Climbing in the cold, Häggsta

dsc04505
View from the cliff, Häggsta

Stockholm is a great place to live when you like the outdoors: there are tons of options if you want to taste almost every kind of outdoor activities, and climbing is no exception. Stockholm has been built on granite soil,  the whole Stockholm area is full of big boulders, from small walls to big cliffs. It offers a wonderful playground for climbers. Crags are everywhere. You can even climb downtown, enjoy a nice session of climbing and then walk to the pub, litteraly 5min from the “crag”.

My favorite crag in Stockholm is Häggsta. I read somewhere that Häggsta is like the birthplace of climbing in the area. People have been climbing there for decades. Routes in  Häggsta are mostly naturally protected but you will find bolts sometimes on hard demanding routes as well as some old pitons (sometimes rusted and hazardous) that can come in handy. The crag is situated a few kilometers South of Stockholm and can be reached by bus  or subway (+ a 40min approach in the woods).

My friend FX and I have been training together for a few months now and we’re making a good team. Häggsta is our favorite place to train for trad climbing and alpine moves. It’s the only place I know around Stockholm where you’ll find so many mutli pitch routes and so many different options. Lots of traverses that allow you to reach other routes from the belay anchor between two pitches. Usually you’ll find some fixed protections for your anchors, but it’s worth taking some slings and some extra biners if you need to build an anchor yourself.

During fall, temperatures drop quickly in Sweden and soon it will be impossible to rock climb outside. There will be some time between the end of the rock climbing season and the beginning of the ice climbing season. It’s already a bit cold but we’re pushing as long as we can. This weekend was the coldest so far, and when we met at the subway station the temperature was a mere 1°C. We layered conciously and did not regret taking gloves and down jackets.

We arrived in Hägsta under a chilling drizzle, it was far from optimal for climbing. It was cold and wet. We looked at the walls and choose a route. My goal for the day was to climb a nice, tight crack I noticed few weeks before. The crack seemed dry but the first pitch to reach it was super wet and slippery. We decided to give it a try anyway and went for a three pitch route including the crack (6a). We found a sort of cave and used it as a shelter to rack up and leave our packs.

Then we started to climb. The first pitch was an easy climb, more scrambling than climbing, but the rain plus the poor protection made it pretty scary and dangerous. The crack wasn’t as easy as expected (its a general rule in climbing, it seems): a tiny bit overhanging and what I didn’t really noticed at first: it was crooked. With the cold everything was more difficult than it is usually, but we eventually managed to make it to the top. Once there we abseiled to a little ridge and climbed an other route where I took my first fall while trad climbing. Scary but the nut I placed right before falling did the job and I was safe.

I won’t tell the whole story because it’s boring, I leave you to the pictures as they tell more than my words.

Over all we had another great day of climbing despite the cold and the drizzle.

If you are interrested in climbing in Häggsta, have a look at sverigeforaren.se , it’s full of precious informations, the Stockholm topo guide book is also available but I find it difficult to read sometimes (I’m not a big fan of drawings in topos).

Go outside, go climbing, there is still time!

dsc04436

Looking for a line
Looking for a line
dsc04446
Raaaaack!
p1140380
Right after the easiest and yet most dangerous part of the climb… WET! (at least the sky is blue)

dsc04456p1140389

p1140409
This crack was too tight, we had to look for holds next to it.

p1140411

dsc04459
dsc04461p1140420

p1140427
tiring pitch…
p1140425
… but happy climber!
dsc04477

dsc04475
View from the top

dsc04468

dsc04478
dsc04487
trying to fight the cold…
dsc04493

Klettern mit Bergfreunde.de

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: