Sunday 15th September; back in Gävle, Sweden

Day six of consecutive climbing proved a touch too much, with my shoulders and back aching and my body almost broken. It has been a great few days in an idyllic Swedish hut, apparently very traditional and pretty basic in a fantastic way. We’ve spent the last two nights playing cards and Yatzee by paraffin light, in a cabin pulled straight out of the 1960s.

Fredrik on the session before his first ascent of Cowboy Bebop 7c
Fredrik on the session before his first ascent of Cowboy Bebop 7c

Meanwhile, the daytimes have mainly involved chasing Fredrik as he forges his way through the forest; his desire to show us the area he’s been developing for the last four years nothing short of insatiable. It’s entirely justified, as this place (the location of which has been sworn to secrecy, for now at least) truly has the potential to be one of the best areas in Europe.

And it’s almost entirely his own doing. Located near his “summer house”, he has brushed and cleaned, with the help of his long-suffering fiance, Karin and a few very select friends, an outstanding number of lines, of good quality too. I did get a couple of first ascents, but compared to him, they are small and irrelevant. This truly is a major project and one he has devoured. Karin has even started a topo guide and talk of launching this place to the masses kept cropping up time and again, although only when it is ready.

There are no obvious campsites nearby, and trails running through are obviously non-existent, not to mention other logistical problems. Lessons have been learned from the access problems in Albarracin and Rocklands in recent years and credit must go to Fredrik and co for their consideration for the impact a large number of climbers could potentially have on the delicate environment. Kudos too for the sheer amount of brushing that

Fredrik repeating my line of Taste of Yorkshire 6a
Fredrik repeating my line of Taste of Yorkshire 6a

has gone on, and the effort expended in doing so. I brushed around five problems and it is really no mean feat; first ascenting and developing somewhere like this being an aspect of climbing i had previously given no real consideration to. It has been nice to be part of it, if only a little.

This morning, just before returning to Gävle, we went to explore some other spots on the orienteering map that had potential. The first really wasn’t that good, with some lines there but nothing striking but the second, which Fredrik investigated alone, certainly looked like it could be more of the same as his existing paradise. Maybe i’ll get chance to come back and give him a hand once again, although to be honest, i wouldn’t be surprised if he’s devoured that place by then too: the only thing i can imagine that would quash his enthusiasm being the harsh Swedish winter. I imagine…

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