How many of us have heard tales of perfect rock in a beautiful surrounding. How many of us have promised we’d go? It must have been 10 years since Sweden appeared on my ‘must visit’ list, but somehow I never made it, or never tried...

Perhaps it appeared to be missing essential ingredients. Indeed it was missing the usual; long pumpy limestone easy to read plods in the sun. A pretty luxurious ingredient fairly easily found. But is that really enough, is it always enough? Different is good. But what took me there was the climate. Summer. Where can you go in July? Almost reluctantly Sweden was booked:- ‘go on then, might as well try’….

OK, so we fluked it with the weather, with every day perfect clear blue skies, 17 degrees and a fresh breeze. But apparently it’s usually like that in July. That’s why so many people go there on holiday. But it’s a different kind of place to Benidorm for sure, attracting the outdoor type, with beautiful quiet countryside, crystal clear seas and well organised campsites. People are friendly, and of a similar mind set. You feel you are in the right place!

17 7 sweden

And the climbing. So in a nutshell; Its granite, technical, quite edgy for granite. A mix of sport and trad, which work exceptionally well together. Some routes are trad, but then a single bolt saves what would be a great E5 becoming E8 with a nasty bold bit. But some routes are bold, with Grit style headpoint horrors to be found, if you want them. There are 7c walls, E4 cracks, 6b+ overhangs, DWS, bouldering, basically everything, all in the same place. Walk ins are negligible, logistics are easy. If I had to compare I’d be thinking of Tremadog but better!

I was out with Rab Carrington and Kieth Sharples, and meeting Jens, Swedish national, 8a.nu owner, and climber of much knowledge. We were on a mission, with 10 crags visited. I’d just climbed Rainman, so for me it was all about the line, forget the grade. Maybe that’s the way it always should be, but somehow the grade seeps in and becomes important. But here it was about the line, and, man, this is a place of lines! You walk up and they just hit you; ‘I want to climb that!’ and you are racking up before you even know what it is. What struck me was the variation in what I climbed, with absolute three star classics, as good as any in the UK, every day!

So the crunch question, will I go back? Yes, for sure. But I think I’ll head there with the family next time to make it even better. If you are an 8c projector, or an indoor campus beast looking for your first Font 8b, then look elsewhere, but I’d say Sweden really is a ‘must visit’ for every climber in the UK, especially those with a bit of ‘Brit’ in them. That is, those that like a mixture, a bit of adventure, and have a love for the outdoors and fresh air.

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