Vast is certainly the word here. While possibly not as famous as Kjugekull, most Swedish will have boulderers will have heard of Vastervik and quite rightly so!
There’s plenty here, typically spread out around a wide area and there’s been a big push to get Vastervik more onto the international map. In 2011, there was the first International Boulder Meet here, with some stellar names including Daniel Woods, Alex Puccio, Guntrum Jorg and Chris Webb Parsons to name but a few! They’ve subsequently had other rock stars such as Shauna Coxsey, Ned Feehally (of Beastmaker fame, Mina Lesley-Wyjastuck, Nalle Hukkataival and Carlo Traversi – so it can’t be that bad!
These international meets are hoped to be an annual event too and, importantly, the innaugural one was actually held in August. I was here in June and the conditions were fine, allowing us to get on plenty during the long Swedish summer days. Mostly (if not all) granite, i was really taken with the excellent rock quality all round and can definitely see why Vastervik would be so popular.
The town dates back to 1275, with some excellent 18th Century architecture. With a famed archipellago consisting of 5000 islands, it’s no surprise that there is a big maritime atmosphere here and the harbour is the place to be if you want to go out and about. To be honest, it’s the place to be to simply sit and chill out or if you’re in the mood, head out to Sandvik.
The big thing about Vastervik is it’s potential. There is easily enough here to occupy a week or a fortnight but i imagine, there will only ever be even more and the next edition of the guidebook will, i have no doubt, be substantially bigger. A day was never enough and i am itching to get back.
Sadly, a day was nowhere near enough to explore properly and hopefully one day, i can head back for a much longer trip – between a week and a fortnight – to check out some other areas. In the meantime though, these are the spots i’ve actually been in person.
Roda Vaggen. A scar or miniature crag 50m wide that can be a little highball for some (including my wimpy self). Around 30 degrees overhanging, it’s mainly crimps or flatties on good quality red granite. A couple of stand out lines for you: My Way 6c+ and Full Contact 7b+.
Lysingsbadet. Easiest access imaginable, straight from the campsite. It can be a bit tricky to find at first but by no means difficult. Mostly easy problems, as you can imagine with a kid-focused campsite but there are a couple of harder gems here, like Kamp pa Kammen 6b and most things at Branten. ET 7a was a personal favourite.
Vastervik itself is a sprawling town/city with plenty available to you. Things like food and beer are really not hard to acquire but annoyingly, climbing supplies can be.
But there is plenty here, lots of life and a gorgeous town centre that should be explored at some point.
- Food. There’s plenty around, Vastervik is a major town and chances are, you’ll not be far from a supermarket at all. If you’re on the campsite, there’s even a reasonable grocery store on the site itself, with plenty for you there.
- Climbing Shops. None. You may here that there is a shop at the Klattercenter but when we went, they said they only had a few bits of chalk and brushes, so nothing really. In the guide, it also mentions Intersport in town but again, we wandered in there and found no climbing stuff. They did have a limited range of camping supplies though.
- Accommodation – Campsites and Cabins. There’s one really obvious one and the website is here. It’s a bit pricey but it’s excellent with fantastic facilities. One thing that’s worth mentioning: we booked a cabin, with the threat of rain looming. It turns out that the cabins are tiny and basic and there are large “lounges” for anyone to use. These would offer ample shelter, have cookers, tables, chairs and even a TV and would most likely house you themselves! I would probably suggest saving a bit of cash, camping and making use of these.
- Cafes and Bars. We headed into town and found one very easily. It wasn’t anything special really – other than very friendly and offering a lovely view of the waterfront! There are plenty there and i’d recommend heading down the the water to take in the view with your drink.
- Guidebooks. There is a guidebook and the only climbing i’ve ever seen to be ring bound! The hard part is that i picked my one up from Stockholm after we’d left… Considering how good this place is, i find it astounding! It is know as simply Bouldering in Vastervik and is written by Jim Wasmuth & Stefan Rasmussen. It’s supposed to get a reprint in 2017. If you can’t find it, this being Scandinavia, 27crags will always suffice or there are pdf topos on the Vastervik climbing website here.
- Other Handy Places. In town, near the old water tower on Repslagaregatan is the Vastervik Climbing Centre. In truth, it’s mainly a small climbing gym to service the locals and is only open in the off season and closed on Fridays. You can, however, rent pads from here and if it’s open, is a friendly and accommodating place to point you in the right direction.
Relevant blog posts: here (if you’re that psyched or bored)