Swiss Delights – Top 10 Ticino Boulders Problems
It is hard to deny Switzerland as one of the most picturesque countries with some of the most iconic landscapes in the world. Fortunately for us climbers, the Bouldering here reflects the quality of the country itself. Even after upwards of 6 months spent in Switzerland over the past 5 years, I’m still blown away by the place.
The landscape, the feeling and the quality of the bouldering here are all supreme. I often get asked by people (generally before they embark on a trip), “what is your favourite boulder in Switzerland?” The smile that comes over my face instantly gives away the response that “I couldn’t possibly choose just one boulder problem”. With that said, I feel it’s only right, with another trip on the horizon that I finally put my thoughts down to collate a list of my favourite Swiss boulder problems.
Swiss Delights – My Top 10 Ticino Boulders
10. Limited Edition 7C+ – The Hourglass of Switzerland. Compression problems don’t come much more in your face than this. Two huge rails, perfect slopers on each side. The perfect boulder problem height. Not dangerous, but high enough to allow the heart to flutter a little bit on the top. After some serious hugging and thugging to make it to the lip, a bit of commitment is required for the pull around onto the slab at the top. In 2015 a big team of us descended on the boulder to try it, and I can honestly say I’ve never seen so many smiles at a boulder, with five of us ending up climbing it!
9. Dosage Dyno – Made famous by Dave Graham in one of the legendary Dosage films, this dyno is the one people always ask about, but always seem to forget about! Situated just next to the river at Brione, this groove into dyno affair is a thrill of a problem! Flying through the air, going almost horizontal and catching a perfectly rounded jug, it’s a special thing.
8. Brione Right Arete 6B+ – You can’t go to Brione and not try this one! Sitting perfectly in the centre of Brione’s magical meadow, the dual arete’s that make up this boulder are equally worthy. With a technical start, and an exciting little hop to the finish hold, this problem has it all! That also includes one of the best views around. I climbed this one on my very first trip in 2013, and have climbed it almost every time I’ve been back since. It never gets old!
7. Molunk 7C – The world’s best 7C? Molunk is heralded by everyone who climbs it as a truly spectacular boulder problem. Not everywhere do you find perfect rock, holds, movement and aesthetics all wrapped up into one boulder problem. This is that problem, and at a grade where it’s on many climbers radar! Molunk involves throwing between big flat edges, and using some crafty footwork to negotiate the lip holds and forging rightwards to glory on some perfect jugs. Being 5ft 6, my journey with this boulder problem was different to most peoples. In 2013 I realised I simply couldn’t reach the conventional sequence. 3 years later, I crafted up a bit of a shorty sequence, and finally made it happen.
6. Die Roboter 5+ – This problem is a gem nestled right behind another problem on this list, Freak Brothers. With one superb rail feature and several options for success, this problem is a real hit! I’m yet to show anyone it and to be met with disappointment! Whether it’s part of your warm up, or a goal for the session, it’s a movement makes it special!
5. I Portico 8A+ – This problem is another gift from the grandfather of modern bouldering, Fred Nicole. First shown in the feature length film ‘Better Than Chocolate’, I Portici instantly caught my attention. It’s a perfect rightwards trending arete, with some of the best pinches around. It’s technical, long and requires a good helping of commitment for the finish. I tried it briefly in 2016 before coming back a bit fitter in November 2017 and finishing it off. Future mega classic!
4. Bach Bloc 7B+ – Situated in probably the most picturesque spot in Brione, this problem has always been a classic! It has some interesting movement through a vertical crack, and some powerful movement high off the floor, followed by a straightforward but exposed topout. It’s the problem everyone knows about, but nobody can remember it’s name! For anyone operating at the level this is a must do!
3. Amber 8B – Gem by name, gem by nature. Amber is one of the smallest, yet most perfectly formed 8B’s I’ve had the pleasure to climb. With some of the best rock in the world, and some powerful moves through a steep roof, this Dave Graham classic is a much sought after tick. Back in 2016 it was high on my todo list for my November trip. In the first session I managed to do all the moves, but was worried the link of them all would be quite a task. Fortunately, with some cold crisp weather, and good motivation from friends I was able to finish it off in the next session. It is still one of the best problems I’ve ever climbed, and rightly so makes it into this list
2. The Neverending Story Slab 6B – Without a doubt one of Cresciano’s most famous problems, and rightly so! It is one of the most aesthetic and stunning slabs of rock around. At 6B, and a slab, it may not be most peoples idea of Swiss bouldering, but man this thing is a special experience! Absolute trust in friction is the order of the day on this completely holdless slab. Measured precision and patient footwork leads to a final lurch for a decent edge, and victory. I’ve probably repeated this problem around 15 times over the years, and it’s never taken me any less than 10 attempts. A timeless classic, and the perfect rest day activity!
1. Freak Brothers 8A – Where do I start with this one!! Lines don’t come much more striking than this. A crazy barrelled overhang with arrow straight horizontal cracks through it’s face. The movement is powerful, but technical. The crux revolves around an awkward toe above hand manoeuvre, before matching the only holdable part of the horizontal crackline. From there a big throw to the lip and an undoubtedly droppable mantle remains! I remember first setting eyes on this problem on my first trip to Switzerland and being blown away. Even though I wasn’t at the level of this problem back then, I still couldn’t resist trying it. With a few half hearted attempts through the years, November 2017 was the time I was finally able to work this one out and climb it. Without a doubt, an all time life list boulder problem!
Intrepidus Outdoors and Eliot Stephens have come together to offer a unique bouldering coaching holiday.
Experience Ticino, Switzerland, one of the World’s most famous bouldering destinations, under the guidance of one of Britain’s top boulderers.
Switzerland has long been regarded as one of the world’s most popular and historic bouldering areas. Originally frequented by the likes of Fred Nicole and Bernd Zangerl, Switzerland combines some of the most idyllic landscapes and perfect Gneiss bouldering. A mere 2 hours north of Milan, the Italian speaking canton of Ticino offers 3 main areas. With everything from beginner to world-class climber, Ticino has something special for everyone. Whether it’s the beautiful chestnut covered hillside of Cresciano, or the exquisite stone villages and long winding mountain approach of Brione, Switzerland really is a magical place to climb. Wake up in a beautiful rustic house, with views across the town of Bellinzona, before making a short journey to some of the world’s best boulders. This place is not to be missed!
For More Information: https://intrepidusoutdoors.co.uk