Ned Feehally has recently returned from a two-week trip to Västervik, Sweden, where he climbed an outrageous amount of hard boulder problems. Whilst on the trip it was Ned's 31st birthday and his partner Shauna Coxsey challenged him to climb 31 boulders of 8A in the two weeks – an outrageous amount of hard climbing.
Ned told UKC: 'I'm always up for a challenge and once the idea had I got under my skin I couldn't shake it. It's only 2.2143 boulder problems per day after all.'
Västervik is a small town in the south-east of Sweden, around four hours' drive from Stockholm. Ned described the area as 'Beautiful. Ocean, forests, rocks, wildlife and friendly people. If there weren't any rocks there, I'd still like the place. The climbing there is diverse. The rock is granite, but it varies a huge amount from crag to crag. Some is very coarse and rounded, some steep and crimpy and some water polished and smooth. Being coastal there's usually a decent breeze so things tend to dry fast after rain and stay relatively cool on the warmer days.'
Whilst the area already has a lot of developed climbs, Ned estimated that the current guidebook only covers about 50% of what has been developed: 'there is still a whole lot left to do. I found a few good looking projects without really looking, but if you spent some time hunting for stuff I'm sure there would be a lifetime of rocks for most people to climb. Local developers Stefan Rasmussen and Jim Wasmuth are constantly busy adding new boulder problems to the area.'
Whilst on the trip, Ned didn't feel any pressure to 'try really hard in project mode,' as Västervik doesn't have any top end problems (yet). Two weeks can fly by however and Ned suddenly found himself with 24 hours left to climb ten more boulder problems of 8A or above.
'A late night, an early start and a bit of complaining later and I managed it. As pointless challenges go I really enjoyed this one. Being about as far from an endurance athlete (or even an athlete) as it's possible to be I managed to reach a satisfying level of exhaustion by the end of our "holiday". Then it was straight back to work for a nice rest.'
Shauna Coxsey also had a fantastic trip, managing several problems of 8A or harder whilst recovering from a bad finger injury. Ned told us: 'It was great to see her figuring out wild sequences on moves that I could simply span. Being a midget must be hard work, but it's made easier when you can hold onto the footholds.'
Namaste, 8a+/V12 was first climbed by @stefan_rasmussen_71 10 years ago. It's a true test piece of the area. It's got some tiny holds and some hard moves and I really wanted to climb it. I wasn't sure if it would be possible for me. I played around on the moves at the end of the day a few days back. The moves took a bit of work and linking them together seemed a little distant. Walking in to this boulder today I was doubtful. It was hot and the air was still. As I spent some time getting my skin (and pain tolerance) used to the small, uncomfortable crimps a slight breeze picked up. A saving grace. I sat myself down and went from the start. I hit every hold right, stuck the crux and then totally forgot my beta 🤦♀️ I was so frustrated. On the next go my hand fired off so fast I thought I'd left all my skin behind. My tips were burning but I was so psyched. I knew it was possible. I knew it would go. One deep breath and some good fighting later I found myself at the top. Hot, satisfied and ready for an ice cream! @nedfee 📹 #climbing #hot #sweaty #happy . @adidasterrex @fiveten_official @redbull @redbulluk
Both Ned and Shauna are no strangers to hard bouldering. Ned is one of the few people in the world to have flashed 8B+ and has climbed multiple 8C's. Shauna is midway through a world cup season, having been the overall champion for the past two seasons. She has also climbed 8B+.