Golden Fall in Ticino

During my last weeks of vacation in August and September I’ve been to quite a lot of different places. To escape the rainy and cold summer at home, I spent a few days in Arco with Tanja. We climbed some easier routes in the sun, we had some of the best pizza and ice cream and simply enjoyed the italian lifestyle.

arco-650x464 1jpg
In the end, I spontaneously ended up taking part at the Rockmaster Open Bouldering competition where I finished 8th place. I once more realized how much I dislike the boulder jam open mode but the problems where fun to climb and it was a nice experience nonetheless.

IMG_0135 2jpg

Foto: Eddie Fowke

I did some more rope climbing in Voralpsee, Gimmelwald and Vättis where I could climb Femme Fatale (7c).

We spent an extended weekend in Fontainebleau and I was overwhelmed by the incredible amount of problems, next time I’ll need to come prepared with a to-do list ;) I also made it out to Magic Wood for a few days but all of them rather moist if not even rainy and wet, so conditions weren’t exactly terrific.

With the start of university also came the beginning of my favorite season of the year. The crisp golden fall totally made up for the shitty summer we had in Switzerland. Still slightly too warm but sunny and dry, I couldn’t wait to head out to Ticino. I tried some new problems in Chironico and the last couple of weekends I finally got back to all my projects in Brione. I always love coming back to Brione, not only because of the many great climbs but there’s simply something magic and enthralling about this place.

One of my favorite problems is Black Mirror (6C), a really tall slab up in the meadow. I’ve tried it once before but just couldn’t reach the good crimp about halfway up the wall. After some more desperate attempts trying to reach it statically, Remo suggested I should try a more dynamic approach. At first I was a bit hesitant, not really believing it was possible to jump to it and a little scared of the big fall. Falling didn’t turn out to be a problem, we had tons of pads and the landing is perfectly even. So I finally dared to fully commit and surprisingly even came to high on the hold. I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to stick to it one-handed but maybe if I got it at the right spot next try? I climbed through the tricky start quite fluently by now and pretty soon I found myself in the exact same crouching position, ready to jump and this time hopefully staying on. Looking back I didn’t really expect it to happen but somehow everthing just fell into place and I hit the crimp perfectly. The topout is startingly high but thankfully rather easy and I found myself standing on top of the boulder shortly after, concededly quite pleased with my performance.

Black Mirror, Brione from nat on Vimeo

So off to my next project down at the river, the well-known Bachblock also known as Sonnenanbeter (7C). It’s one of the classics and definitely one of the best problems I know. The first time I’ve seen and tried it was more than three years ago on one of my first times climbing in the beautiful area of Brione. Going from not being able to do more than just the first move to being way to scared to even imagine topping out to finally sending it was extremly satisfying. It’s one of the many things I love about this sport, how a lot of tiny little progress can make things possible that seemed out of reach at first.

Foto: Matthias König
That left me with just one unfinished line which I’ve seriously tried over the last year and that’s a nameless 7B+ slab down at the river. I lost track of how many times I already fell at the very end and each time I get back on I think this is it. Every time I gain a few more millimeters yet I still can’t quite stand up and reach the top hold. The whole problem is very balancy and requires a lot of body awareness, it probably even holds some of the coolest and most unique moves I’ve ever done. I came back with my good friend Dama on a cold and windy day right before it got dark. Something was different this time, my fingertips would just stick to the wall and very catiously I could finally stand up completely. That left me really excited with just one more move to the lip. I hadn’t given a lot of thought about the very end and only yet noticed there weren’t too many footholds. I knew the lip was good and after a moment of hesitation I decided on the most simple solution and just pulled myself up over my arms. Happy to have finished most of my projects, I’m beyond psyched to try something new and work on some harder things.

Foto: Matthias König
To round it all off we went to Cresciano not for bouldering but for rope climbing. I haven’t been rope climbing on granite for quite a while and I definitely forgot how much fun it is. The routes I tried were rather bouldery and I was lucky enough to flash the beautiful classics W la figa (7b+) and Tequila party (7b+), plus M le donne (7c), my hardest flash ascent so far :) Thanks for the beta guys! I had my doubts when I first heard it but I must admit, Cresciano on a rope is just as good as with pads and I’ve only seen one of the many sectors so far, I’m definitely coming back! Now I just really hope for a good winter with no snow and perfect conditions in Ticino… :)

Foto: Markus Senn