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Climbing in Bohuslän 2016

I love rock. I realised this early in my adult life while living in Bristol. But having spend my life in Denmark over the last many years I have not climbed as much as I could in other places, though recently I have discovered that rock isn't actually that far away and it was this realisation that finally brought one of my best climbing partners and friends, Martin, to Sweden for a weekend of rock. We used to climb regularly in Bristol together and at the height of our activities we would climb everyday after work, in lunch breaks and even in the morning before going to work. It was a total obsession and we loved every minute of it.

Now Martin also lives in an area where rock is not readily available, so it was with great excitement that I picked Martin up at the Gothenburg train station Friday night for this rock reunion. I had booked a hotel room on the hotel closest to the local Gothenburg crack of Utby, as we had already a clear objective: the ascent of a local test piece jam splitter in the crag of Lexby. I had looked at this previously with local rock star in the making, Kaspar, but I needed Martin to lead this baby in pure splitter territory. And Martin was on. After last orders at the hotel at 1am we were both in bed st 2am ready for Jamspricka #1 the next morning.

We arrived at the base of Jamspricka next morning, weather looking a bit dodgy but the objective remained. Martin tied on the sharp end and loaded with the best of both our racks he started up the base climb leading up to the actual splitter. He came, he saw and he took the victory. It was a beautiful. I followed and I can now finally say: yes! I can climb pure cracks! We ticked “October” and moved on to see more of the GBG rock action in Utby. This took us to Crack of Doom, a short jamming test piece which was surprisingly stiff, and Asterix & Obelix a neat crack in a roof sort of job.


After an excellent day of Gothenburg rock we left northwards to the area of Bohuslän 1 hour from where we were. We arrived in heavy rain and went route spotting in full water proof regalia. Martin had his eyes on Hallinden, one of the main crags of the area.


The weather forecast looked promising and we were pretty confident about dry rock from the morning. We found an excellent place for dinner and lager in a southernly Tapas place and camped in our tent on a forrest track near Hallinden ready for rock the next morning. The morning was indeed dry but it had rained a lot so Hallinden needed some time to dry up as it is not in the sun from the morning. So we chose a neighbour crag called Vetterkullen, which hosts a few good 6-'s. Some brilliant splitters called us in and we started racking up at the bottom of TRÖTTMÖSSANS TYSTNAD. Martin seemed to have peaked on his leading the day before at Jamspricka, and offered me the sharp end to start the day. It was our first route in Bohuslän. What a place. Rock everywhere. Like a mini version of Yosemite. Martin sensed my kinship to Swedish rock and had me leading most here. Yoor!

I was a bit intimated. Though we had a really successful day yesterday in Gothenburg the words on the street is that Bohuslän is a good bit harder than Gothenburg in grading. The route looked good from below though and the route turned out to be fine, a nice match for our level. Anyone who dreams of Bohuslän should just go and live that dream. There is so much rock and so much love there. Martin joined me at the midway stance and finished the route up on the beautiful domes of Vetterkullen.

We walked down and I tied on the sharp end of the neighbouring “For You” a notch easier on the grade. It was another excellent jam crack with a boulder problem start followed by sustained climbing up the impressive main face. The finish required commitment and I was pleased to get to the top.

After out morning session it was time to address the main cliff of the area: Hallinden. We had been trawling the guide book on “what to do” and wasn’t quite sure as we walked towards the massive face. There was a nice activity of climbers there already - the Swedes seem to like to family camp at the base of the rock and have there coffee pots and other homely gadgetry out to add to the rock climbing. It’s quite nice really.


A couple of routes stand out: Prismaster, Ettan (both E1’s) and look absolutely amazing. Splitters from bottom to top. 40 meters. As we got thoroughly humbled by the scale of the rock we found a suitable objective: I Andra Hand, HVS, Center Stage, 2 pitches, total yoor! Martin picked up the lead and started up a technical slabby start, followed by an OW move and then onto the actual face. Here we swapped leads and I lead the 2nd pitch. A brilliant route.

Time ticking and we decided to visit a third crag: Häller, which hosts some of the most known routes of the whole region. Rickard Ekeheads playground and also has a Leo Houlding route there. It has an excellent location and is even more intimidating than Hallinden. We wanted to check out “Tor Line” which is an E2/E3 crack-through-a-roof type job. Looks absolutely doable from below, is probably absolutely impossible when you’re on it. We needed Tim. Next to it lies “DEN GAMLE KLASSIKERN” which goes a lot easier at VS/HVS. 2 pitches starting with a pure OW enjoyment that naturally fell to Martin to lead. Great worming skills applied and I finished the route up the second pitch with a heartbeat increasing exposed traverse around a corner. Surrounded by really hard terrain this was another great route for the bag.


We ended up in Gothenburg, where despite it being a Sunday, the night life was in full festive mode and Martin and I was spoiled for choice in finding suitable places for refreshment. Conclusion: West coast of Sweden with Gothenburg as the starting point has a lot of rock to offer. It resembles Yosemite in character on a smaller scale but with pine forrest and nice rounded granite domes scattered around the landscape. Camping is free and legal anywhere and the rock is plenty.

Mathias November 2016

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