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.

Wednesday 9 December 2009

TCA Circuits

Did sod all at TCA today, tried the circuit again and again but no love.

Persistently falling at move 39-40 kinda got me riled...I haven't come across a route where I have failed at a 'crux' for a while and I appear to have forgotten how damned annoying it is.

I got there about 5/6 times but didn't do anything else all session.
New beta on the last moves might sort me but then again perhaps not.

2 days to Cresciano.

Sunday 6 December 2009

Various Things

Found some time to write on this now (between my heavy schedule of eating, sleeping and watching stuff on iPlayer)

Since the last thrilling installment I have been to TCA, Cheddar and seen Tim Emmett (who completely didn't recognise me)

First off - TCA -
I got the red up the front wall in one or two goes which was neat, I dont seem to remember doing much more except fingerboard shizzle (slopey mono pullups)

Second - Cheddar -
I went out again with Ben Broche and my housemate Jonny, didn't really get much done though right up until the end. I ticked a 4+/5+/6b+ and kinda ticked 'The Minstrel' 7a+ but since the top jugs were soaking I had to settle for going mono to the belay rings. I think the grade was pretty much the same though. Short powerful route on jugs and crimps...nice :-D

As you can see it was spitting pretty hard but the actual route was mostly dry.

I bought a pullup bar on saturday and have been playing on that a little so hopefully I'll see some strength gains after a while.

And last of all I saw Tim Emmett's lecture of the various places he has been recently, which was quite interesting but not really relevant to what I want to do in the future.
I got his signature on the shiny white Metolius bag so that makes 3.
Dave Macleod is coming to TCA in January so I'm looking forward to nabbing another for the collection :-)