Alphane Moon 8A in Chironico,
pic by Aldo Tonazzi

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Summertime Boulders

With 30° degrees down in the valleys or even above, you definitely have to go for other boulder destinations than the famous Ticino or other low areas. If you want to be able to climb at your limit you have no other choice than to go up to the high mountains of Switzerland. We have beautiful areas on 1500 meters altitude or even higher. Especially the boulders on the Sustenpass (about 1950m) with the Steingletscher-area on the other side or the Gotthardpass (Gottardo / above 2000m) are offering many nice and hard boulders for the summer months.  
If you’re lucky, you can have down to 10° for evening session on the colder days. But even if it’s 30° on 500 meters height you still have about 20° at the evening sessions. So still pretty nice conditions for bouldering. Sure… far away from perfect, but still pretty good. ;)
Luckily I spent the hottest days this summer in Malaysia and Singapore during my business trip. In these two weeks we had up to more than 35° degrees in Switzerland. All the other days when I was up to the mentioned areas I never had more than 20° degrees. Nice!!
Shortly before my trip to Asia I finished “Kill your Idols, 8A” at the Sustenpass. I’m not sure if I really did the original start-version from Markus Bock, but by hook or by crook it felt not much softer than “My Axis, 8A+” I did some days before. I also tried a super-low start-version… but this one felt more like 8B than 8A. I’m sure it would be possible… but that was not my goal.
On the same bloc I found a new project which definitely would be possible… but super hard I think. And very painful!! Who knows… probably next year or later on this autumn.
As well still before I had my flight to Asia, I visited the Gotthardpass for a last climbing day. In spite of the fact that I’m living quite close to this area, it was just about the third visit up there. I don’t’ know why…. probably because I had still a lot of work on the Sustenpass. Anyway… when I was up there I was able to flash “Breaking Back, 7C” which originally was graded 7C+… and I climbed “Caffé, croissant et gourmandize, 7C+” a nice new line half a meter left of “Breaking Back” with a really hard and far start-dyno from two bad holds. But the nicest thing was the fact, that we were a quite big bunch of friends and just enjoyed the climbing and the incredible nice scenery up there. I really forgot how pretty this place is…!!
The first day after my business trip, after almost three weeks without any climbing, I managed to climb the extension of “Caffé, croissant et gourmandise”… an 8A-version which was firstly climbed from Milton Pauletta, which had a very nice shape this summer and climbed several new hard lines at Gottardo. Unfortunately the line doesn’t get a name so far. You have to do the same start as for the 7C+… but don’t finish straight up… you have to traverse to the left for about 4 meters and finish over a delicate mantle. Not easy… the line is very pumpy with a hard start… a tricky middle-part and a delicate mantle-finish.

Some days later I climbed another new line from Milton… a nice prow called “Golden Power, 8A” which is in the same sector “Suworov” like the other boulders I mentioned. The big crux there is the start… a very far shoulder-move from a tiny left-hand crimp. Also the next hold which you get with your right hand is not the biggest one… ;)
After these days up at Gottardo I decided to have a look to the Steingletscher. Up there I’ve still some nice lines to do… especially “God save the Queen, 8A+”. Guntram Jörg just climbed that one some weeks ago. Now I thought to give it a try too. Up to now I was two days in the line. So far I was able to do every move expect one of them. Also this one should work… but it’s definitely a very hard one. The whole route feels pretty hard. There is a so much little hold in the crux that I’m almost not able to hold on this one for more than a few seconds.

the left-hand crux hold... a real bastard!

Anyway… I’ve to come back. The line is just a bummer and a good training for me to get stronger on such small crimps. But firstly I have to chill out a bit and get some power back. At the moment I´m feeling pretty tired…
HOPEFULLY the weather is not getting to cold! Now in September it can get snow on this altitude pretty fast. Already some weeks ago we got some snow down to about 1800m… but it just needed a few hours until the snow was gone. Now,  if it’s getting colder and colder day by day… it’s possible that the snow stays for a longer while…. probably until the next summer….!!! ;)
So if you have some open business up there the high mountains of Switzerland… HURRY UP!! 


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