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Getting to know Juho Knuuttila Getting to know Juho Knuuttila
2021-07-10 05:00:00

Juho Knuuttila

A dedicated climber, Juho has mastered almost all disciplines of climbing. He’s made impressive ascents of the north faces of the Eiger, Matterhorn, and the Grand Jorasses, while also putting up new routes in Finland.

Juho Knuuttila is from Imatra, Finland. Having grown up amid forest and lakes, he hadn’t seen a mountain till age 11. After seeing his first, he was hooked. Spending all his time working out how to spend more time in the hills. By 2015, aged 19, he’d sent the north faces of the Eiger, Matterhorn, and the Grand Jorasses. He’d also soloes a few 7000m peaks. Joho likes all styles of climbing, noting that each lends itself to improving his overall abilities in the mountains.

Juho headed out to the Karakorum, in Pakistan, at the end of June to scout out some routes. We took some time to get to know him a bit more before he left.

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Hey, Juho, can you tell us a little bit about yourself and how you got into climbing?

I´m Juho Knuuttila, a 25-year-old climber from Finland. I grew up in the small town of Imatra, located very near of Russian border.

My journey into the climbing world was quite old fashioned, which might be surprising in the age of climbing gyms. I have always been happy and free in nature. But living amid lakes and forests I had never seen mountains. In 2007, when we took a family holiday trip to the island of Madeira, I saw mountains for the first time. I was hooked by the diversity of nature and wild landscapes of the island. Over the coming years, I spent most of my time traversing on small rocks with sneakers or working beside school, trying to earn enough money to see mountains again.

With my savings I was able to hike some easy mountains like Kilimanjaro and Elbrus with my mum. In 2012 I realised that if I ever want to climb bigger peaks I needed to learn rope management skills and start climbing. So, I began to rock and ice climb. This wasn`t easy in my hometown, as there was a distinct lack of climbers and indoor training facilities.

I got my driving license in 2014 and that boosted my climbing. I was no longer limited to one place with a small amount of boulderers. By the end of 2015 I had climbed north faces of the Eiger, the Matterhorn and the Grandes Jorasses, soloed few 7000m peaks and significantly raised my technical climbing skills.

What disciplines of climbing do you do, and enjoy most?

Alpine climbing or, better said, moving on the mountains, is what I like most. But to become a good alpinist you need to train all disciplines of climbing. Sometimes I try to lift up my grade in sport climbing, or I have my eyes on a beautiful crack line, or maybe do some mossy and scary scratching with tools, or go bouldering to build power. Maybe the reason behind my endless motivation is to go with changing seasons. There`s always something new to do!

Which mountain areas are your favourite and why?

I love exploring world`s big mountain ranges, but I find the Alps is the most enjoyable place to climb. Within a few days you’re able to climb a big north face, ski untracked powder and rock climb in the sunshine.

Accessibility also means you are able to get in the climbing milage in a short time. In recent years my eyes have started to turn more to Norwegian mountains though. The combo of a huge amount of granite climbing in summer and long winter climbing season above the fjords doesn´t sound bad, right?

You’ve mentioned that opening new routes is like an art … can you expand on that?

I sucked with craft skills at school but found a way to express my creativity in climbing. I´m a quite visual person which helps a lot with spotting and opening new routes. There´s just something beautiful about seeing a thin line of ice or a weakness in rock and turning that into a route others can enjoy. At the moment, most of the routes I have opened are in Finland, but I´m really looking forward to expressing myself on the Greater Ranges too.

What else do you enjoy outside of climbing?

I´m quite family orientated and spending time with my girlfriend and our two huskies, Haave and Nukka, is the number one thing outside of climbing. Often we find ourselves on a local crag, though!

Aside from that, I do enjoy being in nature ski touring, hiking, kayaking or just having a relaxed week in a summer cottage too.

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Images by | Juho Knuuttila

Juho is a dedicated climber. He has mastered almost all disciplines of climbing. He’s made impressive ascents of the north faces of the Eiger, Matterhorn, and the Grand Jorasses, while also putting up new routes in Finland.

Read more about Juho here