sabato 13 aprile 2013

Sweden. First time in the north.

Baltic sea

Three months ago, My girlfriend and I decided to plan a little trip in the North to go in Scandivia’s landscapes and to do some bouldering.

After taking fly tickets, we had the certainty about the trip and I started to think many rocks and new places where to climb. The fact to have the possibility to climb in new spots is really motivating and the north Europe isn’t such a frequented area.

So a lot of stuff is new for our eyes, the sectors are unknown for us and this discovering is one of the most important things for my bouldering view.

The destination choosen was Vaestervik, a city three hours south of Stockolm where most part of lines are opened by Stefan Rasmussen. The Travel was really adventurous for me and Giulia since we just had a Guidebook from 27crags, but we didn’t know exactly where the boulders were. Sometimes we took some hours to reach a line and we got lost more times among the woods. The trip was made more adventurous by the climate, since the week before a big storm overran the north and we found a great wintry view . Every lake was iced and in many woods had 50-60 cm of snow upon the ground. Beside this, the weather was perfect. Every day was completely sunny and crispy, with temperatures between –2 until 4 degrees and really dry.

I wrote I little diary day by day.

Day 1

We woke up really early, 5.10 AM because flight time was at 10 AM From Bergamo. My dad carried us at the airport and we took a large advance to avoid delays, since we should have passed the critical point before Milan. We arrived in the airport and we had some troubles with our pads because the flight company didn’t want to consider them as normal bagage. They are completely mad, as pads were widely in the fair size and the day before I called them to be sure. After some insists there weren’t anything to do since the lady on check in didn’t want to change her mind and We had to pay a extra cost for them. We pass over this thing and we left thinking about Sweden. We arrived and we took our Toyota Yaris, driving From Nykoping towards Rumma, the place where we lived.

Just before arriving we stopped in Bjornblocket, the hourglass zone. We checked it and I was surprised by its beauty just as I thought. We arrived in Rumma and Immediately, the lady of our house, got out to give welcome us heartily and to show us the room.

We fastly left Bags and we went to Marstrand. We parked in the snow and we went up the hill to climb after the long trip. We found the boulders after some minutes but our feet were already wet and I realized that the Etnies shoes weren’t not suitable to those lands. After hard times in warm up I started to have my hands ready for climbing in this cave with a great granit. I decided to try “animal act”, a cool 8A+ I wanted to try for long time and I climbed it on my first try. Basically I flashed it but I previously climbed the 7A on the right, which has the easy exit in common. The climbing trip started well, I liked the spot, the rock and I felt in a really good shape. After some attempts on “goofhead variant” we went home tired.

Day 2

knowing Marstrand, we went there again. This time I had more clothes on and the warm up went better. On first try of the day I climbed goofhead variant and I moved the pad under “primitive” which starts stand and the sit was still a project. After some goes I climbed the upper part and I started to work the move in the sit. It looked hard and I wasn’t able to touch the pinch after the second hold. The time to “the hourglass” finally arrived and I was so syked. We arrived under it and I climbed “the office” a nice arete to the right. After this one I was ready. I knew the Hourglass would have been my style and I wanted to try it in a flash attempt. I felt really good, the conditions were perfect and my skin too. I put the pad and I touched more times the hold with chalk thinking well every kind of move. The videos were all printed in my mind and I tried. I sat and I knew the the first move would have been one of the hardest for me, and then it looked quite ok until the last two ones. When the line was opened the start used the low undercling and a high sidepull for the left hand. Apart a couple of ascents, I think the new start version was with the left hand in a lower sidepull. In this case every climber can start sitting and the shorter can start without double pads.

I did the first move and I tried to take better the second hold three times until I had it correctly. I went on, I pulled really hard with my right foot to the second move and I went into the compression section which passed pretty quietly, reaching the last hold before the dyno. There, I had a bit of indecision and I saw the lip really far. I don’t know how but I tried to jump as high as possible and I got the sloper in my hand. I couldn’t belive. I put my foot up over the edge I did the mantle which I brushed previously. I was really glad and satisfied. Concerning grade it is not simple to say in the flash go, in fact I was more for 8A+ than 8B proposed. But when I tried the single moves for the photos I wasn’t able to do some of them and I thought that it could be right. Hope to hear some opinions from other climbers who will climb it.

The Hourglass 8B, Bjornblocket. Photo Giulia Paoletti

Day 3

I opted to get a morning of rest or probably all day long. We went to check a really famous area called “falla taket” where it is situated “david or goliah”, a classic I wanted to try during those days. We left the car in the parking near the horse ranch and we walked into the wood. The place was great with nice trees and ground was cover by a lot of snow. I knew there was one km of path to reach the crag but I didnt know where it was. We got lost and after almost 2 hours of attempts we quitted without having seen any rocks. We went to Lysingsbadet, a sector on a hill really close to the camping where it is possible to look out the Baltic sea on the back side. Here there are 5 blocks with a lot of easy stuff until 7A+, a really good place for Giulia’s approach. She climbed some hours there, trying a slab and touching her first rock. In the late afternoon, I felt rested and we decided to check another sector called VO. The lines which I would have liked to try were “namaste” and “delirium” since I knew this last would have been dry. To reach the spot we walked on the ski track which was completely praticabile with skiing, a nice wintry scenery. I found “Namaste” in front of me completely dry but the mantle was covered by to snow, which made it impossible to try. We tried to go on to search “deliruim” but also in this case we weren’t able to find it and our feet were wet again.

We started to understand that it would have been a really adventurous trip whit a lot to discovered in unconfortable place. But this wasn’t so bad, even if a bit nervous though.

Giuly on her first rock in Lysingsbadet
 Day 4

It was time to go to the south of this bouldering area and the plans were to check “Solstadstrom” and “Tunablocket”, two sectors which have basically one block for each one. We arrived in the first one and the searching started. The snow made always hard the path but after one hour and half we reached it although it is close 150 meters to the parking. We seemed really stupid.

My goals were “awake the unkind”, a fine crimpy wall put up by Gu, and “le pacte des loups”.

At the first sight, the lines didn’t look possible with only two pads and I was disappointed, but since we were there it was worth to try at least. After a fast warm up I felt ready and the climate was perfect: Sunny, dry and cold. I tried the upper part of “awake the unkind” and I did it on 1st try without pad’s problem. After some mins I climbed the whole line from the sit, which didn’t add a lot, In fact I had to try it flash from there but I was worried for the pads. I also climbed “le pacte des loups”,“all hope is gone” arete and then we moved towards “Tuna” where Stefan was waiting for us.

The boulder is really close to gravel road and I saw it just when I arrived. My goals for it were “Frost” an 8B established by Stefan and repeated by Gu. Unfortunatly a principal sidepull for the left hand was wet and I couldn’t use it to do try the original beta. I tried with another way, still more morpho and I did every move after one hour, except the last one. After my rest, also the last crimp started to drop since the top was covered by snow and the sun hit it. also this crimp wasn’t possible to use.

I figured out another beta, completely different by the FA and I couldn’t say if it is easier or harder. I fell on the last move with this sequence and I did after another rest time.

Before leaving, I climbed “hot tuna” a cool arete which has the start in common with Frost, and “king’s speech” a slighty overhanging wall completely red with one of the most compact granit I have ever touched. After some pics in this crazy places, we took the road to Rumma again.

Awake the unkind 8A, Solstadstrom. Photo Giulia Paoletti

Day 5

We were in Lysingsbadet in the morning, to get profit from the sun and the temperature were ok. Giulia climbed the slab tried two days before with a great effort in the mantle. Later she tried also another line which she failed before exit. In the afternoon I reached Stefan in Marstrand, with the intent to try the big project of “game of shadow”. It was covered by an icefall, probably with the picks would have been interesting.

We changed the plan and I tried again the sit of primitive. After some attempts really far to touch the holds, I started to understand the position to do this big span to the pinch. Stefan said me the beta tried by other climbers and I changed it a little bit until I finally grabbed the holds. The move is simply amazing and really particular. I was really glad to put up a new line in the north. I would have liked to try other projects there, But having just ten days I have preferred to dedicate my energy to classics before.

Primitive sds 8A+, Marstrand FA. Photo Giulia Paoletti

Day 6

Another perfect day under climate’s aspect. The sky was always clear and every day had an amazing friction as I have never seen before. The day for Fruberget came and I was really curious to check this zone. It is the biggest sector of the area, it counts about 90 lines and the rock looked really good from photos and videos. We left the car in the southern parking, near the baltic sea. Fruberget sector is really peculiar, it develops up and down between two hills. The wood is different in the south side, chestnuts and trees similar to swiss’s country. On the other side the wood is like Fontainebleau with conifers,moss and pines. From our guide the boulder’s sector seemed hard to understand in fact we spent one good hour to find “stora grotta” where there is “cave man” and “Fysyologi”. This last was one of my goals and the rock in this sector is probably the best around Vastervik. I climbed it and, although it is a real lowball, the moves are pretty fun and the rock is beautiful.

In the afternoon I wanted absolutely find “soulfly” a cave with brick pinches and good features. We left Fysyologi at half past one and we reached soulfly at five o’clock with a lot of nervous and the snow until the knees.

When I was under it I was fain to have find this line and it looked like a great one. I climbed it after some goes but when I come back home I checked some videos where climbers didn’t use the left vertical part of the cave for the feet and they went straight in the middle of the cave. so I came back the day after.

Fysyologi 7C, Fruberget. Photo Giulia Paoletti

Day 7

We came back to Fruberget and I climbed “soulfly”. Afterwards, Giulia tried a really good 6A but it looked hard and after one hour she quitted. She climbed for her second time outdoor and she had already occasion to climb on one of the best kind of rock I have ever seen, I was happy for her.

In the afternoon I checked again Falla taket but also this time I got lost.

Day 8

Rest and turism day. We woke up at seven o’clock in the mornig and we travel three hours towards Stockholm. After having visit a bit gamla island in the center, we walked for 4 km and we went to visit “houdini”. It is An awesome roof on another island really close to city center but at the same time completely isolated in the green near to the baltic sea. Sick place and cool line with a project on the back side, I hope to come back with climbing stuff to try it one day. We came back towards Gamla and then we went home again in the late evening.

Day 9

Last day in Sweden. Stefan was free to carry us to Falla taket and finally I could see this spot. When we arrived all the crag was covered by a strong stratum of ice and every exit was impossible. “david and Goliah” had the last hold totally in the ice and the high snow on the ground made it really lower than how it appears on the videos. All the spot is good and many lines to climb looked really fun. When I will come back one day I would obviously like to come in this classic place to try those problems.

The only one possible was “by the book” although the exit wasn’t available, it was possible standing up on the last slopery rail at the top, before the easy slab.

“by the book” is worthy one with a good sequence of moves. Body tension, strange holds and a knee lock  characterized my beta and after a long session I finally crushed it.

The morning was really cold, probably the coldest moment of the trip, with the spot completely in the shadow and some fresh wind. We in fact decided to leave it going in Lysingsbadet where Giulia got other three lines and fun moments of climbing.

In the late afternoon we went up to the north in Risebo, where I was attracted By “arcanum” an 8B opened by Gu which seemed quite good to check. The approach with the car was magical and we saw amazing natural place tipical of Scandinavia. The road is gravel and the forests close to it are really thick. When we parked the car we found Arcanum in front of us and for all the session there haven’t been any kind of noise, just natural silence which made that really awesome.

The rock on “Arcanum” is not the best, since it has a strong granit, but the line is really nice and the move to the crimp is great!

The principal crimp was a bit wet, but I dried it with a cloth and it stopped to drop. The problem was the mantle since there was the snow above the jug and it was a bit wet. I did the stand and on the exit I found some troubles but with the nails on the snow I was able to do it. So I knew it was possible and I climbed from the sit after few goes. Although I think that it is easier than the grade, I liked it and the forest around too.

We went home and we began to pack the bagages for the return.

Arcanum 8A, Risebo. Photo Giulia Paoletti

Day 10

We left early and we went to supermarket for a fast breakfast. We had to deliver our rental car at 1 o’clock so we would have had just two hours of climbing. We opted for Forsby, a sector on the way for the airport. The two hours planned for climbing became time to search some lines without any succes. We went to nykoping and we flew in the evening saying “bye bye” to Sweden.

Every return is obviously a bit malinconic. Sweden experience gave us so much, many natural adventures and really good granit to grab. I would like to link the site of our B&B close to Gamleby since you can live there economically and they are really kind. You can also find the link on sidebar. If someone is interested to go there, for sure this B&B is really nice.

In second way, thanks to Stefan who carried me to iced falla taket although he didn’t climb.

I have to say the biggest thanks to Giulia again to this fun time. I was impressed by her patience to search boulders and to stay ten days in cold lands.