Bouldering | Why Switzerland?
I don’t know what it is about this country, but Switzerland has me hooked. I still wonder today why this place lures me, year after year, more than anywhere else in the world. While I give myself 3 good reasons to go elsewhere, I find 6 to go back.
Friends are constantly saying to me ‘that place must be pretty good’ or ‘why are you going back again?’ and most of the time I respond with, “it is” or “because it’s that good”. But when I really try and understand why I love it so much, I struggle. It’s expensive, the conditions can be fickle, it’s not new, and I’m left fewer things to climb each time I visit. But still, I keep coming back.
You can appreciate anything if you experience it for long enough, that much I know. But Brione is an instant hit for everyone, I have taken many people there for their first time bouldering in Switzerland. It’s hard not to be in awe of the enormous grey and orange boulders that litter the turquoise river running down the valley. It’s hard not to stand in awe at the enormous Verzasca Dam, which James Bond once flew from in the film ‘Goldeneye’. It’s also hard not to find yourself staring off into the distance.
From a climbing perspective boulder problems like Bach Bloc (7C) combine some of the best rock with a soaring line and topout to create a truly brilliant problem. While Vecchio Leone (8B) represents one of the best hard boulder problems in the world. Perfect rock, a stunning line, and physical movement, all with some history thrown in. Problems such as the classic ‘Black Mirror Slab’ and Brione Arete, both 6B, provide some of the most interesting arete and slab climbing to be found. These are where 5-star photographs are made!
While not quite so well thought of as Brione, Chironico is still a special place. Stretching from some shaded and waterworn river boulders, up to some incredible features on the top of a sunny hillside, it is a classy area. There are little pieces of brilliance littered across the hill that stand out for rock, movement, and aesthetics. Nobody ist der Größte (7B) has some of the best slopers anywhere outside of Fontainebleau, and ‘Freak Brothers’ is one of the most striking features anywhere in the world. Navigating to these gems becomes the key of truly appreciating Chironico, instead of getting drawn into finger shredding rock and leaving with a chip firmly placed on your shoulder.
Another lesser known gem is Die Roboter (5+) which again provides some great rock with a line and moves that would make it a classic anywhere. To me, Chironico is a place with a lot of untold character. It has so many little areas that they can feel totally different and separate from each other. This to me makes it even more enjoyable to wander around from zone to zone, taking in everything this place has to offer. I have spent many a day aimlessly wandering around Chironico only to stumble upon something brilliant that I had never seen before. Slabs, aerates, little roofs, Chironico has them all.
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Another shot of New Base Line (8B+). Missing the Wood already, and that simple??life. • I’ve just put up a 4 minute video with 4 boulders including New Base Line as well as @morgan.preece climbing Riverbed (8B), his first 8B. The link is in my profile. • @organicclimbing @scarpa_uk @frictionlabs #bouldering #climbing
Cresciano is the area of Ticino with the most history in terms of Bouldering. It hosts the worlds first 8C, the legendary ‘Dreamtime’ from Fred Nicole, as well as a whole hillside worth of bouldering, that would last anyone a lifetime. Of all three areas, Cresciano is perhaps the most tranquil. Stretching a kilometre across a chestnut covered hillside, it’s hard not to be lured into the endless array of perfect boulders, even when you have an objective for your day. Cresciano is the perfect area for running around and climbing 4’s, 5s and 6’s, using only a small mat to move from boulder to boulder, getting as much movement as possible into your day. While Chironico may slightly favour the strong fingered climber, Cresciano is undoubtedly suited to the technical climber. The smooth, much more rounded features lend themselves to some thought, some cunning, and a good amount of trust in friction. The perfect place to begin to hone your skills. This is all before you talk about the incredible views down the valley into the famous town of Bellinzona, with it’s 3 medieval castles. Cresciano really is the jewel in the crown of Swiss bouldering.
When I begin to think of reasons to go back to Switzerland, I quickly think of a few more, and then a few more. It’s a special place, that truly deserves it’s acclaim.
Intrepidus Outdoors and Eliot Stephens have come together to offer a unique bouldering coaching holiday in March 2019. Experience Ticino, Switzerland, one of the World’s most famous bouldering destinations, under the guidance of one of Britain’s top boulderers.
For More Information: https://intrepidusoutdoors.co.uk
Intrepidus Outdoors is an adventure tourism provider based in Edinburgh, Scotland. We specialise in canyoning, coasteering, canoeing and mountain biking. We deliver these adventurous experiences across Scotland as well as providing international trips.
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Sea side selfie with the homies! Nice to document the crushing of some serious gnar ? • • • • • • • #weadventurevertically #intrepidusoutdoors #edinburgh #scotland #adventure #adventuretime #adrenalinejunkie #adventuring #scottish #lovescotland #explorescotland #scotspirit #visitscotland #canyon #canyoning #canyoning_pictures_instagram #canyoneering #gopro #adidas #cliffjump #cliffjumping #slide #hero6 #coasteering #seaside