Alphane Moon 8A in Chironico,
pic by Aldo Tonazzi

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Delusion of grandeur

About two weeks ago I started to work on „Delusion of grandeur, 8B”. It’s a beautiful line down in the 101-area… definitely one of the most aesthetic lines in Chironico. If I had to make a selection of the nicest looking lines in Chiro, this one would be one of them for sure.

Anyway… I like this boulder very much and I fit in perfectly. It’s my style… pretty athletic, quite long but homogenous, without ultra-small crimps but many slopers, some far moves and a delicate mantel at the top. Yeahh…!! ;)
Another reason why I like this boulder is the fact that this line is offering all kind of styles in one route. You start with some bodytension-moves and hooks in a roof, followed by a far dynamic move to the first sloper. Afterwards you have to do some more bodytension-moves hanging on this  sloper until you can go for the middle part… a traverse on a strongly decreasing ramp. After the traverse you have to do (already pretty tired) a long move to an ok hold followed by some “oldschool-climbing-moves” on good crimps up to the top (current position in the pic below). The last part then is the topout… a quite tricky mantel over the lip followed by a 6 or 7 meter slab. And… the line is not a super-highball, but still pretty high. The crux for me is the needed endurance due to the length of the boulder and the scary slab at the end.
picture by Nicolas Delaleu...

Up to now I was 4 days in this boulder. I started to work on it because I met Nicolas Delaleu some weeks ago, which told me that he is also interested in this line and had already started to work on it. Especially the fact that he was willing to invest some evening-sessions was the very first reason for this “cooperation”. Alone I had never started with this line…
So the first session in the line was together with Nicloas. I climbed and Nico took some pictures and told me his beta. Already this evening I felt pretty good and was able to climb all the sequences except the mantel, which I didn’t tried that evening.
Nicolas is an aspiring photographer and a very nice guy. Have a look to his homepage if you’re interested in some more info about him and his work.
The second and third day I was alone at the boulder. The goal was to improve my beta for all the sequences and put them together. The third evening I was already able to climb the whole line up to the top and therefore I decided to give it some real tries the next climbing day.
The problem is that you really need either enough pads (at least three big pads) or a spotter, which has to move the pads around. But because of the scary and not safe finish, it is highly recommended to have a spotter. So I asked some guys to come down to this line with me and give me a spot.
Luckily all of them were willing to do so and yesterday was the first day that I could go for an ascent. Big thanks to Nicolas again, which just arrived for spotting. He didn’t climbed because of his planned climbing today at “I portici, 8A+” in Osogna. This is real motivation and incredibly nice…!!!
The outcome of my session yesterday was, that I climbed up to the top again, tried the mantel… AAAAND lost the hook and fell down. I’m very happy with this… it was pretty close and could just as well work. It just showed me that it could happen every day. Want to go back soooooon….!!!
Afterwards I went for the mantel. The idea was, to do the whole mantel onto the slab and do the final few meters too.
BUT hey… do not laugh now!! ;)
I mantled up, stood there with the slab in front of me and a deep black void in my back, which threatened to suck me. FUUUUUCKED UP… I just lost all my confidence and readiness in this moment, despite of a spotter. It’s really crazy up there! The slab in front of you has NO holds. The position there is definitive not the highest one (about 4 up to 5 meters). The big crux is the unpredictable slab and the fact that the drop zone below you is pretty small and behind of this drop zone (it’s like a podium) it goes down for another 1 or 2 meters with following sloping terrain and some threes. Phuuuu… a scary chicken I was!! I was just able to go back down.
First of all I need to check out that moves up there on a rope. Really!!! Afterwards I will be able to give it some more tires… but just then. ;)





Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Short trip to Marocco

By end of January (24th to 29th) we made a short trip to Marrakech and surroundings. Our first real vacation without our two kids. Another reason why I didn't climbed much in the last time. ;)

I really can recommend to have a look to this famous city. Especially the "Medina" (old town) is an experience! All the local people are hanging around on the famous square "Jamaa el Fna" day by day. Especially in the evening, thousands of people are on the square. About 90% of all the people are locals from Marrakech itself and other Maroccans. The whole square is full of life, dozens of local artists, musicians and game organizers are entertaining the visitors. You've also dozens of different food-tents where the Maroccans go for dinner and all the small shops (Souks) are open until late evening.

The "Medina" is huge!! Full of alleyways with thousands of little shops and the typical Souks... you can easily get lost there. You've to be careful too with the local people. Every half an hour someone like to sell their hashhish. All the locals usually don't like to be photographed. Most of the sellers try to entice you in their shops. In every alley someone try so show you around or show you the right way back to your hotel or "Riad"... if you follow, you have to pay them afterwards. Everyone wants to pull the money out of your pocket... and many of them can be pretty aggressive. But latest after a day you're used to it and can take it easy.
It's an adventure...!! 

You feel around 500 years back and can experience an unique culture…! ;)

Some impressions:


Famous "Jamaa el Fna" in Marrakech during afternoon...

Same place, other view... bit later in the afternoon. But still nothing compared with late evening, when thousands of people are "on the road". 

Fresh orange juice... 

Food... or whatever it is... ;)
They're eating acorns like we're eating chestnuts (marrons)...
I prefer something else...

Uncountable shops... or better said "Souks".

another district in Marrakech (still in the "Medina")...
Maroccan bus stop...

This was from a one day trip to "Essaouira". An little old town by the sea...

no comment... :)


Monday, February 11, 2013

Chipping and other stories

Sorry to all the followers of my blog. My last entry is quite a long time ago. But there is a simple reason for that… I just didn’t climbed a lot in the last two months. Since mid of December until mid of January I was three or four days on the rock. Don’t know why… but my motivation was not the highest during this period. Anyway… a few weeks break or less climbing are important in a climbing-year and so I made use of this time with a lot of other important things in life. Family, recreation and other stuff was just more importantly. ;)

I‘ve just one thing I like to highlight from the past December. Shortly before „Komilator, 8A“ in Chironico was getting chipped, two friends of mine - Aldo Tonazzi and Heinz Betschart – made a quick ascent of this nice boulder. Nice to see how these two guys are getting stronger and stronger. Aldo managed to climb several 7C+ and some 8A’s in 2012 and also Heinz climbed some hard stuff including a first ascent of „Diabolik machine, 7C+“ at Gottardo and his first 8A with the ascent of Komilator. And he did not „just“ (sorry) the usual solution with the dyno to the huge jug, how most of the others are climbing this line… no, he climbed the whole thing without the border, the big hold and the sloper in front of this big hold. CONGRATS to both of them…!!

Aldo shortly before his ascent...
Heinz in action too...

But now to the bad part of this story. KOMILATOR IS CHIPPED… rest in peace…! :(
I’ve no idea how someone can do something! REALLY!!! The whole Ticino-connection was on the road and looked out for this guy… or these guys, who knows. They’re  just riding for a fall…!!!

But hey… I’m really interested in their thinking. Do they think they had climbed „Komilator, 8A“ now… after the line is chipped…????!!!!!???? As I got the information, this line probably 7b/7b+ now (with the big jug). Really strange! How is it possible that someone can be so stupid? Or WHY THE HELL is someone doing something? I’m just overexerted with this question.
I just like to beg everyone: Please do never ever such a stupid thing! Or do it never again!! There are other people around which like to climb such classic lines in their original condition… also in the future. You destroy a part of the bouldering history and it is not possible to undo… !!!! So please stop it and go cycling, if you’re not able to climb the lines in their original condition!!!

Mid of January I started to climb my usual two days a week and  had a look to two nice problems... „Walker on earth, 8A“ and „Miss Schweiz, 8A“. Especially Miss Schweiz is a real pearl and an impressive peace of rock…!!! Nice to tell that I made short work on both of them and climbed them the same evening. Sure… I tried them already some days before, but I managed to climb MS on the second and WOE on the third evening. Nice… it seems that I’m back in shape and the rare climbing and lot of eating during Christmas didn’t made me too lame. :)
Some pictures from "Miss Schweiz, 8A":

The beauty...!!

...and pretty high!