Travel plans

We flew into Copenhagen to get to Kjugekull. I’m sure there are other airports that are possible but flights into CPH tend to be quite cheap. From arrivals in terminal 3 all you have to do is go to platform 2, get the train to Kristianstad and get off at Fjälkinge. This is a small town with no other transport other than a little bus that runs only 5 times a day; twice in the morning and three times in the afternoon. Unfortunately it was a Saturday so my only option was to try and find a taxi. There were no taxis. Thankfully a very kind gentleman offered to drive us the 20mins to the ferry. He must have realised we were pretty stuck and I think he enjoyed talking to me in English. I probably should have thought about traveling on the weekends more thoroughly before hand. Public transport and general travel in most European countries is nearly impossible on weekends. Even when it is possible, any travel outside a city will run on a frustratingly slow/non-existent schedule. Most travel on week days by contrast, tends to be stunningly easy, especially in Scandinavia. All the tickets for everything can be bought on an app (skanetrafiken) and are great value. I think the train cost me around £15 and took a bit more than 90mins. The bus back to the station was only £3-4. If you want to hire a car it is probably best to get off the train one stop earlier at Bromölla. This is a larger town with a big supermarket right next to the station.

Island life

We were dropped off at the ferry from the mainland to Ivö, a small island in the middle of a beautiful lake. It took not much more than an hour to walk from one end to the other. The ferry is free and runs continuously all day transporting a lot of vehicles and passengers. The camp site is a popular and a family friendly destination, while at the same time not too overrun (at least when we were there). The camping works out at about £20 a night, £4 extra for electricity. Considering the free ferry, good facilities, friendly staff and bikes and boats for hire at a reasonable price, it’s fair value. Bikes are around £5 per day. There is a swimming area, restaurant and lots of things to do in the area, including visiting the Absolute factory. I might have been swayed by the excellent weather, but it I would definitely go back.

6b, a very small gem

The climbing

The climbing at Kjugekull is a 20min bike ride away, depending on wind direction and the size of the crash pad on your back. It is also easily accessible by car. There is a nice café which sells the guide book you need. In peak season, as I discovered, they can sell out for a couple of days, so you might want to purchase online depending on how relaxed and time constrained you are. The book is easy enough to use but the map and paths take some getting used too. The rock is a coarse granite of good quality. Due to the small size of the area and the volume of traffic, most things are quite polished, so good conditions, chalk and a stiff brush are a must! The quality of the problems varies a lot. There are a few gems but a fair few confusing or dirty lines. With a bit of time, considered choosiness and exploration there is enough here to keep most climbers happy for a while. The grades go up to about 7c, with a couple of harder lines that are mostly crimpy and awkward. This is great for some, not really what I would normally crave. Top climbers would only need a day or two here to exhaust the place.

7a+, completed with some mat moving help

On the whole there are not many overhanging lines, but plenty of rounded boulders, hard starts and power slabs. There are a smattering of pockets, but edges and arêtes are the most abundant features. These are not things I would usually be drawn towards but I thought I should try harder to broaden my climbing diet. Having said that, there are some lines I would definitely come back for, including Lithium (7c+), which I was painfully close to sending… quite literally given my fingers afterwards. It is also a wonderful place to chill out, have a relaxed holiday and take in some climbing that is a bit different to the rounded powerfulness of some European sandstone. The rock type and structure makes this place quite a difficult starting point for beginners. However this makes it a good place to bring a beginner who is keen to learn. In summary, Kjugekull is a picturesque local gem, but not an international hot spot. Precisely because of that it is well worth a visit if you are looking for something a bit different and you like to climb between 6a and 7c.

Lithium, 7c+

Outdoor adjustments

Sarah and I spent a week or so camping interspersed with three or four good climbing days. Sarah is still fairly new to climbing outdoors, so much of the time was spent showing her the ropes; both safety and essential techniques. Some repeated foot drills, top out practice, route reading and spotting tips were crucial to make bouldering outdoors more accessible and enjoyable. The teaching of such techniques reinforces your own knowledge and is useful for making sure you are consciously and constantly demonstrating good practices yourself. I tried a few hard lines and also climbed a lot of others with as much smooth precision as possible. This was partly to practise and drill more basic techniques that we then are able to unconsciously and more automatically utilise on harder climbs, but also because clumsy placement on crystalline granite is not a good idea for finger skin retention.

On the whole we had a good time climbing but the trip ended up being more of an all-round holiday. The good weather, idyllic location and the fact that it was my 21st when we were there, meant that we spent a lot of time relaxing, swimming and exploring. I will go back one day to explore the numerous other Scandinavian bouldering destinations, most of which are coastal granite, with the addition of an insulated van and excitable dog.

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