– my personal views on all walks of outdoor life

Category Archives: recommended read

Recommended read: New, free, high quality online magazines!

Just a quick mention about two relatively new high quality online magazines, which are also completely free! …and as a bonus a couple of photos from the last week here at Taivalkoski.



Mountain Pro


The first online publications worth a look is the Mountain Pro magazine by Target Publishing. Here’s the official introduction:

Mountain Pro magazine is the new quarterly online magazine for the active, qualified mountaineering professionals. FREE to subscribe to and read, it’s content is unrivalled at providing coverage of the latest news, views, research, kit reviews, features and products in mountaineering and the outdoors.

Even mountains are mentioned several times, it’s also useful information for other outdoors professionals and also for the active recreationalist who likes to know a bit more of the local SAR, guiding and so on. And even though it’s UK based, it’s useful for others too! The online format is quite a nice one with embedded videos and all sort of techy stuff but still a joy to read. But if you don’t like it, it also comes in .pdf format. I’d recommend you to take a look!



The other online publication is a tad bit older Sidetracked magazine which is a nice online journal about inspiring adventures and travels.  The official info says:

Sidetracked Magazine is an online journal featuring a limited collection of personal stories of travel, journeys and expeditions. The concept is simple: to capture the emotion and experience of adventures and expeditions throughout the world… and to inspire.

I’ve personally found the Sidetracked very inspiring and entertaining read. Not every article in every editions appeals to me but there are always several very interesting ones in every edition, like in the latest edition the story about skiing from Finland to Sweden – over the frozen Baltic sea! It’s a nice “website style” no-hassle format. Sidetracked also hosts useful “Behind the Scenes site” with tons of info and definitely worth a look too!

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I was also interviewed for local news paper Etelä-Saimaa about my outdoor hobbies and work. If you handle Finnish and have access to the paper (or the online version) from January 4th, it might be worth a look. It’s always nice to see how others interpret your views and points, and I feel that the article was quite succesful in this sense. But to be honest I have to mention that there was also a mistake in the article: I haven’t (yet?) guided expeditions to Svalbard even though the article implies so.


Recommended read: Expeditions to follow live!

Ehm… Another post starting with “it’s been quiet here lately”. The blog has been quiet as I’ve been busy with the everyday chores of being a dog sledding guide and then occupying all my spare time with putting together guided ski expeditions and courses. The latter are actually turning out to be quite a success and I have the minimum number of participants for each course/expedition secured so they will happen! If you’re interested, take a look at the info page (info-sivut Suomeksi) and drop me an e-mail!

At Vatnajökull in 2012. I will be heading back there in 2013 – and you are welcome to join me!

But while I’ve been busy with dogs and sitting behind the screen, there are people out there doing incredible expeditions. And you can follow them (nearly) live on you own computer. Neat!

The most awesome expedition for quite some time (in my opinion) is Alex Hibbert’s Dark Ice Project together with Justin Miles. Their plan is to do an unsupported ski expedition to the North Pole in full Arctic winter during the polar night and do it all unsupported. Oh, and to start from Greenland and possibly ski back (at least to the floating Barneo ice station). Quite something, huh? To make this happen requires a lot of work performed in two stages: The first stage is a long depot laying expedition this winter and the bid to the Pole will happen the next winter. The expedition is at the moment in Qaanaaq in North-West Greenland doing last preparations and launching to the ice on Friday! You can follow them on their website, Twitter and follow the progress tracked by Yellowbrick Tracking.

Another interesting expedition is Eric Larsen’s Cycle South. A “full” bicycle expedition from Hercules Inlet to the South Pole. This has never been done before and even though Eric will have two resupply caches on the way, it’s quite different from truck and TV crew supported celebrity stunt seen earlier. And as good adventurers do, Eric also plans to cycle back from the Pole conditions permitting. Every fatbikers wet dream has just launched from Colorado and will be starting from Hercules Inlet in 20.12. There should be web updates coming from the ice. Twitter and expedition website are probably the best sources to catch up with the expedition.

The third expedition is not especially ground breaking, it’s “just a” guided (by Hannah McKeand) and supported expedition to South Pole but the other of the customers on the trip happens to be Finnish Eero Oura, a 63-year-old doctor about to retire. The expedition is already skiing at Antarctica and Eero has a blog in Finnish about the expedition to South Pole and at least I find it interesting to follow. Something that proves that any fit normal guy with enough savings can go and ski to a Pole. Dreams are always worth following!

Recommended read: Skiing, kayaking and backpacks

Even though you may not believe it, I’m not dead. I’ve just been busy and lazy. To fill you up what’s been going on lately, here is a brief summary of the past 1+ month of silence – and some cool links & videos.

After the guide school ended at June 8th we had a nice closing for the year on a lean-to with great food, tent sauna and good company. The next day I drove to home, packed my new HMG Expedition rucksack, slept few hours and headed North to Muotkatunturit and Paistunturit wilderness areas. There I hiked 10 days and about 165km with my girlfriend on the gently rolling hills and had generally good time though it also felt a bit boring towards the end… More of this with dozens of photos coming up sooner than later.

Having good time with the fellow wilderness guide (students).

A spectacular sunset to end the year on a wilderness guide course.

After the hike we drove back South, picked up a friend on the way and had nice midsummer weekend with some old friends. After that I started two weeks of about non-stop work related to security at certain fair and now I’ve had couple of days of holiday. I’ve been pulling tires, canoeing, walking, picking blueberries and doing other little things around the house. I could say I’ve been lazy, especially with the piled trip report drafts but at least I got the photos from the last hike sorted. 😉

Somewhere at the Southern parts of Muotkatunturit wilderness.

At the top of Kuorvikozza in foul weather.

Luobmusjavri lake on the way to Paistunturit wilderness.

So, while I’m enjoying my holiday and putting together the trip report, there are many other cool things to read and watch in the internet. And as Hendrik’s great TWIRs are on pause at the moment I decided to pick up ans share few things that I liked:

Skiing – Heads up! Big expeditions coming.

Alex Hibbert has been hinting about a mysterious upcoming big expedition for some time now. I’ve been lucky to know about things in advance but now the plan has gone public and it’s a big one. If you’re interested in Arctic expedition stuff take a look at NORTH 2012. The first part will start in December 2012 and last about 90 days. And the second part starting at the end of 2013 will be even bigger!

There’s also another big British expedition taking place at the end of this year. This one will happen at Antarctica where Ben Saunders, Alistair Humpreys and Martin Hartley aim to accomplish Captain Scott’s walk to South Pole and back. For those more interested in the Antarctica: Scott2012. Alistair also put together a nice video about their training trip in Greenland.

And the third skiing related pick is a trip report including also mountaineering and packrafting and is pure epicness. The Logan Traverse by Luc Mehl & co: 30-day, 370 miles, one avalanche, few dead ducks and sheer epicness. There is a story in Sidetracked magazine, more information at thingstolucat.com and nice video

Kayaking – some great videos

I’m not much of a kayaker and even less into freestyle kayaking but I really enjoy a good video when I see one. And here is one very cool video “Of souls + water” and another very cool video about the next generation going down big rapids in a big canyon. Enjoy!

Backpacks – or actually about making them

Backpacks are essential for backpacking. I’ve been following Dave’s Bedrock and Paradox blog for sometime and really like it. His analytical and perfection seeking style and enthusiasm about backpacks has led him to write several posts about structure of backpacks and how to build them. This is very valuable info for the MYOGers but also helps the regular rambler to understand why some rucksack deliver and others don’t. There is the Backpacks for the woods series with posts 1, 2, 3 and 4, new posts about The black and white pack and The 610 pack and a recent one including some pack mods.

Recommended read: Skiing and Packafting

During the internship period I didn’t have that much time to read blogs and enjoy the great articles and videos of other people but few things caught my eye. This time all the stuff is related to either winter travel on skis or to packrafting. Enjoy!

Winter Travel in Fast and Light Style

I don’t do fast & light winter trips as I don’t yet feel confident going very lightweight style in winter and I haven’t yet had a good enough reason to go “racing style” in winter. On the other hand Luc Mehl has both the experience and reasons and he has written a great article about Fast and Light in Winter Travel and it’s now available for everyone on his blog! It’s the most highly recommended read of this post if you are interested in such things.

What I do and like to do is a bit lower pace and heavier winter expeditions. In 2010 an expedition of four Finns (website in Finnish only) did a Greenland crossing along the standard route in a faster-than-standard time covering over 600km in 21 days. In expedition standards they also went relatively light and thus fast. There is a ten episode web documentary about the expedition. The first seven short episodes are already available in the Finnish UlkonaTV and I believe that the rest will follow shortly. The documentary is available only in Finnish but at least everyone can enjoy the scenery.


The number one spokesman of modern packrafting Roman Dial wrote a post about defining packrafting which is a nice read: What is packrafting anyway? I tend to go with Roman in this one and I’d say it’s everything done with a lightweight man-portable inflatable boat.

Roman, Luc and few others left Alaska for a moment to do a very cool packrafting trip to Southeast US and there are several posts about it in Roman’s blog and also one in Luc’s blog. There are also several videos on those posts and in addition there is Timmy’s video linked right here:

Psst, I also just discovered that Forrest McCarthy has a blog! Very much worth a read and includes also things related to skiing and packrafting. It’s all epic. Things like the Antarctic Ski Odyssey:

Recommended read: Things to watch

As the title suggests there is not much to read this time but instead a few videos to watch.

I don’t consider myself as a climber at all. (Even though I have a slight interest to climbing related things because I see them as a part of other things I’m passionate about.) But climbing and climbers have always made good subjects for great stories. There is a big bunch of visually beautiful, exciting and/or inspiring climbing related videos and here are few that I’ve watched recently:

Vertical Sailing is a five-part video series about sailing along the coast of Greenland (and from there back to Scotland) and climbing great previously unclimbed big walls on the coast. Very inspiring stuff. And fun to watch! Here is the first part, the rest can be found from Youtube or from Patagonia website:

Everything doesn’t always go according to the plans and Mixed Climbing Avalanche Accident is one of those storied documented on a video by the climber’s. There is also some comments and discussion related to the accident by someone who probably knows a thing or two about ice and mixed climbing. The discussion might interest climbers but the video is worth of watching for all outdoorsy dudes and dudettes. it might even provoke a though or two. The injured guy deserves a big “Tough Guy” award:

Most of the readers may already have seen the trailer of the Cold but I think it’s worth sharing and watching again. It’s about climbing the Gasherbrum II (one of the 14 over 8000m high peaks of the world) in winter. A very cold and inspiring endeavour. I’d really like to see the whole movie…

This is not climbing but a nice and inspirational clip about crossing the Lake Baikal in Siberia in 2008. It’s something that I’ve been thinking and planning for a while but I won’t be doing it this winter. But maybe later?

Alastair Humphreys (for example an Adventurer of the year 2011 nominee by National Geographics) has a lot of great videos on Vimeo. For example his video about crossing the Iceland on foot and packraft is very, very good. Lately he has uploaded some very inspiring presentation from Night of Adventure events. There is a huge bunch of very inspiring stuff to watch! Here is an example related to his Year of Microadventure:

And for those who are not that interested in climbing and cold places… I just recently noticed the series of Mike C’s ULTRALIGHT TIPS as videos on Youtube. Here’s one about the entire contents of his backpack for a two-night trip:

That’s it this time. Zi Internets iz full of marvellous and inspiring things. Get inspired – but also remember to go out and play! Oh, and the latter is the more important thing. 😉