My goal with this miniadventure was to find a place somewhere in Europe with a great trainer for rock climbing techniques. I found one – and the adventure started with me traveling to Lofoten in Norway! I had just heard some words about the “place” and it seemed like the right thing to do.
The SAS flight left from Stockholm to Kiruna and then the GPS on the cellphone routed towards “Kabelvåg, Lofoten”. This is way up north above the polcircle! The drive through the Swedish flat and soft mountains was a fantastic drive as a start passing by the wellknown skiiing resorts Riksgränsen and Björkliden. Coming closer to Narvik the climate and nature started changing fast, in just som 10 km distance, after the Norwegian border. The first contact with Lofoten was entering towards the Ofotfjorden. This is magic I thought! So beautiful! However, this was only a starter. Many times when starting an adventure I dont like preparing too much. An adventure to me is like a surprise for children – I want to be surprised! So, I stayed out of too much research about Lofoten, perhaps a bit too much….
The first surprise was that the drive took 6 beautiful hours from Kiruna instead of a ”little” drive on the E10 to Norway. The second surprise was that Lofoten most likely is one of the most beautiful places in the world. When asking climbers it definetely stays in the beautygroup with New Zealand and the East Coast of Canada.
Reaching ”Kalle” located outside the village Kabelvåg(kalle.no) at 19:00 was fantastic. The Vestfjorden was smooth, no wind, sunshine hanging low – Kalle showed out to be the third surprise – what a great place in a small bay, what an atmosphere with the old fishing house. The show can start!!
The fourth surprise was meeting great people for adventure! I didnt know very much about my climbing guide besides the company name Northern Alpin Guide (NAG), his cellphone and his name Mr.Happy. I thought this was an unusual name. Thursday morning 09:00 was the agreed time to get started with the climbing training. The guide arrived 09:00 sharp, with sunshine and great weather, and presented himself as Charlie Long. So, who is Mr.Happy? I obviously got this quite wrong. His name was in fact Mr.Seth Hobby, not Happy, and is the manager at NAG. Charlie is a Canadian certified mountaineer that settled down in Tromsö in Norway some years ago. He does lots of client climbing training in Norway. Seth does also lots of training in the Chamonix-Mont-Blanc region besides his activity in Lofoten with skiing groups.
The plan for the first day of climbing was to go to the ”Paradise” climbing area, just 5 min drive from Kalle. This was the fifth surprise – Paradise showed out to be the paradise for many things but especially climbing. I was astounded by the beauty. The entire day was spent on training climbing techniques, testing equipment, knots, rock analysing, mindset with belaying and rappeling etc. Charlie is a fantastic teacher and with a personality thats great!
The second day we drove to the ” THE ROCK AND ROLL RIDGE” some 15 minutes away from Kalle and with a height of 400 meter with full of rock climbing opportunities. I was so happy to be on the mountain with Charlie doing real climbing with all the skills we went through the day before. The view right out into the Norwegian Sea combined with the climbing gave me a wonderful memory. Charlie has a great relation to the security aspect and we spent lots of time on this topic. Everything in rock climbing is about making a judgement of the situation and applying a security level that is adequate for the situation. This is especially true for the mountaineering aspect which gave me new perspectives. It was so great to be high up finally and look down on the 70-80 degress rock wall 200 m down with respect but without fear for my security. This training will for sure help in the upcoming expeditions.
In the evening of Friday I finally got to met with Seth Hobby. Seth is from Seattle in the US, speaks fluent Norwegian and and moved over to Norway some years ago. He runs NAG and with the speciality of providing adventures and training in climbing, skiing, surfing etc. Both Charlie and Seth work alot together in different projects and love what they do as professionals. I plan to meet with Seth next time in order to do some glacier training in spring.
The last day ended up in Henningsvaer in a pub believing you visited Bermudas. The temperature was up to 25 degress late in the day with a marvelous sunset approaching.
Go to Lofoten, you wont regret it. I want to go back!