I’m a climber at heart. Last semester in Tuscaloosa I spent a few hours a day climbing at the wall in the Witt Center– I love all the trips I’ve taken with UA’s climbing club across Alabama, and my climbing friends are some of my favorite people in the world. So, naturally, while abroad in Denmark this spring, I had to keep it up!

I found a local climbing gym about a twenty minute metro ride away, and started going a few times a week when I had down time after class. Before long, I learned that the tallest manmade climbing wall in the world– Copenhill– happened to be in Copenhagen. Climbing it instantly became a bucket list item for me.

One day, while training at the gym, I met Lukas, an avid climber from Copenhagen who happened to work at a climbing center nearby. I asked if he knew anyone who could teach me the safety procedures for multipitch routes– I knew that in order to get access to Copenhill I would have to pass a certification from the Danish mountaineering society, which meant I’d have to know the safety procedures forwards and backwards. Lukas said he knew someone who might be able to help me with the certification, and introduced me to his friend Ada, another mountaineer who worked at another gym nearby. We arranged a meeting point, and I woke up before dawn the next morning to go practice for the exam!

Ada taught me how to rig multipitch anchors with a partner, how to tie safety knots for rappelling, and a few other climbing tricks that he knew would be on the exam. We wound up getting along very well, and after our session, Ada asked if I wanted to put my new skills to the test before my exam– he, Lukas, and a university student named Læke were going to climb some sea cliffs in Sweden that weekend. Thrilled by the idea, I eagerly accepted!

That weekend, we met bright and early at for our road trip across the pond to Sweden. We drove past fields of giant windmills, a few Ikeas, and massive rows of birch forests– and finally arrived at a cute little seaside town called Mölle. We grabbed our climbing gear, parked at the top of some nearby sea cliffs, and headed down to climb in a beautiful rocky cove. The January air was freezing, but we didn’t mind– we were all just excited to get on the wall. Ada and I pulled together our gear, and started our climb– he led the way and I followed, cleaning the route as I ascended. Before long we found ourselves hanging a hundred feet above the water. It was spectacular.

I’ll be taking my multipitch exam next week– I can’t wait to climb Copenhill, and I am so thankful to have met such awesome people along the way! Biggest thing I learned from this experience– don’t be afraid to talk to local people, as they know where the best adventures are, and if you’re lucky, they might be willing to take you along for the ride!