Alphane Moon 8A in Chironico,
pic by Aldo Tonazzi

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Hello again

Ohhh man... it's almost 4 months ago since my last entry to this blog. The time is running so fast, it's just crazy...!! :)

Many things happened in the last months. Friends got married, other friends got pregnant, my girlfriend was godmother, I have a new job since three months and these are just the highlights. You see... time is running and life is running even faster. ;)

But thats not all. I feel that things are changing. Priorities change... time itself is valuable and rare! I like it... no question. But I really feel that i'm getting older and slowly but steady set new standards in life.

Don't worry... I don't finish climbing. I just love it too much!!! ;o)
I'm still motivated as years ago. Fortunately, I'm still able to improve myself... and this with 36. Why the hell I should finish something I'm loving that much? ;)

On the contrary... I'm really happy at the moment! I like my new job very much and I'm really glad that I can cut the old braid. I worked there for seven years and that was enough. I think that I've found the right job for me... a new challenge with very nice people. Hopefully something for the next seven years, or even more. We will see...
Also my two boys are getting older and older. Lien is 3 and a half years now and Inea is two. If I arrive at home after work, then there's only one... Papa here... Papa there... playing, romping, fighting... a real pleasure. :)
Yes... life can go on as it is! :)

But I've also climbed in this time... at least more or less... and was able to finish some projects. Let's give a short summary.

At Sustenpass I don't climbed many things... but I was able to complete the whole "Marakesch"-boulder. There are a few 8A's on it and I was also able to put up some new lines or combinations.
First of all there is now "Pini Pincher, 7C". A really nice version of "Marakesch-Variante, 8A"... but after the first hard moves over some pinchers you have to go straight up over some more pinchers. A really nice Version, which was umclimbed so far. I'm wondering... but as I know it was never climbed before.
Next one was a combination of "Marakesch, 8A" and "All I had I gave, 8A". I'm not sure if I climbed "All I had I gave" the right way... but after some repeats from friends we all agreed that this one is not easier than "Marakesch" and the new combination combines the cruxes of both. The new line "All I gave I had from Marakesch, 8A+" s probably not the hardest 8A+... but we think that it deserves the grade.
Last but not least I worked and almost climbed an even harder version... I'm not sure if it will be a hard 8A+ then, or even an 8B. For sure it will give one of the harder testpieces at the Sustenpass. The next summer will come...

Next was Wassen... Giuliano Cameroni opened a beautiful new line there which is called "The Mentalist, 7C+", with a huge dyno as the crux. He assessed the line originally with 8A+... but after I did short work on it (third try) we agreed on 7C+. Next was a possible sit start version, which adds five moves. Especially the first move is extremely hard. I think that the first part is even harder than the upper part "The Mentalist"... just these moves will be 8A or 8A+. Unfortunately I never had a perfect and dry day there and therefore it is hard to rate it. If everything comes together, this first move can suddenly work fine. We will see... :)
Because of these humid days I had to try other things than this low start version. The problem was that the important start-hold was mostly wet. Therefore I tried "Sur le fil stand, 8A"... the standstart of THE Fred Nicole testpiece in this area. The sitstart is 8B+... and the standstart is called to be 8A. I did it quite fast... the first day it was just too humid and the second day it had much better conditions and the holds sticked as the should.
It is not the hardest 8A I think... but a really nice one. Go and try it... worth it!
The sitstart I worked also a bit and it looked quite well. Surprisingly!! But because of some pain in my left knee since the uncountable tries in "Marakesch" and all the other versions... I had to stop my tries on that one. :(

I think that's it so far for the northern side of Switzerland... next was TICINO. Ohh yesss... I love it. Still many things to do and alway worth the long way.

Down there I was able to climb "Bridge over troubled waters, 7C+", "Soilwork, 8A+" and "Dr. Jump, 8A+". "Dr. Jump" felt pretty soft and I'm not sure if this line is that hard. I'm really wondering that everyone is giving 8A+... even if many people are calling is soft. But anyway... it's a funny dyno and definitely harder if you're not the tallest guy. 

myself in "Soilwork, 8A+" in Chironico...

But I've also started some new projects... for example "Baby mammoth, 8B", which definitely should work. The problem is the dropzone... you need either enough pads, or someone which is changing their position.

The last things I started were "Deliverance, 8A+", which has a brutal start move from a fucking tiny crimp, "No Mystery, 8A+" and "Schule des Lebens, 8B", after the broken start hold.
"Deliverance" is working pretty well... it's just a matter of a few tries I think. But firstly I had to adapt to that hard first move for two days... now it looks quite well.
"No Mystery" and "Schule des Lebens" are working really good with the exception of the first move too. This dyno feels extremely at my limit... but i'm also not the largest one. It should work... I reach the hold, but am still unable to hold on.

The last climbing day was Christmas the 24th. Strong wind ("Föhn") and 15°C on northern Switzerland offered perfect conditions. We went to Blattiswald, which is just a 15 minutes drive from my home town. A small but nice little area, which offers some good lines of moderate difficulties. The hardest line there is an old testpiece from Fed Nicole, which is called "Blindflug, 8A". I wanted to try it since MANY years... but never went there. I'm not sure if this beautiful line ever got a 2nd ascent... but at least now it got one more...!! ;)

Aldo in "Blindflug, 8A"... an old Fred Nicole testpiece at Blattiswald.

I've made some nice vids from some ascents... the nicest ones are these two:

Soilwork, 8A+

Blindflug, 8A


Monday, September 2, 2013

"Reykyavik low, 8B" - First Ascent

O man... a long battle has finally found its end. Over the last two summer-seasons I went up to this bloc for uncoutable days. Altogether it took me 18 up to 20 days to finish this low start version to the original "Reykyavik, 8A+/8B".  I wrote already so many words about this battle, I don't like to lose too much words again. Just something:

Unbelievable how many days it took after my ascent of the original line. After the first two or three days in the low-start and the solution found, I thought that it will be a matter of a few more days or even a few tries. But the presence tells a different story. ;)

It was an extreme fight to link all the moves together. Nonetheless I think that I have made myself quite clumsy. But anyway... this low start is definitely significantly more difficult as the the original and therefore I put it as a safe 8B or even a hard one. Would be nice to get a feedback soon. I'm sure there are many guys out there, which are able to climb that beast a little bit faster than me!! ;o)

Short movie of the FA...:

Reykyavik low, 8B

the low start holds... the sloper above is the left-hand start hold of the original line.

the first crux-move... i's hard to do not loose your feets. 


Thursday, August 22, 2013

Rocklands 2013

Our three weeks trip to the Rocklands is history... unfortunately!! We had an awesome time down in South Africa, met many nice people, enjoyed day after day the breathtaking scenery and were able to climb a few nice lines. Only time went by too fast!

Nonetheless both of us (Aldo and me) went back home with a big smile. Not just because of the great satisfaction after this holiday... but mainly because we were able to close our loved ones in our arms again. Especially for me it was a loooong time. Martina left Switzerland already in June to go down to Croatia with our two boys. Therefore I haven't seen them for over two months. A really long time...!! Accordingly, I was very happy to see my family again. :)
But what about the Rocklands?
As already wrote in the previous entry, my last trip to the Rocklands is eight years back. It feels like a century!! In 2005/2006, when Paul and me was on our "around the world-trip", South Africa was the one destination, which remained to us as the most beautiful and memorable in memory. Accordingly, I was very excited to return to this place. Sure... I knew that it would not be the same "Rocklands" as back in 2005. But this had no negative impact on my anticipation. I just loved it too much!!

The landscape is the same as years ago. The same beautiful scenery, the same grey-orange sandstone-boulders. Even Clanwilliam, the little town in this area is looking almost the same as 8 years back. Just the "Spar" is bigger today and the road over the Pakhuis-pass is not a dirt road anymore, but an asphalt road... what makes the ride over the pass much faster and more comfortable. Everything else was just like in my memory.
As we drove up to the pass on our arrival, I almost went crazy. As soon as I saw the orange boulders, I was happy as a little child. I just could not wait to finally get this sandstone back into my fingers! But we had other things to do first. It was already after 8pm and we had a 25 hours travel in our bones. First of all we had to go to the "Alpha Excelsior Guest Farm" to get our room, have dinner and to go to sleep.

The next day then we went back to Clanwilliam to buy some food and go for lunch at "Nancy's Tea Room". This is a little but very nice restaurant where you get the best sandwiches you can imagine. Still... I have to say. Already 8 years back we went several times to "Nancy's Tea Room" and always enjoyed the nice food there. Afterwards we went for our first boulders at the pass itself. What a pleasure...!!! ;)
However, there are also a few unsightly developments... especially the many people! The Rocklands completely changed to a mainstream boulder destination. As we were there in 2005, we were almost alone and it was a real adventure. Today you have hundreds of climbers there, a pretty big new campsite and many new houses for rent. Especially at the "old" classic areas like the "Roadside" and others you will never be for yourself. On the contrary ... some boulders are FULL of people. Sure, this was to be expected… but I do not like this.

However, I have to say that we never have seen garbage lying around. Unexpectedly… because of a few negative reports... but luckily! It seems that the climbers take considerate and not simply throw away their garbage or to have improved significantly. 

And what about the climbing?

Hmmmm… 8 years back I was able to push my limits in the Rocklands. This time I did not even get close to my personal best. But not just me… also Aldo was not able to succeed. Sure… both of us climbed some hard lines… but far away from pushing limits.
There was something like a learning curve during this trip… I realized that I’m getting old…!!!! ;o)

At home I just climb twice a week… rarely three times per week. I work full time and have a family with two children at home. There is not more space for climbing. However, that does not matter. With my age of 36 this two climbing days per week are offering enough rest days to be fresh at every day when I go out for climbing. I really need that… especially when I climb at my limit. In the Rocklands now we climbed more or less every second day… sometimes even two or three days in a row. Accordingly, tired and somewhat exhausted we felt on many days. I’m… or we’re not 20 anymore. I really can feel that the body needs some days rest to fully recover.

Both of us needed some time to get used to the higher load and the style itself. The bouldering in the Rocklands is very athletically. Many roofs and mostly overhanging climbing with far moves on usually quite good holds. I’m not the hardcore-crimper… but here the holds are more or less never a problem, but the athletic climbing loads the muscles and the body strongly. I like that style, but the body needs some time to get used to it.
The first two weeks we haven’t climbed many hard lines… but after these two weeks we felt better day by day and in the last week we felt that it would be much more possible with some more time down here.

Another aspect is that especially the very hard lines (7C+ and above) are mostly dependent on one or two very long or even often dynamic moves. It’s really fun to climb these things… but these moves are always a bit depending on size and coordination and they need a bit of luck. Especially the dynos. You never know if you have to try them for just a few times or for several days. Especially I made the mistake to almost exclusively try such lines in the beginning. After some time I realized that mistake and focused more on homogenous lines with less dynos… with success. In the last week I climbed “Witness the sickness, 8A” and “The shallow cave, 8A” quite easily… both at the second day after just a few tries. Also “Golden Virginia, 8A”, which I climbed in the first week and which does not have one far move, I climbed in a few tries.

I was pretty close at some harder boulders and with some more time I’m sure I would have been able to climb that stuff at my personal limit… but not in just three weeks. There were simply too many things we wanted to check out and too many areas to have a look on. It’s simply not possible to projecting some really hard stuff in this short time frame.
If I alone look at the performance, it was at least a super “training camp” in the end… and I already felt the positive influence the first climbing day back home in my local projects. ;)  

Anyway… in the end it is not about the numbers. It’s all about the fun, the fantastic experience we made, the beautiful landscape and the nice people we met. Thanks to all of you… we had a fantastic trip and enjoyed every minute in South Africa. Who knows… maybe I’ll come back again someday. That would be nice! But for now I’ve many other projects at home and I’m also happy to be back here at our lovely areas up in the mountains...!!! ;o)

Some impressions:

Beautiful arrivel in South Africa...

our house...

and environment...
surrounded by mountains... in front you see the new campsite area.
other view from Pakhuis pass to the same aera...

our little car... i'm really wondering how we was able to put all our stuff into it...!!! ;)

Aldo in "Black labour, 7B+"...

and in "Golden Virginia, 8A"...

the view out of the "Madiba-cave"...

and in front of the cave... before sunset.

no comment... :)

nature pure...



we also saw leopard tracks, baboons, snakes, giant beetles...

and flamingos...
after a day trip to the seaside...

with some nice slovenian guys (Jernej Kruder and Miha Hribar)...

... :)

Krudi in "El Corazon, 8B"... was extremely close, but fell on the last move.

Miha in "Witness the sickness, 8A"... congrats!!

myself in "Barracuda, 8A"... but was too tired that evening.

my right hand after some good looking tries at "Flying guitar thief, 8A+"...

just beautiful...

... :)
on the way to the pass...

the pass itself with his millions of boulders...
the road down to Clanwilliam...



Tuesday, July 9, 2013

The last days

Phuuu... it's going fast now. In less than two weeks I will be back in the Rocklands. Yesss!! :)
I'm really excitet and I'm wondering, how it looks like down there in the meantime. Sure... the boulders are the same. I assume that it hasn't rained new boulders since then in 2005. :)

Oh man... it's quite a long time ago and many things have changed! In 2005 we had still lived on the old campground. As we arrived there on a weekend in August, we were just a few people there. I don't remember exactly how many... but definitely not more than 6 or 7 people. During the weeks we were almost alone up there. Just two french guys, Marc Momet and Fred Sansoz (Liv's brother) stayed at the campsite with us... the whole three weeks. What a great time we had!! So funny!
From time to time we met three Turkish girls, which slept in one of the pakhuises, but that was it for now!! It was a real adventure out there. However, I think that's history. Today it is a huge rush to the Rocklands and we will not have the same experience as eight years ago. But anyway... it will be awesome! ;)

Some impressions from 2005:

Almost alone...

Fred enjoys the scenery...

Wild life... :)

...and some climbing too...

We will be back soon...!! :)

So I didn't climbed much the last days and I will not do much more the next two weeks. I want to be completely recovered when I arrive in South Africa.

But I was not quite idly. Last week I climbed two lines at the Sustenpass. The first one was "Fred's, 8A+", which I almost climbed the first day I tried it. But it was at the end of a long and hard bouldersession and therefore I was not able to finish it up.
The second day then i just needed a short warmup and after the first real try I stood on the top. Felt pretty soft for 8A+... but it is definitely my style. It's hard to rate anything, which fit's me perfectly. But no matter...

The same evening I changed to Martin's big "Highlander-project" at the Traumland-bloc and tried the first part of it. It's a traverse to the left into "Traumland, 8A". I came pretty close, but had not enough power left.
Three days later I went up to the Sustenpass again, despite of some little risk for rain. When I arrived, everything was in dense fog and some holds on the bloc were still wet from the rain the two days before. One of the holds of the traverse I had to dry... otherwise the traverse would not be possible. At least with my solution. But it worked well and some attemps later I reached the startholds of "Traumland"... even if completely destroyed.

Cool... two nice problems before my trip to the Rocklands. And both with very little effort. The shape should be good... the Rocklands can come...!!! ;o))


Wednesday, June 19, 2013

I LOVE IT...!!!

The last days we'd over 30°C. On Moday and Thuesday about 35°C and today at least a bit lower. Crazy... just some days ago we still had 15°C and some weeks ago still some snow!!!!! ;)

Anyway... in most of the popular spots you just can't climb in these conditions and therefore I had to watch for an alternative area. Totally clear that I had to have a look to my other project on the Sustenpass: "Reykyavik low". In the meantime the barrier is open and it is possible to drive up to the "Sustenbrüggli", where most of the boulders are located. The pass itself is still closed and accordingly there is no traffic up there. Just you, the rock, the calm and the splendid ambience.

As I arrived up there it was 19°C (15°C as I leaved). Just some other cars parked there and a few people sat in the restaurant Sustenbrüggli. There is still quite some snow around... but most of the boulders are climbable.
Firstly I walked down to boulder without any pads... armed only with a shovel. I wanted to check first, if some work for the dropzone is needed. And it was... not much, but I had to shovel a bit as a warmup. Luckily "Reykyavik low" is on the southern side of the boulder. The side to the north was still deep in the snow and no lines on this side would have been possible. Afterwards I went back to the car and picked up the pads and everything else I needed.

Just the sunny southern side is free of snow...
Some warmup first... ;)

Back at the boulder I arranged everything and sat down... just to enjoy the scenery a little. I really love it up here...!!! Especially in such nice conditions, when no other people are here, the blue sky above you, the setting sun, which puts a golden light over the surrounded mountains... you can't hear anything... no cars, no voices, just the wind and your breath.
In these moments I like to be alone. For me it's sometimes not just the sportive challange when I go bouldering. Such moments give me a lot more!! They will take you back to your center and ground yourself. I would never want to miss such moments.

Beautiful scenery... firstly in a golden and later on in a deep blue light.
I LIKE....

Later on I started to warmup. Because of the snow I had no other option to warmup than on "Reykyavik, 8A+/8B" itself. Some goes... some breaks... a few sips of an ice-cooled beer... and an hour later I repeated the original line quite easily. CRAZY!! Totally unexpected. I just wanted to check out the moves a bit to get used to the moves again. But it worked pretty well and I was even able to reposition my left hand hanging in the badest crimp in the whole line, what was absolutely impossible the last year. Unbelievable!!

"Prost Mahlzeit!!"... with an ice-cooled beer. ;)

Half an hour later I started at the "low-start" and checked out these moves. But the first hard move was simply not possible. I took a few more tries, felt some little pain in a muscle of my left arm and finished for the day, just to do not take any risk for any rupture. I would have been highly motivated, but had to stop myself not to pull too hard.

I'm really happy with this start into the Susten-season. Who knows... probably some more good FA-news will follow in the next days. ;)


Friday, June 14, 2013

Murgtal Boulders

Hi all,

In the past two years many new lines were added to Murgtal. Not just by myself. Yesterday I got a topo from Adrian Waibel and was asked to publish it in my blog. Sure... I will!!

Thanks a lot guys for your work and the ever growing number of new boulders at Murgtal.

Adrian's words:

"Hello fellow Murgtal boulderers,
Over the last few weeks my friends and I cleaned and freed the big boulder 50m right of the Love & Pain boulder (exact coordinates in the topo) and added 10 cool new lines to the ever growing number of problems there. To the best of our knowledge, they were all first ascents. (Except maybe the slab since we discovered an old piton for top-roping on top).
We hope you enjoy these new additions and are awaiting your feedback on grades and what not.
Cheers, Adrian"

EDIT:Some of the boulders seem to have a wrong grading (they're easier). An updated topo will follow soon.


Thursday, June 13, 2013

Charon's Obolus


After about 13 days this year and a few days last year the hard work in this new line at the "Love & Pain bloc" in Murgtal have finally paid off. Several days I was really close and fell at the last moves. But there were also some days, were nothing worked and I was just not able to even do or link the first crux-moves. It ended in a similar fight like the last year with my uncountable tries in "Reykyavik low" (still a project)... but this time with a fruitful end. I'm pretty sure that I'm not in my best shape at the moment and that it could be possible, to do this line faster. I was already close the last year... but in the end it went into a huge battle against "Charon" and myself. I'm very happy to add such an epic line to this area. It's not the nicest boulder... but the line itself with his ingenious moves is a pleasure to climb and real testpiece.

myself in the first crux-moves of "Charon's Obolus, 8B"... pic by Aldo Tonazzi.

The line starts at "Painful love, 7b+", traverses  to the left on small crimps and slopy holds until the quite big side-hold in the middle of the overhanging wall. The finish goes over the small crimps from "No pain no gain, 7B/7B+" to the very left of the boulder.

To the name:
Charon, in Greek mythology, the son of Erebus (darkness) and Nyx (Night), whose duty it was to ferry over the Rivers Styx and Acheron those souls of the deceased who had received the rites of burial. In payment he received the coin (Obolus) that was placed in the mouth of the corpse.


I'm not sure if the line deserves 8B. But the many days I've spent and the comparison to other 8B's I've climbed, i really think that this boulder is harder than all the others (including "Delusion" this spring, which I made much faster and definitely felt easier). But who knows... I would not be surprised, if one of the STRONG guys out there is doing it in a few tries. Would be nice to get some feedback!

A short movie Iv'e recorded will follow soon (added tho this entry).

Charon's Obolus, 8B

A happy Daddy :)

Friday, May 3, 2013


Just as an info:
Murgtal has now really started. The barrier is open since a few days. On Monday this week the barrier was still closed... but on Wednesday it was possible to drive up to the lake.

Last Monday Aldo and myself went up to Murgtal, despite of some risk for rain. Luckily it stayed dry and we were able to start some new projects. Aldo wanted to have a look to my boulder "Sojus, 7C+" and myself wanted to have a look to another variant to Sojus, which was still unclimbed.
As I climbed "Sojus", I was not able to upload some pictures for this blog. Now I can give you some impressions of this boulder. ;)

Aldo is trying Sojus...

Same position, other view...

Myself before the last move up to the final jug (dyno)...

In the last picture you can see the final jug, quite a distance above the last holds. It is not possible to get it statically... you definitely have to jump!
This is also the reason for the name "Sojus". Sojus is a Russian carrier rocket and also for this last move you have to ignite the rocket. :)

While Aldo tried Sojus, I started to work on another variant to it. It is possible to start at "Chüngel, 7C", cross "Sex & the city, 6C+" and do then the final crux moves of "Sojus, 7C+". This start-variant has some more moves and feels a bit harder than the original start at Sex & the city. To get a comparison I did this version again, but the difference is not big and the new line could also be the same grade.

Anyway... a few attempts later I got the final jug and added "Taurus, 8A" as a new line to this nice boulder. Compared to other lines at Murgtal I think 8A is appropriate, but the future will show the truth.
Also Taurus is a carrier rocket... however, an American. ;)

red: "Taurus, 8A"
yellow: "Sojus, 7C+"