Walking over the flat valley floors in Bohuslän, south-west Sweden, you look at gentle hills and the wide horizon of a landscape shaped by the big glaciers. Forest and cattle fields rest on ancient bedrock of solid granite. At first glance, these hills don’t seem very interesting to alpine rock climbers, but when taking a closer look the area is full of smooth vertical walls with clean splitters that makes it itch in the fingers of any crack climber.
In fact trad-climbing areas like this are very rare in Europe. Those continuous finger or hand cracks you occasionally come across in the Alps (after 2h approach and 5 pitches of slab climbing) are lined up on 50-100m high walls, often rising off a lawn with playing children, a pick-nicking family or a few casual-looking cows. Here and there we spot a colorful climber about to send a magic line.
This is our second visit and we have still only seen a fraction of what Bohuslän has to offer. Therefore again we find our selves at a new crag every day, climbing only 3-star classics marked on the tick-list we’ve got from local experts. However the list of must-do climbs only seams to grow, no matter how many lines we send… You find an official tick list at 8a.nu under Search Tick List -> Bohuslän.
It is easy to drive around and even change crag during the day. Approaches are short and flat. The trad-crags are more or less clean of bolts (including anchors). Therefore trad climbing in Bohuslän is a bit more time consuming then at well arranged sport-climbing sites. This doesn’t matter so much when you are on vacation though, and the Swedish summerdays are long. After climbing there are both lakes and the sea to dive into…
Basically life is easy and cragging is tuff in Bohuslän! However climbing is safe and all classic routes are easy to protect. Just make sure you are well equipped to defend your self against mosquitos and tics!
Even spoiled people used to climbing in Yosemite, Gritsone or Chamonix call Bohuslän a world-class place for single-pitch trad-cragging. Probably not because of one crag, but the assembly of crags within a small area. And for the high quality crack lines in all grades – from your first trad lead to some of the hardest trad routes in the world.
Climbing Trip Info
Where: At the west coast of Sweden, after 2.5 hour’s drive from Oslo and 1 hour from Gothenburg, you are in the heart of Bohuslän, which is actually a department. Towns within this area are Dingle and Munkedal.
Guide book: Klätterguide Bohuslän by Joakim Hermanson/Bohuslän klätterklubb.
This 2002 guide book describes approximately 1000 routes on 95 crags. Loads of new routes have been done since that! All grades are found, from 3 to 9 (Swedish grades), with the highest concentration at grades 5 to 7.
There is also a net-guide to all climbing areas in Sweden where you find most of the crags in Bohuslän.
The Swedish grading system uses the same numbers as the Norwegian and the UIAA scale, but is slightly different. Becoming standard practice is to give bolted routes French sport climbing grades and Swedish grades for the trad routes (even when in the same area).
Be very careful to not violate any access rules when climbing in Bohuslän. It is a very sensitive issue and especially when parking your car.
Best time: May till October. Local weather forecast at smhi.se.
Trad Climbing Courses: Mountain Spirit Guides organizes climbing trips to Bohuslän for private groups. The goal is to make you progress in trad- and crack-climbing. We don’t yet have a program on our website so please contact us if interested.