Last week I had the opportunity to attend the International Boulder Meet in Vastervik, Sweden. Vastervik is a small town located in the southern part of the country on the eastern coast amongst a massive archipelago (a cluster of islands). I was hesitant at first to accept the invitation to visit, mainly because of my unfamiliarity with the rock in that part of the world. Time is precious and as the fall temps arrive, it's important to place yourself in the best possible areas to test yourself. After a week of climbing around Vastervik, the area proved to be perfect.
The natural beauty of Sweden is something to be admired. Lush green and brilliant blue waterways accompany every adventure. And the rock is pretty damn good. It's spread out, and there is some choss, but the main areas have "lines", tall and proud ones, and this is something to cherish beyond all other factors. When it comes to new lines, the surface hasn't even been scratched.
The most impressive aspect of Vastervik to me was the dedication among the local climbers. I feel like I say that more and more these days about a variety of different places that I've visited, but the locals of Vastervik take the cake. Particularly the efforts of Five Ten Athlete Stefan Rasmussen are to be commended. He has single-handedly put the area on the map as a new hard climbing destination by constantly searching and developing the forests of southern Sweden. It's impressive considering the nature of the terrain. The thick foliage makes it extremely hard to see boulders from the road and most boulder hunting missions involve walking blindly into the woods with a pocketful of hope. Hanging out with Stefan for the week really made me that much more inspired to get after it and hunt for new things.
Due to the small period of time I had to experience the climbing of Vastervik, I spent the majority of it trying to repeat the area classics. It felt great to have a massive amount of quality problems to throw myself at for a set number of days. By the end of the week I managed a decent ticklist:
The Hourglass V13
David o Goliath Low V12
Animal Act V12
Awake The Unkind V11
Mean Green V11
The Art Of Hype V11
Celtic Warrior V11 (Flash)
India Malabar V11
Goofhead Variant V11
Torch And Trav V11 (FA)
Next stop is Magic Wood, so stay tuned!