Missing translation for header.skipToContent

Climbing adventure
in Croatia with
Matilda Söderlund


Breathe in, breathe out. My heart is pounding and my forearms are burning. I’m trying to recover the best I can. I’m 200 m up on the massive and steep head wall of Anica Kuk in Paklenica National Park in Croatia. This is it, the next section coming up is the hardest part of the whole wall. I move my feet and place my left hand on a razor edge thin hold, right foot up to a tiny foothold and and set off to a micro sized knob for the right hand. I catch the tiny hold with two fingers and somehow manage to stay on the wall. I climb up through the next section of holds. I had passed the crux section of the hardest part, the 8c pitch, of “Spomin” (8c, 350 m). I’m never letting go now. I execute the moves to the anchor in a state of flow and clip the anchors. What a feeling!


In the spring of 2023 I spent a month climbing in Paklenica National Park in Croatia. Its towering cliffs, soaring up to 400 meters, with lush, untamed nature, is one of the most breathtaking and impressive places I have ever visited. It was a truly memorable trip, but not everything went according to plan…

After climbing “Rayu” (8c, 610 m) in September 2022 I started looking for another big wall to climb. As I delved into my research, I stumbled upon a video featuring the legendary climber, Adam Ondra. Picture this: a steep, awe-inspiring multi-pitch route nestled in the enchanting landscapes of Croatia. The route is called "Spomin," a true king line soaring 350 meters up the majestic Anica Kuk in Paklenica National Park. With pitches reaching up to 8c, including a mind-boggling 8b+ pitch in an overhanging dihedral and two 8a+ pitches, "Spomin", first free climbed by slovenian climber Luca Krajnc, proudly claimed its throne as one of Europe's most challenging multi-pitch routes.

I invited one of my best friends and partner in crime, Sasha DiGiulian from the US, to come try Spomin with me. Our friendship goes all the way back to our teenage years, competing at the World Cup circuit, and we also climbed “Rayu” together. We were so excited to take on this next project together and had planned it for months. However, just before leaving for Croatia Sasha injured her finger. I was devastated for her! It also meant that I had no climbing partner for the project. With everything booked for the trip I decided to make it out to Croatia anyways. My ambition to climb “Spomin” was low though, and I thought maybe I could find a local climber to do a bit of climbing at least. 

The day before leaving Sweden I did a final training session at my gym in Stockholm, Moumo. It was a strange feeling not knowing what to expect in Croatia or even if I would be able to find someone to climb with, with all the training I had done in preparation to climb Spomin. On this day, Swedish west coast climber and crusher, Hampus, visited Moumo. We started talking and jokingly I asked if he’d like to come to Croatia to try “Spomin” with me. Believe it or not, but Hampus was in! Miraculously I had found a climbing partner and two weeks later we were up on the wall on “Spomin” and we got straight to work. 

Being up on the massive wall was an incredible feeling. The wall boasted a daunting 30-degree overhang, providing a perfect mix of technical and physical climbing on impeccable limestone. However, the weather in the park proved to be a challenge. We constantly battled storms with heavy rain. Our days of good weather were often limited to 2-3 days before the next storm rolled in. Surprisingly, we discovered that the wall's significant overhang allowed us to work the 8c and 8b+ pitches even in pouring rain - crazy! Once we figured out our beta and got a window of good weather, Hampus swiftly sent the 8c pitch, and I managed to do the same after a few attempts. Then the next obstacle hit us as I got sick with a high fever… 

We were nearing the end of our trip, yet two significant pitches remained unfinished: the demanding 8b+ pitch and the final 8a+ pitch. I was recovering from the infection, but my body still felt weak and tired.


Despite this, we made the decision to venture out to the route and try the last pitches. Just reaching the starting point of the 8b+ involved jumaring around 200 meters (using ascenders on a static rope). As I made my way up, my body ached, and I struggled to catch my breath. I had to do multiple pauses along the way. As I started climbing on the 8b+, I gathered my last powers and just focused on the next move. Somehow I managed to keep climbing and found myself on the top of the 8b+ pitch! The following and last day we finished off the rest of the pitches and topped out on Anica Kuk. Eventhough things didn't go the way I had planned and hoped for it still felt like a win to stand on top of the summit! I hope to return and send the whole 350 m route in one day later this year. To be continued… 


ROC Spitz Mid Hood