Recently, Touchstone athlete Joey Kinder headed to Norway for a three week trip. This is his second time to the country. He traveled there last year to climb at the notoriously difficult Flatanger Cave. He spoke a bit with the Touchstone blog about his trip.
Why did you want to go there?
My buddy Henning (Henndogg WangDang) Wang asked me if I were interested in being flown out for an event called the Ballenstein Festivallen or in english the Ballsack Festival. This was the 4th annual round of an event that raises money for CAC (Climbers Against Cancer). He put me in touch with Lars Ottar Halvorsen (who runs the entire event) and we formed a plan. I was honored they wanted me as well as The Wide Boys. I felt connected to this sort of event since I lost my aunt and my grandmother to cancer in the last 2 years. Plus, it was an opportunity to revisit one of the wildest countries I have been to and tour around with Henning to some of the far off and less visited cliffs.
What are you doing there? Do you have any specific goals?
I am simply climbing and doing things I can knock out in a few tries max. When I got here I was pretty out of shape as I had been attending events and traveling. So, getting going was a little rough, but now I’m in form and feel in tune with the granite. All of the country is granite/gniess/schist and it’s amazing quality. The mountains, fjords, and all of the nature here is SO impressive and makes you feel tiny. My goals are minimal. I guess it’s to see as much as possible and climb one quality route at each cliff we go to. I have two weeks left and we’ve already sessioned at like 6 crags and bouldering spots.
How is this trip different than your past trips to Norway?
It’s a simple road trip. We are out of the car, dirtbagging it and roaming around like road warriors. It’s hilarious… we have our camping gear, sleep at the cliffs, and stay with friends when possible. It reminds me of when I was like 17. We have already had some funny ass events occur. The last time I was here I stayed at one crag projecting routes with little exposure to the culture here in Norway. This trip I am utterly immersed in it all… the people, the climbing, the mountains, the travel… all of it. This is surely a trip I will talk about for years.
What have been some of the highlights?
The Ballsack Festival was nuts. I would say it was the most loc’d out climber event I’ve ever been to. It was total debauchery. People tearing shirts off, spraying beer, crowd surfing, dancing, screaming, rowdiness!!!!! I have never seen climbers get that wild before. USA parties are so conservative and proper compared to this event. I loved it and seriously had no idea what I was in for. I thought all I was going to do was deliver a slideshow and then eat some bbq and drink beer like usual. This was FAR from that… Every time I got on the stage the crowd demanded I tear off my shirt. I HAD to.
I was auctioned off for a slow-dance for about $300 too! HAHA!! I hate that sort of thing, but played along and just went for it. I even had dudes bidding on me. My auction went on for like 10 minutes while I stood there on stage in front of like 500 people shivering my ass off without a shirt on!!! I was super lucky to have a girl win me in the end and damn… talk about awkward. Dancing on stage in front of everyone without a shirt with this sweet girl who just payed for it all. But hell… Henning unfortunately had a dude win him and it was a RIOT seeing him dancing no shirt nipple to nipple with this big burly Norwegian guy. HAHAHAHH!!!!!!!!
What crags are you going to?
I have gone to like 6 crags and I can’t even pronounce their names. Myggveggen, Mojovato, Hvarnes, crags around BØ, Matre for the boulders, Skoe, and another couple that I don’t know the names of. So far I have climbed routes up to 8a+/.13c and all have been BANGERS. The style ranges from techy granite faces (which I get a little bored of) to full on featured sport climbing routes that you navigate through and stay totally engaged on. The rock is simply amazing and is a reason alone to climb here.
Who are you climbing with?
My buddy Henning Wang check him out here Madskillz Media I have known him for years from climbing in Spain. The dude loves Santa Linya and spends season after season in that cave. He is huge, talks ALL THE TIME and has the most positive attitude of anyone. He’s lovable and a true climber.