So I was lucky enough to make a quick trip to another bouldering Mecca this winter and was really keen to find out what it's like to boulder in Switzerland. Being predominantly a sport climber I was super excited to try hard, pull hard and do some blocs!
I stayed in a lovely little village called Bellinzona which is close to the three main bouldering areas: Brione, Chironico and Cresciano. If you haven’t visited the area then it is utterly beautiful: located in a valley with huge mountains on either side, and with temperatures near to 0°C the tops were often covered in snow. Definitely take lots of layers if you head out there!
So what did I do? Eat – sleep – boulder – repeat. Chuck in a few trips to Lidl or Aldi for the essential recovery pastries and that is basically my trip!
I managed to drag myself up Dr. Crimp, 7c, Chironico - my hardest climb of the trip (for you grade chasers). It took me a few goes to sort the beta, but had it done within the hour. This suits my style down to a Tee - everyone knows I love to emergency crimp at every possible occasion, though none-the-less I was pretty psyched with this as I had never done 7c so quick. (Picture of Dr.Crimp below)
Through out the next few days I managed to total up 6 splits on my hands - two on one finger, which I thought was quite impressive! This was probably due to trying the super crimpy Teamwork, 8a. Unfortunately didn’t quite get myself up this one. Despite a promising first and only session on it, in which I did it in 2, the problem was wet for the remainder of the trip. Oh well - something to go back to next time!
I would definitely advise Switzerland as a bouldering destination for those bloc-shuffling lovers. There are so many classic lines, from 7b up, although you can go and enjoy whatever your grade. Remember to take lots of pads, thermals hand-warmers a headtorch for those inevitable night-time sends (this is when the connies - or conditions - get really good) and lots of broccoli - it costs £3.50 for a stem of broccoli, outrageous!
I am super keen to get back out there ASAP... However now that summer is well and truly on it's way I am looking forward to doing more sport climbing trips in Europe. Better get training first though!