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Home News Newsflashes The Secret Passage

The Secret Passage

Why does it always rain on me? I really had to think of this song by Travis a lot when I arrived in Switzerland. (Also see Double Infraction, 8a+ flash). Rather than thinking of another song such as Go West by the Village People I rationally looked at the satellite image and decided to head south (instead of west) to escape the rain.

[Welcome to Ticino! Low clouds creating a gloomy atmosphere after our arrival.]

Chironico! Even though I was well aware that September is too early for Ticino it was the only place dry enough to even touch the rock. And, there are still plenty of amazing lines that I haven’t done yet. The first great problem I’ve wanted to try for a while is Second Life, a long climb crossing a large overhanging boulder, put up by Swiss legend Uely Gygax.

[Almost too good to be true - Second Life, 8b, in my opinion on of Ticino's best lines!]

Despite the temperatures being way too warm (25°C - as you can see on the video, I am climbing in shorts…) I agree with the original grade 8b. I know that someone once called it 8a/+, and I am sure it is IF you are really tall! Gygax, who put up many of Switzerland’s best 8a to 8b problems, calls it 8b and Day Koyamada - who I don’t need to talk - about calls it 8b, so the grade can’t be too wrong. Anyway, the line is probably among the best I have done in Swizzy and there’s no discussion about that!

[Switching from the right hand arête to the overhanging face in Second Life.]

[Same as above, just from another angle.]

[Either bring a chalkbag or pray for good friction as you approach the topout in Second Life.]

[Back in the van again. The sun didn't stick around for long.]

However, the heat didn’t stick around for long, instead it changed for rain again… Stumbling around in the wet forests of Chironico one sad foggy day I came across a hidden cave, crawled in and discovered a great looking line that seemed possible to me.

[Out of the dark: A hidden treasure has been discovered: The Secret Passage!]

After a thorough cleaning session that involved removing grass and soils from the topout, scraping off some lose flakes and rocks, brushing off lichen and preparing the landing zone I felt optimistic and was super excited to try the newly discovered treasure. This series of pictures will give you and impression of the moves. Of course, there is also a video that features the problem which I called The Secret Passage in the end. Here's the video.

[Lift off! The problem starts with a perfect sidepull for the right hand and a decent sloper for the left.]

[The some hip flexibility sure helps to place the heelhook and launch for a good intermediate crimp.]

[Making a stupid face but sticking the next big move to a perfectly shaped sloper.]

[The somebody tension is required to move the feet over and establish for the finish.]

[Looks worse than it is: There’s no bad mantle at the end but a juggy surprise after these 2 slopers… Simply great!]

To sum it up: It’s been a pleasure developing something new in this well established area! Come and check it out! The Secret Passage can be found at the following GPS coordinates: N46 25.895 E8 50.917.

Grade? Something around 8a, maybe a bit easier. But the grade 8a usually attracts a lot of climbers, so time will tell ;-)

By the way, the Passage is really close to another fun climb that stays fairly dry: Well the Wellness, 7c+. Not an easy one for the grade, but supercool climbing for those who like it steep! Check out the pics and a short video of the send!

[Almost as steep as Witness the Fitness, but a lot easier: Well the Wellness, 7c+]

[Powerful moves on decent crimps in Well the Wellness, 7c+]

[The last hard move on Well the Wellness, 7c+. Nice line on a cool looking formation!]


PS: Building a nice landing zone is a great thing to do on a rest day. And it sure helps the community. So, if you don't know what to do while the skin on your fingertips is slowly recovering, pick up a rock and put it where it makes sense.

[Not only important for hard projects: Me filling up a nasty gap in the sector Paese, Chironico]



Umfrage: your vision!