I started to hear a lot about Bohuslän in the past couple of years, so when the Swedish representative on WICM in 2016 invited us to visit, we decided to organise a meet there during midsummer week. A post on the FaceBook group, Girls Get Higher, invited Swedish women to join us during the week and show us around. One major stumbling block for the northern contingent turned out to be that you can’t fly from Manchester to Gothenburg, so we ended up flying to Stockholm and resigning ourselves to the very boring (lots of trees!) 5½ hour drive to the west coast. The southern crew booked flights from London airports to Gothenburg, so had an easier trip, our base in Brodalen being only 1½ hours drive from Gothenburg.
Bohuslän is a craggie’s paradise, with outcrop after outcrop of high-quality granite (almost all of it traditionally protected), rising up from fields and woods, all fairly flat, short walk-ins and within 30 minutes drive of Brodalen. Sweden had been enduring the same wet weather as the UK for the previous week or so, but we were blessed with a sudden change in weather on the Saturday morning, resulting in a wide variety of strap marks by the end of our first day at Galgeberbet.
Over the week we tended to split into two groups: one going to crags with climbs with a range of 4s and 5s (Severe-HVS); the other seeking out the 6- (E1-ish) classics. We climbed at the wonderfully named Brappersberget, Vettekullen, Hallinden, Välseröd, Hallinds Klack, Nordens Ark, Svaneberget, Rågårdsdal and Holländareberget. The crags are mostly single-pitch in the 20-30m range, with Hallinden providing two-pitch routes at 55m and Holländareberget, the smallest, a tiny (10m) sea-side crag of golden granite. Tick-paranoia (and risk of Tick-Borne Encephalitis) ensured we gave ourselves a careful checking over each evening.
Our last day in Bohuslän, Friday 23rd June, was the official midsummer’s day in Sweden. We’d been practising our little song about Små Grodorna (Little Frogs) all week and we sang and danced round the ‘May’pole with the be-garlanded families. The rain held off till it was over, then we headed back for a traditional Swedish midsummer lunch of pickled herring (our favourite was the herring in gin!), boiled potatoes with sour cream and chives, crispbread, eggs, cheese and schnaps.
The cultured among the group explored the bronze-age rock art at Tanum, a UNESCO world heritage site and we visited the seaside and dined out at a fish restaurant on the coast. All of this, added to the fantastic climbing, made it a great trip.
Favourite routes of the week:
Jungfrun 4, Välseröd
Ödhumlan 4, Nordens Ark
Kyrkråttan 4+, Brappersberget
Snögeten 5-, Nordens Ark
Till de Utpsykade Cragråttorna 5-, Rågårdsdal
Granitsnoken 5, Svaneberget
Bergkirstis Polska 6-, Svaneberget
Prismaster 6-, Hallinden
Våroffer 6-, Hallinds Klack
Villskudd 6-, Välseröd