Hi, This is Mark, we spoke earlier about climbing Thursday. Would love to hear what the possibilities are for me and my son Ben (15).

Hej Mark.
We can arrange a session the 1st of August. 3h.
Christian
Upplev Kullaberg

Hi Christian, thanks for the message. We really look forward to tomorrow. Just a few questions:
– as I understand the session is at 15:00. How long would the session be for?
– do you have an idea about the weather forecast for tomorrow afternoon? If it rains like today I would presume climbing will be difficult.
– will we be in a group or just the two of us with you/the guide?

Hej.
The weather looks good tomorrow.
The session will be around 3 hours.
For us is best to start in the morning at 9 o’clock.
You gonna be alone with the guide.

Ok, let’s hope it will be dry 🤞. If it is quite rainy as now then I don’t think it would be a good idea, right? Where should we be at 09:00?

Hej.

It’s gonna be dry tomorrow. 09.00 at the last main gravel parking about 400meters before Kullen lighthouse.
Your guide will be Lukas.

As I switch off my phone I look around; the trees are dripping with rain, our tents are wet, my bikes are wet; it’s been raining incessantly the whole day. Today we did a hike and I went mountain biking in the rain, and obviously, nature is still beautiful, in many ways even more so, when it rains. But I don’t look forward to climbing on wet rock, and I know Ben won’t enjoy his third real rock climbing experience (he has been climbing almost exclusively indoors for the past years) if it poured like today.

It is one of the only, if not the only opportunity we will have this vacation to go climbing together. During our trip, we are keeping to the southern part of Sweden which is hilly and has the most beautiful serene lakes you can imagine. A landscape that is great for hiking, mountain biking, adventure camping, swimming, canoeing kayaking etcetera, but not so much for rock climbing. So this is it, our window of opportunity is tomorrow. After that we are leaving Kullaberg, a beautiful and unique peninsula that sticks into the Kattegat, pointing over the sea towards Denmark. 40 km to the north of Helsingborg in Skåne it offers reddish-brown “gneis” rock which is great for climbing or so the internet tells us.

Sitting on the edge of a 35-meter drop I notice to my surprise that I feel a bit more tense,

As the night falls the rain keeps doing the same, and to the sound of drops on our tent we fall asleep, wondering if we will be so lucky. The silence of the morning is promising, and as we exit our tents in the morning the sky has some clouds but we can see blue patches as well, and once in a while the sun peeks out from behind the clouds.

After a quick breakfast and packing the climbing gear we brought from home, we get in the car for a short 15-minute drive to the parking lot near the Kullen lighthouse. The light itself is reputed to be the brightest one Sweden has, and just to the south of is a spot we can reach easily. It is one of the many places you can climb. In the whole Kullaberg area, there are about the climbing site/app 27crags.com notes 117 sport and 44 trad climbs, with levels ranging from 3 (two routes) to 8 (again 2 routes) with the most routes in the 6a through 6c categories.

Both my son and I are not good/experienced enough to do lead climbing, so our Guide Lukas from Upplev Kullaberg takes us to the top of our climb to show us (always curious to learn) how he anchors the tope rope we will climb. Sitting on the edge of a 35-meter drop I notice to my surprise that I feel a bit more tense, even anxious than I used to when close to these drops. It surprises me, is it me being older that there is more fear, but then I realize it is primarily because Ben is there as well, and even though he knows how to keep safe, and is a sensible kid, … I’m a dad, so I worry a bit. 

I find my balance on the rock face, find the peace of mind to relax.

Lukas, our guide from the local outdoor activity outfit Upplev Kullaberg is a really friendly communicative guy who is happy to explain to us what he does, how he does it, how you divide the weight of the rope over three anchors, how to select crags and stones to fix them well. After that, we walk down to the waterline and the base of our climb. As Lukas tests the rope I take the opportunity to take another look at our glorious surroundings. The last time I climbed at the edge of the sea was about twenty years ago when I climbed at Railay Beach in Thailand and it has a special kind of magical feeling to it, as far as I am concerned. The wideness of the open ocean, the sea rolling into the rocks we are climbing. I call out as I see a group of porpoises swim by just a hundred meters off the shore.

And the (now dry) gneis rock is as good as we read. It’s strong, very grippy (I suppose perhaps even when wet) and doesn’t seem to crumble. There are a lot of crags in the rock where we are climbing, and the horizontal cracks and a few very flat sections promise a challenging climb (at our level). Lukas points out the bolted routes on this section as well, but we’ll be top-roping today from the anchor he has set.

Ben is the first to go up, and the tenseness I felt at the top of the rock has come down with me, as he swiftly climbs up the 5c warm-up route. After about 30meters, during which the feeling of anxiety is replaced by growing pride, he reaches the top of the climb and Lukas lets him down. As I rope in and start the route, I still feel that anxiety visit me a bit, but that also passes slowly, and I feel the joy and energy of the climb. My climbing technique slowly comes back (I haven’t climbed in quite a while), I find my balance on the rock face, find the peace of mind to relax. Of course, that muscle endurance in my hands and arms are so much less than it was, but damn climbing is so much fun.

The next climbs are a bit more difficult, and the 6c+ that Ben does is really too much for me. A part of being older is also knowing your limitations. I would need much more training to do what my 15 years old son is doing. He is just a better climber than I am, and to be honest, ever was. I never had his dedication to climbing, having so many other interests to foster and put time and energy into, though I really love to climb, as he does. It is so cool to see what he is doing, how he talks with Lukas about the route to take, what moves he can do. How he puzzles his way up the route. It is such a perfect moment: climbing with my son in that beautiful place. I really feel a deep connection to him, doing what I have done, and taking it further. And feeling a similar connection to the nature around us, the millions-year-old rock, the sea that stretches out to the horizon. And the sun has now really come out. It doesn’t get any better than this.

Epilogue

After our climb, we join my wife and daughter for lunch at Ransvik Havsveranda,  one of the most idyllic lunch places I have ever been. Wonderful organic food, friendly people, a rocky beach where we go swimming in fresh seawater to relax our muscles. The son is warm enough…Kullaberg might just be a little slice of paradise.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.