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Everest 2005: ExWeb interview with Airborne Ranger Club Of Finland
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Feb 28, 2005 04: 48 EST
Before they head out, ExWeb tracked down one of the lesser known expeditions to Everest this spring; the somewhat enigmatic Airborne Ranger Club Of Finland (ARCOF). In a last minute interview, Expedition leader Veli-Pekka Mölsä briefed us on the expedition plans:

ExWeb: You guys climbed Shisha in 2002. Did you do the main summit, did you use oxygen?

"Arri Leino and Jouni Rajala reached the Central summit and no oxygen was used. Window was open only for this one push and the others had to turn back in 7500 m because of bad weather.

You are climbing Everest from the North side, without sherpas. Will you use the fixed ropes and/or oxygen?

"We have no Sherpas and no quires. We will fix ropes for some sections like before the North Col camp; we will climb some sections as a rope team and some sections we will climb without belay. As we all know, there are some old ropes and we might use those like the second step stairs. If needed we will use Poisk oxygen bottles with Finnish Voiskoski oxygen. All our bottles (3/person=21) are marked with Voikoski-stickers. All our ropes and tents are marked with our expedition flag.

Finland is known to be a tough country; you also have several serious explorers like Veikka Gustafsson (9, 8000 meter peaks without oxygen) and the late Dominick Arduin (NP). Do you think that it's the Arctic location and close proximity to Russia that has made Finn's a hard breed?

"Many of us learn winter camping skills from our parents and friends or from military service. But I think we have learned something also from our western neighbors, the Vikings :)"
(Ed note: There are Swedes in team ExWeb.)

What exactly is the Airborne ranger Club of Finland?

"ARCOF is a club for those who have done their military service in the Finnish Airborne Rangers. We have approximately 3000 members. Our club offers different kinds of activities to its members - like climbing, diving, and shooting."

What's your next project (after Everest?)

"Next project after Everest is North Pole 2006."

Name a few other great Finnish climbers/explorers that we should know about?

"Our club ARCOF has done numerous expeditions:
1995 Mount Blanc (4807 m) France
1996 Ski Spitsbergen (lat 79ºN)
1998 Huascaranille (6768 m) Peru
1998 Matterhorn (4478 m) Switzerland
1999 Ski across Greenland (lat 83ºN)
2001 Mt McKinley (Denali) (6194 m) Alaska
2002 Shisha Pangma 8017 m) Tibet
2003 Magnetic North Pole (lat 78ºN) reached 1996 Magnetic North Pole

Patric Degerman has done nice expeditions too, check www.pata.fi (links section).

Do you know if any Finnish lady climbers are planning for Everest?

"For the time being I don't know if such plans exist. Only one Finnish woman, Tuula Nousiainenon, has climbed an 8000er (Cho Oyu). I live with a Finnish lady climber who might go for it some day, but she feels she is not ready for it yet..."

What kind of food will you bring to Everest? Any Finn specialties?

We will bring food for camps 1 to 3 (7100m, 7600m, 8300m). And yes there are some Finnish specialties like wheat porridge and blueberry soup.

Veikka Gustafsson will have company in Himalaya this spring. 7 Finns are off to climb Everest, without high altitude Sherpas, on the North side. Expedition leader Veli-Pekka Mölsä (41), Climbing leader Tomi Myllys (32). Expedition members: Arri Leino (32), Teijo Lehtinen (44), Arto Suolanen (33), Tero Järvinen (31), and Heikki Karinen (40). The team did Shisha Pangma in 2002.

Image of expedition leader Veli-Pekka Mölsä, courtesy of the team.
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