown forest, wind fallen trees et cetera. It’s not a big wilderness with all the summer houses and locals driving cars on the ice but it’s definitely worth a visit and it’s great to know it’ll be protected also for the future generations as a national park. I assume the best ways to visit would be skating (conditions permitting), skiing (assuming a normal winter) or paddling the summer, preferably not during the holiday seasons.

More photos of the ice in my gallery. All photos taken with Canon EOS 6D and EF 24-105 4 L IS. Still a lot of learning to do with the full-frame…

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3 responses to “Icescapes of lake Konnevesi

  1. Pingback: Konneveden jääkarhu | AcrossGreenland2014

  2. Pingback: Skiing across Greenland | Korpijaakko

  3. Pingback: Outdoor Year 2014 in Pictures | Korpijaakko

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