Pete Whittaker has just come back from a short trip to Sweden which turned out to be very successful. Pete made the first repeat of Karlek, 8b, and a ground-up ascent of Ratt Latt, 8a R and repeated Minaret, E8.
First up, Pete took the time to get back into headpointing and to get a feel for climbing on the Swedish Granite, by headpointing the classic Minaret, an E8 found at Haller in Bohuslan. Commenting on his blog on the Wild Country website, Pete said:
"The battle I had with this route was getting the correct temperatures to try and actually do it. Most days it was 25/30 degrees at lunch time and Haller gets the full sun all day. It seemed like trying to do a hard End of the Affair (E8) in the middle of summer. I think I've learnt a lot from bold routes on the grit over the past few years and it seemed easy to pinpoint the correct time to actually go for it."
Pete then turned his attention to Ratt Latt, 8a R, the route follows the line of an overhanging groove to the right of Minaret. Pete decided to try the line in a ground up style, something that isn't regularly done in Sweden on the harder routes. After falling low in the groove on the crux of the route, Pete found the top headwall of the route where the route became more mentally taxing:
"I knew the climbing was going to be runout because of the 'R' symbol next to the grade in the guide, but I hadn't quite accounted for how far this would be, so it came as a massive surprise when I looked up and saw the end of the runout fridge-hugging section to be a country mile away. I got so scared I passed the point of 'being able to pull harder due to adrenaline'. It started working in completely the opposite way and I felt my hands sliding from every single hold"
The last route Pete climbed was Karlek, a crack route put up by Petter Restorp, and given a grade of 8b. Despite trying the route throughout his time in Bohuslan, Pete found himself falling off the last hard move on the last day of the trip, having to leave the next evening to catch the ferry, with the crag only coming into condition in the evening.
However, Pete's climbing partner, Marie convinced him it would be possible to both have another attempt and catch the ferry, allowing Pete one final chance to climb the route.
"When I should have now been driving back dissapointed at yesterday's effort, I instead stood with one last chance below the finishing 7c+ headwall. I was more tired than my last attempt, but knew why I had fallen last time, I fumbled the finishing hold due to nerves. All I had to do was stay calm and hold on. Still whacking the wall with my left hand as I reached up for the last hold I managed to keep it together, make the second ascent and did what has to be one of the most satisfying ascents I've ever done."
You can read more about Pete's trip including the world's biggest sandbag on the Wild Country website.
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