Mountain climbing is an integral part of Swedish outdoor life. The Right of Public Access permits you to climb all year round. However, there are certain aspects of mountain climbing that require you to show particular respect for animals and nature.
In the spring, birds nest on rock ledges and in crevices. In some cases, a minor disturbance could mean that a chick will not survive. So, it is important – and it is your obligation – to respect any restrictions.
If no restrictions are in place, you must still stop climbing if you hear any warning cries or other signs that nesting birds could be disturbed.
All climbers are responsible parties – responsibility varies
Individual climbers, mountain guides or a club may be considered to be responsible parties. However, this varies from case to case.
If, as an individual climber, you are planning to prepare a new routes and you believe you could substantially change the rock or the surrounding terrain then you are a responsible party and must contact the county board for a possible consultation before starting to climb.
However, if you are "just climbing" and using existing trails you do not have to report this as long as you abide by the Right of Public Access.
If you are uncertain, we would recommend that you contact your local county board. Then you can be sure that no problems arise after you have started climbing. You can also get support from the Swedish Climbing Federation (Svenska Klätterförbundet).
Clubs and organisers have a special responsibility
If you are a guide (representing a mountaineering club, responsible for information, creating a new route or similar), you must consider the following:
- Check to see whether there are any red-listed endangered species or breeding birds on the cliffs or in the surrounding terrain. Contact your local county administrative board for advice if you represent a mountaineering club
- Check to see whether the cliffs are located in an area with any restrictions regarding what is permitted (for example, in a Natura 2000 area or nature reserve). If they are, contact the county administrative board for information about the area
- Please ask any people living close to cliffs about the value the cliffs and surrounding nature hold for them
- Check with landowners whether you are permitted to climb
If, after reviewing the above points, you have any reason to believe that a new route, the climb itself or a planned activity could substantially affect the cliff and/or the surrounding terrain it is your responsibility under the Environmental Code (Chap. 12, Section 6) to contact your county board and check whether there is a need for a consultation. In other words, the landowner's permission is not enough.
Climbing rocks are unique
All activities and operations that have a material impact on the natural environment, i.e. whatever could cause lasting damage to or interfere with wildlife, plants or land – are subject to the consultation obligation under the Environmental Code.
Climbing as an activity is quite special because exceptional rock and climbing environments are fairly rare. However, such environments can contain both delicate and rare animal and plant species. This is why it's important for climbers to possess the skills that help prevent nature from being harmed.