Sunday, 27 December 2009


Well I think it is time for me to write up my recent trip to Cresciano.

With the thought of perfect mountain boulders to spur us on, we drove down from Bath in one push, catching the ferry at close to midnight and continuing through the night to reach Switzerland by late morning the next day. A long trip, but worth it for the extra day's climbing.

We stayed in a fantastic little 'rustico' which was owned by a lovely family who came and lit a welcoming fire every day while we were out on the rocks.

I had my doubts beforehand, and on the soggy road trip, my fears appeared to be well founded, but the weather in Cresciano was better than I could have hoped for. Every day was excellent; very cold, pretty dry and almost always sunny.

My only possible criticism would be that the cold was perhaps too much for me; at times, touching the rock for more than 20 seconds at a time meant sitting with your hands in various warm places for several minutes.
As if to emphasise the frigid temperatures; we woke to find ice crystals on the inside of the windscreen most mornings. The thermometer taped to the car read down to -10 degrees!

Anyways - onto the climbing...

The first day there I rather foolishly spent most of the day shredding my fingers on the frictiony goodness that is Swiss granite

As introductions go, jumping on a problem that has been polished till the friction consists of a couple of sharp crystals, was perhaps not my best decision of the trip (street parade, 7a). I managed to wear most of the way through the skin on the middle tip of my right hand and then had to tape up for the rest of the holiday.

The other Slopey Traverse of the holiday (Slopey Traverse 7a+/7b) didn't go much better, I think it might go eventually...but for the moment... ...not quite yet.

By this point I was starting to feel like I hadnt really achieved too much from the first few days, fortunately I managed to make a quick ascent of Vol au Vent, 7a with non-dyno beta.
I went back to look at the sit start (7b+) another day but felt too weak and lacking too much in skin to bother trying.
Again-another that might go eventually.

I can truly recommend doing Dr. Med Dent at Chironico, 7b+. I thought the grade was outside my range but I managed to claw my way up it after 2 hours. I have to thank Anthony and Jack for eventually finding the correct beta while I fannied about with my camera getting some footage.

We took a day off after that during which I had my first experience of 'mountaineering'.
We didn't really achieve anything but the climb was good fun, and the view from our high point was excellent.

As rest days go this one was pretty knackering
The next day we headed back to Chironico so Jack could also finish Dr. Med and then we explored a little to find the more extensive areas further up the hill.

I managed to flash Borderline, a 7a dyno slab which was nice.

On our last day I felt that my logbook was looking a little bare for the week so far so I decided to try and pad it with 6c's
After a slow start I onsighted a 6b slab (gay parade) then moved to the left and ticked a nameless 6c+ slab which would probably have been given less in font.
A short time later I climbed Anouk, 6c and followed it up with another nameless 6c.
A late session on Madreperla yeilded another 6c+ which may be my favourite tick from the holiday.

Anyways, this is quite a long post already so I'll sign off with this video made by Jack.

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