I feel a little bad about this page, as it is the home of my good friend, Fredrik and many of the lines are his. Sadly, the simple fact is that the bouldering around Gävle does not really warrant a dedicated trip.
However! that is not to say there is no substantial climbing around the area. The East coast of Sweden is absolutely littered with rock – boulders, crags, rock everywhere! The trick to finding the established climbing is to look around the habitations.
Gävle is the 13th largest town in Sweden and is found just North of larger neighbours Uppsala and Stockholm. It’s a very pleasant city too, the oldest city in Norrland, and boasts a lovely river that runs through it’s centre and history right back to 1446 with it’s inaugural charter. Being quite far North (comparatively for European bouldering destinations) it also maintains lower temperatures throughout the year; the average monthly temperature doesn’t even hit 23 Celsius, meaning if you’re after somewhere in the summer, it’s a good shout.
There are downsides though. We were there in June and while the conditions were fine for getting some good climbing in, the mosquitoes remained determined we wouldn’t. What Sweden lacks in people, it amply makes up for with trees meaning often, it can be hard to escape the evil little blighters. When they’re bad, it’s impossible to climb, simple as that.
It’s not like that every time though and i wouldn’t let that put you off. If you’re around the area or have another reason to visit Gävle, i would never dissuade you. Maybe in a few years, it’ll develop into something more international. With locals this passionate, it wouldn’t surprise me.
The jewel in the crown absolutely has to be Trödje . On my second visit, i tried to avoid the crags i’d been before and check out some new areas but ended up here at the end and i wish we’d spent longer. Nevertheless, there are a couple of other excellent crags that are worth checking out. Here are just a few to whet the appetite.
Trödje. The best of the bunch, with problems ranging from 4 to 7c with plenty in between. After driving a short way down a forest track, expect a slightly bumpy but mainly flat, wooded area with some superb lines and great climbing. For those in the 7s, the Sänka Skepp bloc is worth seeking out. Otherwise, wander and enjoy the forest!
Oppala. We didn’t stay here for that long, chased out by the aforementioned mosquitoes, but from what i did see, this is a great little spot. Secluded in that typically Swedish way and roadside (so roadside we used the car to hide from the mossies) the Fly and Cry area has plenty for those operating in the 7s.
- Eskön. Quite a strung out area with some three-star classics, a personal favourite line being Dream Catcher 7a+. Pack light for this crag as you’ll be ticking and moving quite a bit through a typically Swedish forest, wild and true to the area. Definitely worth a day of anyone’s time.
For this page, it made more sense to recruit the help of my good friend Fredrik Niva. After all, he’s lived in Gavle for years and doubtless knows this information better than i ever would. Credit for the next section entirely goes to him.
- Food. Well there are lots of supermarkets. All are fine. Lidl is the probably the “worst” of them. You’ll find co-op, Willy’s, and ICA everywhere. And as always the smaller iterations of them are downtown, and the bigger ones further out
- Climbing Shops. None really, but you can get some chalk, calk bags or simpler stuff at Naturkompaniet or XXL
- Accommodation – Campsites. Never tried any of them so can’t really give you much on them. But generally campings in Sweden are held to a good standard. Gävle camping (campinggavle.se) is situated north of town, which is great for climbing. Out towards Bönan, should be a quite beautiful setting
- Accommodation – Buildings. When it comes to hotels you might just as well use bookings, right? Elite Grand hotel is the fancier choice. Great breakfast. Engeltofta sea lodge is also quite fancy, but you can rent apartments up to five. 2200kr/night. Which isn’t too bad if you accomodate 5. Also on the right side of town. Pets allowed. Don’t know about BnB’s. Shouild be able to find anything on bookings
- Cafes and Bars. Gävle is really good when it comes to restaurants. One of the cities in Sweden with the highest number of restaurant per capita. If you like indian cuisine there’s Namaste and Indian Palace (I prefer Namaste though). Pizza: Bakfickan, Runebergs kvarterskrog or Aktern och Fören. If you fancy something a bit more posh: Matildas, Söders källa, Erlandssons, Nästet and Noun. For wine lovers: Verovin or Vinkrogen. Burgers: Bastard burgers, bro burgers or Lilla tjuren. A lot of cafés and some such, none outstanding, but none bad. But bars: Nästet once again, good for drinks and cocktails. Also within that category is Absinth which is a nicer hotel bar. If you fancy your typical english pub there’s Terrassen (best sun spot in town), Bishops arms and Interpool or Rack n Roll if you want to play pool. The latter also has some nice happy hour deals. Verovin and Vinkrogen once again for wine lovers
- Guidebooks. Unfortunately just 27crags.com yet. But most relevant stuff is there to be honest
- Other Handy Places. Boulongern is a beautiful stroll on a rest day. They have a nice putty golf course there as well if you’re into that. There’s also a “beach” there with two beach volley-courses. Fjärran höjder-badet is the bath house/indoor (and outdoor) swimming pool. Old town is worth a visit, although it’ll just take you a few minutes to walk through it (most of it burned down). There’s a prison museum (Gävle Fängelsemuseum). Högbo bruk is a really beautiful recreational area with animal farms, cross country skiing, running, cafés and a great restaurant at the hotel. Bönan, Limön and Axmar are great coastal areas to visit
Relevant blog posts: here (if you’re that psyched or bored)