Alphane Moon 8A in Chironico,
pic by Aldo Tonazzi

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Adios Murgchachos

So... now it's slowly getting too warm at Murgtal. The last day I went there i had overt 20°C on the lower sectors. In the morning and up on the sector lake it was about 15°C. Ok for some climbing, but still far away from good conditions. I think I'll devote myself to new areas again until the fresh coolness returns to the "Valley of Murg".
On to the Sustenpass and surrounding areas...! ;)

Some days ago I managed to climb the new line "Minor part, 8A+". Even that day I had 20°C... but the line hiding between two big boulders and is the whole day in the shade. At least the rock was quite cold - not me ;) - so I could climb the line pretty quickly. Luckily...!! I would have not had enough power for a third attempt this day.

The next day then I had a look to "Flanagans, 8B".... but since days now it's coming too much water down the stream and it's not possible to cross it. But... it probably makes sense to wait for autumn anyway!!

What could I do otherwise? Sure... let's have a look for new lines!!!
Recently I noticed a boulder, i've never seen before. It's close to the sector lake... a wonderful high boulder which offers some good lines. The day I saw the boulder I just had a short look to it. But now it was time to put on the shoes. ;)

The boulder had already magnesia on the holds... therefore someone tried or did it already. I managed to climb two lines on it. "Dreamtheater, 7B+" and "Access denied, 7C". Both are highly recommended and very beautiful lines!!

Access denied, 7C (yellow)...  and Dreamtheater, 7B+ (red).

Later I saw that both lines have already been climbed... but not topped out. As I topped out them, I already thought that these were first ascents... just because of the fact, that I haven't seen any signs that someone was up there before. The forest facing side of the block is completely overgrown with moss and it is impossible to come down there, leaving no trace in the moss. Anyway... the topout makes sense and completes the lines, but it is not necessary (quite easy) and pretty high too.

Dreamtheater, 7B+

Have fun!!


Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Growing Murgtal - 2

Three weeks ago I was able to climb one of my favourite "must do"-boulders... "Bourguignon, 8B".
I really like this brute bodytension style!! ;) Since about two years I wanted to climb it... but either it was not possible to cross the stream (too much water), or I just had other projects. This year now the stream was already dry in spring, what's pretty unusual. Good for me ... so I could finally take the horse by the bridle and after four days it was also tamed. :)

Bourguignon, 8B

the first hard compression-move in Bourguignon...

The same evening I tried a new project in the back of "Bourguignon". I had already a look to this boulder some days ago... but now the boulder was completely cleaned. When I arrived a couple of guys just left the area. I'm pretty sure that these guys have cleaned the boulder. It would be interesting to know, if they've climbed something on it. There is no arrow or any other sign on the boulder.
Anyway... that evening we tried a sitstart, started with both hands at the low undercling. It is definitely possible to climb that thing. We did all the moves except one... so no success so far.

A few days later I had a look to Guntrams new boulder "Cosmic chaos, 8B/B+". It's kind of an extension to the existing "8A-shield" in one of the lower sectors. The idea to climb the whole shield is not new... I discussed this already last year with a friend of mine, but I never started to work on it. Now it's done and we got a beautiful new testpiece in Murgtal. Congrats GU...!!! Nice one!
I checked out all the moves, climbed all the different sequences and now I just have to go for it. It's not that hard... pretty long (about 18 moves), yess... and very steep... but also very homogeneous without extremely hard moves. A "must do", if it's in your reach!!!

Next "project" was a one week trip with my whole family to the "Gardasee" (lago di garda). My parents invited us (me, my two children, my girlfried and my sister with their children) for that vacation. MANY THANKS FOR THAT...!!!! We had a great time down in Italy and were lucky to have six days of perfect weather!!!

The week after we just had rain, rain, rain, more rain, still rain, rain and rain again...!! I think that was the worst week of the present year 2014. :( 
...did I already mention that it rained THE WHOLE week!!??!! ;)

Luckily it was over with the rain the week after and Murgtal started to dry. It was my first climbing-day after two weeks break and I went for the unknown line "John Rambo, 8A". It's an awesome boulder up a pretty steep edge. Despite (or because of!?) my break, I was able to make a "turbo-ascent" of this hidden pearl. 5 minutes warmup to check out the moves... 10 minutes break and then the ascent at my very first try from the sitstart. Cool...!!!! The shape seems to fit! :o)

John Rambo, 8A

hidden in the forest... John Rambo...

Next one was "Flanagans, 8B". There I met a couple from Austria with their nice little dog "Caramel". Forian worked on Flanagans with me and both of us had the same problem with the first very very hard tesion move with a hold for your left (shoulder) and the foothold far right. You're almost hanging horizontal in the wall... completely stretched... and have to push your body up to an undercling. It's possible for sure... but I'll need some days to get used to that brutal move. The rest would work...

Florian told me about a new line from Fabian Christof, which is close to my route "Taurus, 8A". The line is called "Minor part, 8A+"... a hard traverse with a crunchy crux in the middle. The rest is homogeneous... but always very exacting.
Yesterday I gave it some tries... but I had such strong muscle soreness from my attempts in "Flanagans" that I was just not able to hold on for more than 20 seconds. Especially my left forearm ached extremely!! After I longer warmup it went better... and at the end of my session I was able to do all the moves (I counted 28 of them!!!!) and climbed the line in two sequences. At least good prospect for the next day of climbing...!! But first of all I need a few days without any strain... just relax and recover!!!! ;)

You see... Murgtal is still growing... and that quite fast. "John Rambo, 8A" was already climbed in 2007... but nobody knowed it. New are "Cosmic Chaos, 8B", "Minor part, 8A+", "Big Ben right, 8A" from Gu too and two lines from an Austrian guy, which are called "Sumatra, 8A" and "Morene, 7C". Unfortunately I've no idea where these two lines are located... know that someone???


Friday, April 25, 2014

"Scarface, 7A" - FA

Some days ago I cleaned and climbed a new boulder in the Entlinge-sector. It's a really really NICE faceclimb (shield), comparable to Fred Nicole's testpiece "L'ombre du vent, 8A+"... just a few grades lower. ;)
The line is pretty high... but luckily the tricky moves are the very first ones and the last moves up and with the topout are quite easy.
I called the line "Scarface, 7A". It's somewhere between 6C and 7A+... no idea.

Scarface, 7A

vid-screeshot of my FA... 
beautiful shield... before I cleaned the topout. ;)


Thursday, April 10, 2014

Growing Murgtal

I really like this area!! There is so much potential for new lines... it's just incredible!! Only a small part of the Murgtal-forests are known and there are still dozens if not hundreds of boulders in this valley. Sure... the ones close to the streets are mostly known. But even close to streets are still many undone problems... especially further down the valley. If someone - like me - is looking for new unclimbed rock, then he is right here! So keep your eyes open and find new challenges all around this wonderful area!!! ;)

In recent months the forestry workers have cutted down hundreds of trees. Now you suddenly can see boulders, which were previously hidden in the dense forest. Additionally, you can move much better through the former thicket now. This I do not want to miss... so I made my way through the jungle and what I found left me amazed...!!
I found several pristine boulders which offers some wonderful lines. These must be there for centuries and are just waiting for their discovery.

The first problem I found was certainly not an unknown. Right of "Happy Housewives, 7C+" is a massive overhanging little wall , which seemed to be impossible first. I tried this line already last year, but did not found a good solution. This time I realized that there is a little stone in the crack, which I just can pull out of it. Without this small stone I got an appropriate little hold, where I can take for the previously impossible sequence. I did not chipped it.. that's something I really hate and NEVER would do. It was more or less the same as you pull dirt out of a crack. ;)
Anyway... now it works well and the new line makes a lot of fun to climb. I called it "Poseidon, 7C+" (probably 7C). I choosed this name because of the fact that the wall has the shape of a wave and you're kind of surfing along the lip of it.

Have a look to the short movie and you know what I mean. ;)

Poseiden, 7C+

The next one I found was a completely new boulder in  the "Entlinge sector". This boulder was not visible before... thanks again to the forestry workers! :) ...and now you can see it already from the road. It's just about 30 meters away. This boulder offers a few new lines.

New boulder in Murgtal...

An already done line is "Dr. Frost, 7C" (yellow)... a beautiful line along the "edge". You start sitting at the obvious big hold, go right to the edge and then along it up to the top. It's quite high and the dropzone is everything else than flat... so be careful... even if the topout itself is quite easy.

the crux... bring the left hand to the edge too.

To be able to climb and topout the boulder we had to clean it for about four hours... a big part of it with a rope. The first day together with Aldo... the edge itself and all the holds below the topout... and the second day I cleaned the whole top of the boulder with the rope. Quite a lot of work and pretty tiring!!

The second line is called "Würger, 7A+/7B" (orange). This one starts standing... the left hand at the overhanging edge (undercling) and the right one on a pretty high little crimp. Then you go dynamicly to a sloper on the left und mantle up there. The mantle was a real fight.... hence comes the name. ;)
There you have to be even more careful! Have a look the the overhanging "nose" there... a big part of it is completely cracked and for the mantle you're hanging completely on this part. It has definitely a few hundred kilos weight... and if it breaks off, you'll have a coarser problem!!!

The third line is still a project (red)... a pretty hard one! I would say it is at least 8B. I tried it already... but without success. The holds are really small and you have almost no footholds. Most of the moves I can do but the middle-sequence is impossible so far, or I just did not found the right beta for it.
Feel free to try it...


So then... let's see what other boulders I will excavate in the next weeks/months. There is still so much to do!! ;)


Friday, March 14, 2014

Kitty cat

Two days ago I went to Chironico... the first time this year. After many weeks of bouldering in the north, I was extremely motivated to climb some other things in another area.

My first intention was to have a look to "Roswell, 8A+" and "La Soucoupe, 8A+", which I tried already last year... but I had to stop my attempts because of my finger troubles. Now I wanted to check, if it works better... AND... if I can try this extremely steep roof with the small holds without any pain.
Hmmmm... I just tried it for about 15 minutes. I was not able to do any move on this boulder!! I felt super weak and I was not even able to lift my ass at the very first move, which I did all the time last year. Oooh MAN... totally frustrating...!!! ;o))

So I packed all my stuff and went down to the 101 sector to have a look to some completely new things.

"Cat on a hot thin roof low, 8A+" and "Electric ant, 8B" were my targets. On Martins blog Swizzybouldering I saw some pics of the "kitty boulder"... and it looked AWESOME. It has a very similar style to my "Imhotep, 8A" at Blattiswald. It's a pretty steep and very powerful bodytension-problem on quite small and slopy holds. YEEAAHHH... my style!

I started to work on it... but it felt superhard at the beginning. Especially the crux after the first hard moves felt impossible. So I took my smartphone, sent a short message to Martin and took my pad for some attempts in "Electric ant". Not 5 minutes later the phone buzzed already and I got the needed beta for the cat. Yess... thanks! That's an exemplary service...!!! :)
But now I sat on "Electric Ant" and tried to lift my ass at that boulder. Unfortunately, it looked no better than half an hour ago in "Roswell". This boulder starts at such a tiny little hold that a movement on that one simply looked impossible. After a few tries I was at least able to lift my ass... but the move itself didn't looked any better. Ok... let's try at least the much nicer and more logical higher start, which is called to be 8A+. A few tries later I grabbed the top of the boulder... but with just one pad, no spotter at the ground and some additional moves in front of me in 4 or 5 meters hight, I had no other option than to climb back down.
NICE... at least something for the next day, when I have some companions. :)

Back at the cat I tried Martins beta and after some attempts I had the crux behind me. COOL... it works... and it feels just great!!
After the initial setbacks in "Roswell", things were going better now.

Yesterday then my second day in Chironico and I went straight down to the "kitty cat". This boulder was THE ONE I had to try today. Luckily I had enough pads with me... for that boulder you need at least three big pads, if you're alone!

myself in the crux-moves...

My warmup was the traverse after the hard first moves and the 6C-finish with the topout (a boulder for itself). These parts are not the problem... with the exception of the topout. At the first tries I had no clue how to climb it. I almost went crazy on it... could it be!!??!! It's "just" a 6C... FUCKED UP!!! To cut the story short... it requires a little "trick". With that it is not so bad! ;)

Anyway... two hours later I was still busy with the crux and far away from  the topout. I was getting tired and really saw no more chances for an ascent. I told myself to have at least one last try... let's see what happens. AND... it happened... it happened very well... it happened extremely well... COOL... at the last try I fighted it to the end and "Cat on a hot thin roof low, 8A+" got his second ascent.

the whole "kitty cat"...

Cat on a hot thin roof low, 8A+


Tuesday, March 4, 2014

"Tiefflug, 8A/8A+" and "Imhotep low, 8A+" - FA

Since many years I'm climbing in Chironico during the winter. It's by far the closest area where I can climb outdoors. Usually...!!
This winter I was three or four times in Ticino so far... the last day in early December. Since then I just climbed the north of Switzerland.

The northern "hemissphere" never got a lot of snow this winter... and when, then it melted within hours.
I like to call it "hemisphere", because of our big luck to have the alps between these areas and the possibility, to have completely different weather conditions inbetween of one hour drivetime. If it rains on the one side... it is often dry on the other side and vice versa.
What lucky guys we are...!! ;)
So this winter was good chance to try some "northern hemisphere projects", which usually just offer good conditions a couple of days per year. AND... Blattiswald still offering some of these lines, which are rarely possible. ;)

Aldo in "Imhotep, 8A"... Blattiswald.

"Ex Nihilo":
I never went back to this project (see my last entry). this project is still open and undone... at least the intended way to climb it. Now... after I did some more FA's at Blattiswald and I don't have any other open projects... I like to go back there for some more attempts. Who knows... after some weeks with other physical stresses, it could be a good chance to be fresh enough (physically and mentally) to wrest an ascent.

"Tiefflug, 8A/8A+":
The next project after my FA of "Imhotep, 8A" was a low start to "Blindflug, 8A". Already the very first day at this boulder I've seen the possibilities to either climb it out left (Imhotep), or to try a low start version. Some days after the ascent of "Blindflug" I started to work on a low start, but was not able to find a good sequence to climb it. It seemed possible, but pretty hard.
Next one was "Imhotep", so I forgot a little about this low start and focused on the beautiful and powerful prow of "Imhotep".
As soon as this project was climbed too, I had no other options as to go climbing by myself, or to find something new on this boulder. Some friends were still working on "Blindflug" and "Imhotep", so the decision was made fastly and I restart my work on the low start. It's much nicer and above all much more FUNNY to climb with friends...!!!! Even if I sometimes really enjoy it to climb alone too.

The first day back on the low start was succesful... at least for a possible sequence for the first moves. The second day then I climbed "Tiefflug, 8A/8A+".
"Tiefflug" adds three moves and some foot chances to the original. The moves are not extremely hard... but all together they add quite some difficulty and I really had to get used of these moves to climb them safe and economical.
I wrote already that "Blindflug" is a pretty soft 8A in my opinion. However, I realized that others are thinking very differently about it. Nevertheless, I'm not sure if "Tiefflug" deserves an 8A+.
But who cares... let's give 8A/8A+ and anyone can take the grade he likes. ;)

"Imhotep low, 8A+":
Since I'm now climbed this low start ... so why not the same for "Imhotep" too?
This version needed quite some additional effort from my side, compared to the upper start. "Imhotep" already felt pretty hard to me... and even the other solutions I've seen and tried now are not easier (depending on your preferences and preferred style of climbing). The low start adds just two moves... but due to the fact that the original is already quite long, it gets more a question of endurance than maximal strength. This is also the reason why I had to fight a few more days for this FA and in my opinion the low start really deserves 8A+.
Will be interesting to get some feedback to it...

As always lately I have some vids for you...

"Tiefflug, 8A/8A+"    ... without music. :(

"Imhotep low, 8A+"   ...with music. :)


Saturday, February 8, 2014

"Imhotep, 8A" - FA

The last time we all just climbed at Blattiswald. This little area experienced a true renaissance the last weeks. Because of the bad weather in the south of switzerland - Chironico is in deep snow! - many people came to Blattiswald and some routes got more ascents in these days than in the last 20 years!!! ;)

The weather situation is pretty special. Since christmas we never got snow, had less rain and many days with "Föhn"... the warm wind which is coming from the south. This is quite unusual and rare...! So at least it was possible to climb the north of Switzerland... and this, with sometimes perfect conditions.

One line i've climbed the last days was "Bullenritt, 7C" (FA). This line is an old project from Alexandre von Rohr and friends, which they never finished up. Surprisingly! Because even at that time they were definitely strong enough to climb it.
Anyway... it's an nice little line at the Memmentanz-bloc, which starts standing about one meter on the left of "Memmentanz, 7C" (red arrow). It is a very strange dyno... and hard to rate. Could be much easier for tall guys... but even harder for small ones. I'm wondering about the next ascents and the difficulty proposals.

Stefan Kürzi ( took a beautiful night-shot of me in "Bullenritt".
Thanks a lot for that picture!! It looks amazing...

"Ex Nihilo"... another long standing projects at Blattiswald, was initially tried by Alexandre von Rohr and Fred Nicole. Up to now it never got an anscent with the original idea to climb it. I don't know exactly when, but Dave Gisler did an ascent some time (or years) ago. He climbed a special version with a hold, which is a bit out of the line and was not originally planned. Anyway... also this version makes sense and is a real beauty. He called the line "Morpheus, 8B" (sitstart!).
The only thing is... you have to be tall with a huge span to climb it. I tried it and had NO CHANCE to reach this hold. Too bad!! But no matter ... my goal was of from the beginning to climb the original idea.
I tried it now for several days and since the second day I'm able to do the strange dyno up to the pretty good target hold... often even pefectly. Nevertheless, until now I was never able to keep hold on. Slowly but steady it get's nerve-wracking...!!!! ;)

This is also the reason why I decided to try something else for the next days to get a little break from these moves.

The first line I tried and did at Blattiswald this year was "Blindflug, 8A", as already wrote in my last entry. Already the very first day at Blattiswald when I did this line I had seen a possible version which climbs to the left on a very steep prow. I just had a look to it, touched the holds a little and thought that it will be REALLY hard... at least 8B... but I never really tried it. This Monday some friends told me to give it a try. They said that it should be possible, not too hard and offers beautiful moves.
So why not...!!??

It felt extremely hard this evening. I was able to do most of the single moves. To climb the whole thing seemed possible, but also incredible. On the other hand I was blown away from this beautiful but powerfull boulder, which requires an extreme body tension during the whole line.
Fucked up...!!! What a boulder... what a beauty and what movements!!!! I REALLY HAVE TO CLIMB that thing!!

the first very tricky move to a pretty bad pincher-sloper... 
On Wednesday then I left work for three hours just to be able to take use of the perfect dry conditions this day ("Föhn"). After the first tries I realized that it probably would be difficult today. All my muscles were aching... my shoulder, my shoulder belt, my upper arms... I even felt pain in my chest muscles. Oohhh man... this will be a short performance!
Surprisingly it went better with every try and at my very last try I even climbed up to the last hard move.
CRAZY...!!! But now it was over... I was over! I went back to work... distroyed, but also very confident.

The next day then the conditions were perfect again... despite of the rain the last night. I knew that Aldo wanted to go climbing and despite of my climbing the day before I felt extremely fresh. This could be THE DAY!!! AND so it WAS!

Wow... this is definitely one of my nicest FA so far! A perfect piece of rock with incredibly nice movements!! Try it out!!! You'll be blown away as I was... for sure! ;)

Check out the vid:
Imhotep, 8A

I don't know how hard it is. For me it definitely felt more like 8A+, which was also my first intention. But the day after my first ascent it got some more ascents from Michael Thalmann, Dave Gisler and some friends of Dave... although with a different beta.
Most of them agreed on 8A. So for me it's o.k... it's definitely somewhere between 8A and 8A+...BUT... if this one is 8A, I think "Blindflug" should be adjusted. Compared to "Imhotep", "Blindflug" felt way easier to me... but this is just my personal impression.