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!