Friday, 25 June 2010

As Good as it Gets?

According to the locals the route Via Lara on Haegefjell is supposed to be one of the best multi-pitch 'moderates' in Europe - too good an accolade to go unchecked. It is a 7 pitch route, about 1200 feet long following an amazing continuous crack-line up the side of a huge granite dome. There is no fixed gear at all in the route which is a nice change, though the line Gone with the Weed about 20m to the left has fixed belays, offering a (tricky) escape if needed. Via Lara is Norwegian Grade 4 - so about HS/VS, and it gave me and Dave Gregory a pleasant afternoon - we were happy with the four hours we took for the seven pitches and six abseils down a neighbouring line. A Swedish guy we met at the bottom said he had soloed it the previous evening in just under 17 minutes - bugger!

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

A 'Big Up' for Noway

I like Norway for a heap of reason; the folks are friendly, the place is generally quiet, the scenery is magnificent, the roads are good the camp-sites are quiet AND cheap - all in all its a pretty cool place.
The weather is often surprisingly pleasant (24 hr day-light is a great novelty) and the expected insect life is always much less worse than anticipated.
On top of that there is some great climbing, the crags are not the most user friendly in the world (Kalymnos gets top vote for that) but they are generally of superb quality and usually deserted.
The south doesn't have the grandeur of Lofoten - but its beauty is still very evident, like a giant deserted version of the Lake District.
The £ has taken a bit of a dive against the Kroner so things are more expensive here compared to our last visit - but it still feels like good value!

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Bootiful Bohuslen

Evening sun on the granite at Ramsvik.

Smogen waterfront.

Glaciated granite Bohuslen coastline.

Evening storm clouds above Honnebostrand.

A few pictures from the Bohuslan area, a beautiful area, at least when the sun shines. There are plenty more shots on my PBase gallery under the "Images of Sweden" link.

Now it is time for the land of the North Men - let's hope the weather holds!

Sunday, 13 June 2010

Better by Miles

Fabled Bohuslen lived up to expectations, at least on Day 3. Saturday we managed a walk out to one of the local headlands, wild and windy, but very spectacular with superb pink granite as far as the eye could see - in every direction.
Sunday was what the doctor ordered; sunshine and climbing - a simple mix.
The forecast is set fair and the guidebook has 100 crags and 1200 routes - that will do nicely!

Friday, 11 June 2010

Goteburg Joking

We arrived at Gothenburg on the Monday - in the rain, and left on the Friday - in the rain! It stopped briefly on the Wednesday, so I got the chance for a quick half-a-dozen routes - before the rain started again - flaming June indeed!

What a disappointment - at least I got a stack of proofing done for new the West Country Climbs guidebook, which is looking quite magnificent. We have move up the coast to the spectacular granite area of Bohuslen to see if that can improve the trip. Currently it is raining (how novel) so we have booked into the tiniest of cabins - actually scrub that, we got an free upgrade from the tiniest of cabins to one a bit bigger than tiny! It is still minute but least is is waterproof.

Saturday, 5 June 2010

Swedish Sampler

A few days in Southern Sweden to catch our breath was the idea. We headed for the small granite headland of Kullaberg, and the pleasant seaside village of Molle. Glorious weather helped as did the nice if generally rather short climbing on good quality granite. The camp-site was pretty much deserted - until the weekend, when were were dazed and amazed by the invasion - it felt like half of Sweden (and most of Denmark) had arrived to camp!
A walk round the headland on the Saturday revealed cars, coaches, minibuses and motorbikes in their hundreds. All of the cliffs were mobbed with abseiling groups, there was also a bit of top-roping going on, as well as diving, sailing, fishing, rambling and golf - this is one POPULAR spot.
Sunday was another cracker, the key, we found was to roll up at the cliff mid-afternoon, just as everyone was packing up ready to make the long drive home.
Monday the rain arrived as forecast - time to head north.

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

Commodore Craggs

A steady ride through the rain and spray got us Harwich in good time for the Esbjerg boat, the DFDS Dana Sirena. The lady in the check-in booth gave us a label to hang on the rear-view mirror, I had a quick look - "Commodore", hmmmm interesting thought I.
We were directed to the front of the queue (right behind a brand new Bentley) and were ushered straight onto the boat.
At the impressively scaled cabin we were greeted by a stewardess who explained that everything in the Commodore area was 'complimentary' - coffee, snacks, wifi, beer, whisky and breakfast too. I had to bite my lip and not say that there must have been a mistake.
I haven't a clue why we got the free upgrade, - but we are going to make the most of it!
The crossing was silk-smooth and the journey across Denmark, quick and interesting. The two huge bridges that link the islands are impressive feats of engineering, and a £25 a pop - expensive to use!

A month in Switzerland

Gornergrat - rammed A month passed in Switzerland and it has been very pleasant, climbing, hiking, chilling and even doing a bit of to...