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Home Travel Ticino, Spring 2010

Ticino, Spring 2010

Oh man, had I been looking forward to this trip! Words can't describe how anxious I was to finally get my fingers on some real rock again. I had been studying quite a lot for my last hard exam and some other non-climbing related projects kept me grounded for about two months.

When the day finally came, I packed my van and got ready to drive to Ticino where my friends Stefan and Kri had already been bouldering for 2 weeks. Just to make sure, I checked the weather real quick and I was shocked: they predicted rain for the entire next week! I quickly looked for alternatives, but even Fontainbleau looked about as rainy as the Frankenjura and any other bouldering area in Europe. So I decided to wait for a day or two with my departure.

Finally the forecast changed a bit and I thought I should slowly start moving west. A quick stop at the Maltatal in Carinthia was supposed to give my fingers a chance to get used to real rock again, but most of the problems were covered in snow which was melting at the time turning the whole area into a giant swamp. One of the few problems that was dry was Unterland, 8a+. Though it only took me a few tries to send the problem my skin was completely trashed... Thank god it was still raining in Ticino and there was some time for recovery.

After 1,5 days of heavy rain which we spent in the coffee shop at Cresciano the skies were finally clear and it was time to get something done!

Before my departure Stefan had told me that he got close on a really cool line called Conquistador, 8a+. This was now the first thing I got on this trip. Generally I would describe it was "not quite my kind of style" since I prefer steep and crimpy climbs to friction dependent compression problems but this piece of rock is so stunning and perfect that I spontaneously changed my preferences. Later on I should return to get rid of some unfinished business and do the first ascent of Conquistador Direkt.

In the meantime more friends showed up and we were a team of 6: Melanie, Simone, Stefan, Christoph, Kri and myself. Everyone was psyched about the cold temps and the good friction. The only problem was the snow that covered the boulders, melted during the day and made half the problems unclimbable.

One of the problems I've been wanting to get on for a long time was Serre moi fort but strong seepage made us wait for several days before we could make the holds dry enough by stuffing toilet paper into the thin cracks.

Here is a video of my solution. I am normally not to keen on discussing grades but in this case I really have to say that it felt harder than 8a. What was wrong with the old rating? I remember people used to call it 8a+, but who am I to judge...

Another problem that I heard about was Le vent nous porterĂ¡, 8a put up by Fred Nicole. Stefan had done it a few days before and kindly provided some good beta which made it possible for me to flash this classic. For those who want to see the flash attempt, click here.

One day I wondered around in the sector "Monolithe" and found a great looking boulder with a problem called Shakin' Stevens on it. The guidebook said that the sitstart was still a project, likely to be in the 8a-range, so I gave it a quick look. You can start at a thin flake and the hard part is getting your ass off the ground. I donno if I just fit into the moves really well, but it only took me 2 tries to get the problem done and therefore I think it's a bit easier than previously assumed. But, never the less: A great climb through a stunning smooth bulge!

And yes, great climbs... there are so many here in Ticino! Like, Senza Denti, 7c, Birds, a great 7c in the classic main sector of Chironico and many more. Even the less often climbed problems further down the slope like Waking in the desert, 7b are well worth a try! Who hasn't been here yet, come and see yourself. Grades don't matter too much - there is quality climbing for everyone here! (I'll also put a few videos of "easier stuff" in my gallery to proof it!)

Yep, it's true: Stefan and Kri enjoying a warmer sunny day doing a fun 6b+ in Cresciano (above) and Melanie pulling some jugs on the "Senza denti-boulder" in Chironcio. (below)

I actually discovered a possible hard project on the same boulder, so I am hoping to come back soon. Who knows, maybe I'll find time before next year...

There are a few more impressions of this trip in my image gallery-section. (Go to "Travel" >>> "Ticino 2010")


Umfrage: your vision!