Full Report by Ned Feehally (video at base of report):
I was last out in Switzerland in February and got really lucky with the weather. This convinced me that the weather would be perfect again for another 2 weeks in December so I got a trip sorted. I was feeling pretty strong (for me) but had not really climbed much on rock for ages and had no idea how I was climbing. Strength and ability to dispatch are 2 very different things...
Day 1 We stopped off in font for a day to break up the drive. Conditions were amazing and I went and finished off a couple of problems I had tried a few years ago. Ventricule Gauche 8a+ and Ventricule Droit 8a. Different sit starts into the same problem. I surprised myself by doing them in a couple of goes each. Good start to the trip it's hard to climb hard in font as there is so much to wrong. I left for Switzerland feeling pretty keen for some hard boulders.
Day 2 Bit of a drive
Day 3 First day! It was cold and crisp and everything was dry, winner. I did Serre Moi Forte 8a+ and Vent Nous Portera 8a at Chironico and then went on Boogalagga 8b for a brief night session. I felt pretty worked but made good progress. I could do the top steadily and was getting closer and closer to sticking the crux - an annoying dead-point to a pocket. It's a funny move, you pull on all scrunched up in a ball then throw an arm hopefully towards the pocket and see how many fingers go in. I seemed to get the distance every time but never quite grab it. Oh well.
Day 4 Rest day.
Day 6 Felt like I had been wrestling. Rest day.
Day 7 Back to Boogalagga 8b. Conditions down there were perfect but we only had a couple of hours before it got dark. Nalle was trying Big Paw (the sit start) so I got some useful beta off him, then after nearly doing it many times (too high, too far left, too fast, too slow etc..) I finally stuck the crux pocket move and rumbled to the top. Good boulder problem, but it's over a bit fast. I would love to get stuck into the sit start sometime but I left it for this trip as I had plenty of other stuff to do and I didn't want to spend my holiday sitting under one piece of rock.
Day 8 Another rest day.
Day 9 I wanted to try something easier and have a bit of a chilled day. I warmed up (a little bit) then pulled on Le Pilier 8a. From the ground it looked pretty simple and I thought I should try to flash it. Fortunately it was quite straight forward if a little crimpy and I did, despite trying really hard to fall off the top. We went over to another area to have a look at Delusions of Grandure 8b. I had a quick go on this and the arκte to the right, Kienfisch Klienfisch 8b and got the moves sorted but was too tired to link them so went home and ate a lot.
Day 11 Went on teamwork. It's a pretty cool wall on small crimps. Normally the climbing in Switzerland involves decent sized holds that are weirdly hard to use. Teamwork 8a involves tiny crimps in a straight line. I did it in a few goes, fortunately as it punishes the skin, then we headed back to Delusions 8b and Keinfisch klienfisch 8b. I had a good sequence on both of these problems from the day before and managed to do them both in a couple of goes. Good day.
Day 12 Rest
Day 13 We headed up to Brione for the day. It's a beautiful place and the rock is some of the best I have ever climbed on. First port of call was Pamplemousse 8a. This is an old Dave Graham problem on some incredible swirly rock. After a couple of pull ups and some arm windmills I jumped on. I got through the crux but fell off when I tried to grab a hold I imagined I saw. Doh. 2nd go I knew where I was going and finished it off.
Next up was Amber 8b. This is a cool little problem with some meaty shoulder moves and some bad slopers. I quickly did all the moves then remembered what I had heard it becomes hard when you try to link it. True that, it's quite long and although none of the moves are desperate they are all hard and it adds up. I got right to the end a few times but fluffed the last blind slap.
As usual in situations like this it's all about sitting back and having a long rest, even though all you want to do is jump on and finish it off. I sat back and cleaned the holds and let my hands cool down. After 10 minutes I got back on and busted it out. Good problem, good day, good end to the trip.
I am pretty keen to get back to Switzerland next year. Looking back at what I've written I think I should train some fitness. I never managed to climb more than 1 day on! Punter...
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