Since my last post we’ve spent several climbing days at the three main bouldering spots in Ticino: Cresciano, Chironico, and Brione. We were lucky enough to have a couple days cold enough to climb at Cresciano which is the lowest elevation of the three.
It’s a beautiful area with amazing granite. I climbed two 7c’s at Cresciano that are worth while, il Partner and Jungle Book. il Partner is a taller line with interesting movement up high.
Jungle Book isn’t as tall but all the moves are really fun and utilize cool holds on perfect granite. I wasn’t too inspired by any of the 8a or 8a+’s that I saw at Cresciano which I guess is lucky since it’s way too hot to climb there now.
I’ve spent one day climbing at Brione so far which is up near a really cool mountain village of the same name. It is probably the smallest area of the three but it makes up for size with quality. It’s a bit more out of the way than Chironico or Cresciano so you don’t hear the roar of the autoroute several hundred meters below you in the valley. The views from Brione are amazing.
We climbed on nothing but classics our first day, starting with a perfect arete warm up (photo above and below).
Followed up with a classic highball slab called Black Mirror:
We finished up the day on Molunk which is one of the best 7c’s I’ve ever done. I’m of the opinion that the Molunk boulder has some of the best granite in the world. The holds are smooth, friendly, and fun to climb on. We shot some video so hopefully we’ll be able to share that with you soon.
I also worked on Vecchio Leone which is an amazing 8b put up by Bernd Zangerl which was featured in Memento and Dosage III. I did all the moves except for the last one which is the crux. I was close to sticking it so I’m amped to get back on it at some point. There are a few cool looking 8a’s at Brione that I’m keen to try such as Fake Pamplemousse and Frogger. However, the most intriguing of the bunch is Cellar Door which looks to have some cool moves and has a rather spicy finish due to three things: it’s tall, there are rocks in the landing, and most importantly it climbs over an old rock wall. If you blow the last couple of moves to the lip your legs are likely to land on the rock wall initiating your body into a backwards rotation sending you headfirst into the rocks below! Yup I’m psyched.
Chironico might be the best area of the bunch. It’s north of Belinzona by 30 km and it sits at around 700 meters. There are lots of rad lines to be done here and we’ve only seen half of the area. I had one session on Freak Brothers 8a+ which is an amazing line. I didn’t do the crux moves but I’m psyched to go back and put in some more effort. It has turned hot this week so we’re trying to climb mostly in the evenings after the sun dips below the mountains.
One cool aspect of spending a lot of time at a new area is that you have plenty of options for projects to spend your time on. It’s not as if there is only one or two hard problems to work on. There are dozens of them so you can choose the one that suits your style or the one that gets you psyched the most. In Ticino for example, there are loads of 8a’s, 8a+’s, and 8b’s. Many of them are uninspiring to me, such as Extreme Ironing, La Pelle, Dr Pinch, etc. They are either too short, too sharp, don’t top out, etc. Luckily there are amazing lines such as Freak Brothers and Vecchia Leone and many others that really inspire me to put in the time and effort to send!
Overall I’m really impressed with the bouldering in Switzerland. I like it more than Fontainebleau and I wish we had come a bit sooner for the cooler temps. The rock here is spectacular, the views are majestic, and there are lots and lots of hard boulder problems to choose from. Hopefully I can send a few before it gets even hotter!