In the British climbing community, you’re bound to have heard of Lofoten at some point. Usually described as being one of the only places on the planet that has more rainfall than North Wales. Tales of terrible storms, weeks spent sat in a tent waiting for dry weather and mind-bending frustration at poor conditions conjure up an image of a hostile string of jagged spires, shooting up from a fierce and stormy Nordic sea.
You can imagine my surprise then, when we arrived to clear blue skies, white sand beaches with soft lapping waves and enormous DRY granite crags, bathed in warm sunlight.
My jaw dropped. This was climbing heaven.
Stefan – who had visited Lofoten two years earlier and experienced its full range of violent precipitation – seemed almost annoyed that I wasn’t getting the full ‘Lofoten experience’.
Now I’m fully aware that this could very easily come across as a full-on boast-post. “Oh the wonderful weather! Oh the incredible rock! Oh the beauty of it all, we saw the Northern lights every night and they were amazing!” (although we did, and they were).
But no one really wants to read about how great the weather was when they weren’t there.
Now it seems most climbers visit Lofoten between June and early August for the dryer weather and midnight sun (allowing you to climb around the clock!).
However when we arrived in the middle, it was late in the season. The nights were back, and the climbers were gone.
I would like to dedicate this blog post to the late-season keenos. The deluded souls who turned up expecting to get rained out, for the days to be shorter and all the fish to be gone, but pitched up anyways because THIS was what free time they had and they wanted to do some damn fine granite climbing! The idiots who turned up at the back of the queue, but got the greatest rewards. You know who you are (hell there was only about 5 of us…).
One thing you may not have read much about (unless you’re particularly active on 27 crags) is the development of the bouldering in Lofoten. Still carrying our pad in the boot, I was keen to try one of the only boulders I’d actually seen pictures of the ‘Separate reality roof crack’ boulder (Graded VG for Very Gnarly). But when I went on a little boulder hunt, I bumped into a few more local climbers who are helping to develop the bouldering here and establish enough content to piece together a guidebook for all visiting pebble-botherers!
As it stands, some descriptions, grades and topos can be found here: http://27crags.com/areas/lofoten
Whilst there may not be enough documented yet to warrant a full-on bouldering trip, I urge anyone visiting to drag along a pad and a brush if possible and go explore some unique and quality problems in a wild and beautiful setting. There are boulders dotted all over Lofoten often close to the road and I’ve been told they dry quickly after rain (Although something closer to wellies may be more appropriate footwear than your approach trainers).
The Presten boulders and Paradiset are good starting points, and those with a sense of adventure and a keen-ness for boulder hunting will be well rewarded.