First weekend of February, I visited Finland and Helsinki for the first time. A city that lived up to everything I ever it imagined it would be, in terms of grey, cold and snowy. What I did not expect however, where all the great indoor climbing-facilities there is to be found. I was invited by my two friends Henna and Jarmo to attend the opening of the latest addition, their new bouldering-gym Boulderkeskus Isatis.
I had not been climbing since before Christmas due to finger injury, and that barely changed over the weekend. Not being able to climb so much, did however not really spoil my trip since I got to meet both old freinds aswell as new acquaintances. Also, since Jarmo is something of a child caught in a grown mans body and really appreciate toys, there where TONS of other things to keep me occupied. Such as pinball machines, videogames and a pooltable. Along with massages, aromatheraphy, yoga- and pilates-classes, this makes for a place where I could easily hang out not only on the days when I'm training. Although, the main reason to why I would be visting Isatis is still the crazy walls that Jarmo designed. The place offers a bit of everything in terms of wall-angles and shapes and from the looks of it, I think it's a great gym for training. Thanks again, Jarmo and Henna for having me!
Checking the results for the final.
Invited pro-climber Rustam Gelmanov on the first problem in the final of the opening compeititon.
Now that school is no longer keeping me busy, I can start editing videos again. But in order to do so, I need material, which there isn't lots of since I haven't climbed much outdoors all autumn, let alone filmed. However, some of the footage Thomas and I gathered during his visit in August, did not fit in to the first video I made. Using that, I have put together this short with four problems from the Islands of Öckerö, outside Gothenburg.
The two songs in the video are by Andreas Åhlfeldt, who has produced music for many great climbing videos such as Progression and First ascent. Make sure to visit his site and listen to his other great tunes.
Since I started this blog in the autumn of 2007, I have made it a tradition to end every year with a review of the 365 days that past. For some reason however, I did not write this post last year and discovering this made me a bit sad. At the same time, I realize that these posts are something I compose for me more than for anyone else to read. It gives me so much pleasure to go back to the old entries and read about all the stuff I had forgotten about doing. All the people I've met, days I've spent moaning over bad weather or times I have been blissfull over having climbed a boulder (or in rare occations, a route).
So what is worth mentioning when looking back at 2013? There are of course a couple of moments that I remember particularly well. I would be stupid not to name Duel, but to say that it's the single greatest moment would be an overexaggeration. I can think of at least a couple of experiences and achivements I am just as happy about. For example when sticking the last move of Big dragon, after having fallen off it on my two previous goes due to missing the jug. Both those tries I was confident I would do it. On my third go however, I felt tired and hesitated. I knew it was the last go I had in me that day, and if it wasn't for the very unexpected cheering on from a big Edinburgh-crew that had turned up on the parkinglot, while I was doing the lower moves, I would probably have failed it again. Another great day was the one on which I climbed Modulor assis, le Tour du Babel and the sitstart to it, psyched up by Haroun and Neil. Having Neil around with his camera, not only that day but on several other occations, led to me getting to be a part of his amazing film. Another highlight of 2013.
As you might understand when reading the lines above, most of the climbing I did on rock this year happened in the spring. Although Fontainebleau did not show off it's best side, it's still a
fact that it's where I came to do most sessions outdoors. After returning to Sweden, I have been traveling less than usual. I did two short weekend trips in April, which where only separated by a day back in Uddevalla. First to Kjugekull with the cheerful Cabrera/Tillman family followed by a weekend on Åland with a big group of amazing people. Both of these are forming memories I will cherish as they remind me of what climbing is all about.
As usual I spent my summer working, but unlike before I treated myself to a week's vacation in the middle of it. This was not just so that I could be lazy, but for me to visit the annual Outdoor tradeshow in Friedrichshafen for the first time. I was invited there by the boys from Revolution and I am very thankful that they wanted to have me there. Not only was it great to meet the team aswell as Clark, the founder of Pusher and Revolution, but being there also gave me a whole new perspective of the outdoor-industry. Not to mention meeting many new, aswell as old friends.
I have been extremely fortunate to be supported by some very inspiring companies. With that I have also got do some very fun work. Towards the end of the summer I visited Lofoten in Norway with Tierra, to modell for their next summer catalougue. I got to try out their entire collection for next year, while doing all kinds of crazy activities. Everything from hiking up mountains and running on the beaches in bad ass weather, to suiting up for having Bacalaou at a local restaurant in the evenings.
My work in front of the camera, did not end when leaving Lofoten. The day after I returned back home, my
friend Thomas Schermer who is working as a photographer, came to visit me. Together we
spent four days driving up and down the westcoast for him to
take photos of me climbing, resulting in many great shots.
If you would have asked me a year ago, predicting that I would spend a
semester studying is a very unlikely guess I would have
made. The thought first hit me in the early spring. I was sat in
Neil's gite in Font, unable to count the days I'd been forced to rest
due to poor weather. Tired of the situation, I applied to a one semester photo-course at the renowned Berghs school of communication in Stockholm. I did not believe for a second that I would get in, so when the acceptence letter turned up in July I was fascing quite a hard desicion to make. One part of me was much more keen on spending the money I was saving up working, that would all be eaten by the tuition fee, on a new trip. But since I could still remember the frustration I had felt when applying, I decided that I could always save up new money and go chasing for dry rock later.
When the summer had passed, it was time to make the move to the Swedish capital, to start a semester that came to be a busy time. At first I felt super-psyched on everything, especially going to the climbinggym. But as we where told by our teachers on our first day, there would not be much time for anything but school until the 12th of December when it was ending. Since photography is very subjective, there are no sure answers. Therefor I could put endless amounts of efforts in to each assignment and when it was time to hand them in, I would still not feel satisfied. Of course it pulled my focus away from climbing more than I could ever have imagined it would, and it put my
motivation to a hard test. The time however added to my photographical skills, which I hope will be noticeable in aswell the photos as films I will be making in the future.
Except for going to the Västervik bouldermeet, I did not go away for a single weekend only to climb during the autumn. I made a couple of day trips to areas around Stockholm and Uppsala, but due to the reasons I explain above, it was hard to get much out of it. After a while I realized this and decided to focus the time I could dispense on climbing, on training indoors. There is never enough time to keep up with all the things I wish to do and as I try finding a way trough life, there will be times when climbing can't always come first. I was fortunate however, to spend this time in a place like Stockholm, with all the great facilities and amount of motivated climbers that kept me wanting to go to the gyms.
Before rouding this off, I would like to put down a few lines of gratitude and appreciation. To Pierre Ropero and Erik Tjerneld at Tierra, Musti and Ibo at Revolution, Erik Massih at Five ten, Jarmo at Boulderkeskus and Wioletta with LYO food for their amazing support. To all the amazing, new people I have been fortunate to get to know during the year aswell as to old friends I have been spending time with. For my friends who I did not manage to bump into even once during 2013, let's make sure that won't be the case of 2014.
Last but not least, to myself in the future - I hope this helped brighten up some of all the great memories that was created in the year 2013!
Combining studies with training is not as easy as I've been told. Before this semester at Berghs school of communication, I have not been sat in a school-bench since I graduated from upper secondary school in the spring of 2007. And I must say, going back being used to having climbing as my main focus in life, it's been hard to maintain my training. School-assignments has taken up most of my focus and the stress of constantly having something related to these to think about has drained me on lots of energy. It's actually not been until in the last couple of weeks when all assignments was handed in, that I've started feeling like myself again when going to the wall.
However, in spite of this I have enjoyed my stay in Stockholm very much, climbing-wise also. Training at facilities like K2, surrounded by incredibly many talented climbers has given me a whole new perspective of the Swedish climbing-scene. It has also helped me regain my joy for indoor climbing, which has been running pretty low in the last year or so. But lately I've been able to enjoy climbing in the gym just as much as going outdoors. All thanks to the atmospehere and the amount of new problems being put up every week by hard working routesetters. It´s beyond anything I've experienced before.
One of my neighboors in Stockholm seemed to have a thing or two to learn about appartment-
adapted pets. (Translation: Beware of camel).
I am not sure what I'll be doing after New years, but since school is over and I no longer have a place to stay in Stockholm, I have moved back to Uddevalla for the time being. I will be doing some work over the holidays and a couple of weeks into the new year. After that I'm free as a bird again and time will tell wheter I'll be back on the road travelling or in Stockholm training.
These are some of many shots I took of the Legends only competition which was held at K2 during the last weekend of November. An extremely well executed event that attracted many spectators, who I can only assume got just as inspired as I did from watching the boys climb.