29 March 2011
On friday i took a quick 7 hr train trip to visit Christoph and Lindsay in Innsbruck, Austria. The epicenter of the Tirol region is a rad; surrounded by mountains in ever direction while emersered in rich history PLUS amazing granite climbing in any direction! Wowie. Truly an outdoorsy destination.
Friday night entailed a little too much to drink, and some quick German lessons. When in doubt, call someone a "sugarmouse" and see what happens. Or let them know that "they're really hanging onto your balls" (slang for "you're pissing me off").
Saturday i awoke to a throbbing headache and excellent climbing conditions. We headed to Tumpen (sp?) a mere 30 mins away. While points were hard to come by, it felt great to be outside climbing with friends and just moving over rock. To help aide in the hungover-healing-process Christoph suggested maybe we throw back a beer or two. Great idea! Aliement instantly annilated. Tell ya what, the people of Innsbruck seem to be powered by beer and outdoor sports. Not a shabby combination.......
The magical forest of Tumpen
Post Tumpen we jetted back into town where Lindsay works at a smaller climbing gym (one of five or six IN TOWN). THe gym Lindsay works at; LEAD ONLY BITCHES.
Christoph gave me a scenic tour of "old town" Innsbruck; castles set against bright colored apartments with a river running through it and of course the picturesque mountains in the backdrop. Sadly I was too busy taking in the sights to take photos, so here's one i pirated from the web to give you an idea of what i'm talking bout
Sunday entailed a 90 min drive to the famed Zillertal. We warmed up and quickly threw ourselves at many steep, featured problems. Christoph was able to take A LOT of rad photos (which he'll hopefully post in the near future). Here are a couple I snapped.....
Lindsay warming up on a cool 6B
Working Ginzling Extreme 7A+
Monday entailed train rides (something i STILL think is rad), sleeping, and some Indiana Jones (Joe; you'd be in heaven) enroute to Locarno.
A lil bit of the Bittteerrooottt in Europe.
Now i have 4 more days in Switzerland till I roll back to France....maybe with a break from beer, coffee, and chocolates i might be able to flounder up some my projects. Or maybe not....
21 March 2011
The weather here has been fucking fantastic. 60s and sunny. So nice that it makes climbing at Cresciano too hot! weird huh? muahahaha.
Because of the warm temps, I've been up to Brione Verzasca the past two days, flailing all over the place. The climbing here is awesome (though damn hard!). It's like a mix between bullet proof granite, sandstone type holds, proud boulders, and independent lines with no contriviances. There is no guidebook. The little bit of beta that does exist is just to general areas via other climbers blogs. So far i've found there are 3 distinct small areas, all with hidden gems. Its similar to Lolo in that regard; a little bit of hiking and exploring with massive rewards.
The Verzasca damn that 007 does a casual jump off here
The approach to the Upper Sector
Brione is home to one of most beautiful slab climbs anywhere, Black Mirror v4.
Well, turns out I can't climb 6B slab. after getting through the opening moves, i feel into old habits and punted hard at the red circle. Weeeeeeeeeeee! Luckily Luigi from Torino had my spot and i was fine, though it quickly ended my climbing day.
One of the few climbs i had ear-marked to "try" while in ticino was Molunk (7C). This climb looked too good to be true, on the prettiest granite imaginable! The bloc lived up to its hype; its a stunner. The rounded crimps are bad (think Worst Cast Scenario), and the crux revoloves around a Tune Juice type move to the lip. Didn't get it. Soon hopefully.
I'm in bar next to the Locarno train station, scamming internet and having my ears polluted by Rihanana's new weird S&M song. They've played it twice in the past hour on the juke box, so time to go back to Brione
ciao for now
17 March 2011
On sunday I traveled to Basel to experience the "Morgestraich" aka Carnival. The public transportation here is so convinent and cheap (with an eurorail pass), that a short 3 day mini trip was in the cards. I stopped in Luzern on the way, and putzed around the city. Men on razor scooters, awful awful facial hair, and old architecture made the couple hours here....interesting.
It's socially acceptable to drink beer wherever in Europe (one of many perks). I indulged in this sweet can in the Luzern Train Station. Tasted like PBR.
After Luzern, another train to Basel, then to Mohlin where I would be posting up the next couple days with a cousin-in-law, Ilona. I arrived in Mohlin at 19:30, was asleep by 21:00, and then awake again by 2:15 to catch a special carnival train to check out the Morgestraich at 4:00. The concept of Morgestraich (meaning "Morning Tattoo) is that at 4am on the Monday after Ash Wednesday, the city imposes a light blackout downtown, and a light parade with drums, pipes, and illuminated signs march around the old city for a couple hours in the darkness. This is a BIG deal! Upon arriving in Basel around 3:30, THOUSANDS (1,000s) of people were marching through the streets to get prime viewing spots. For the Morgestraich, groups submit applications to participate a year in advance, work 6-8 months on their presentation, and then parade around Monday morning until its light out. BUT IT DOESN'T STOP THERE! The carnival continues at 14:00 with a "sujet" parade. Then the next day a group band performance, more parading, partying....THE WORKS.
Needless to say, my party-staminia is non-existant. I couldn't quite hang. By 7:00 I was back in Mohlin, where I passed out and re-awoke at 12:00 to eat lunch and train back into town for the afternoon parade at 14:00. All of Basel has the afternoon off work to enjoy carnival, so the city was nuts.
Afternoon parade; nothing like a shower of confetti
The next day included Rheinfelden (on the Rheine, duh), 2,000 year old roman ruins, museums, 30 sec walk to Germany, and sleeping. and champions league. rad rad bayern/inter game!
now i'm back in Locarno, where it has been pissing rain for the past 5 days=everything is way soaked. I've been in the "Bar Oasis" milking internet for the last 3 hours, catching up in the cyber world. Next up, Brione Verzasca to check out a MEGA dam, MOLUNK, and master the public bus system.
video of my morning Morgestraich experience
now I'm jittery with coffee and feeling the need to do something active.
Ciao for now....
11 March 2011
On Wed Thomas, Niccolo, Isabella and I headed up to Airolo to find some potential castle remains. I also coaxed a visit to the nearby Chironoco to become a little more aware with the area.
The night before the adventure Thomas selects our destination with beta, map, and wine. ALWAYS an excellent trifecta.
The castle ruins we "found." Estimates on the age are from the 12th-13th century from the University History Prof. Pretty cool to see actual ruins in a super remote hillside with little to no traffic.
Thomas pointing out where another castle probably stood....
A much more intact castle from the 12th Century in Chironoco. Yes, yes i know. There are some boulders here too, but they'll have to wait for next week.......
Amazing fresco in a beautiful church in Chironoco
The "bank" aint never open in Chironoco
Today i went to Cresciano for the Afternoon to shoot the shit with Matt Wilder etc and flail all over the place. Turns out he can NOT warm up on the v6s i'm slaving away on! YES! SELF-VALIDATION AS A NON-PRO. With that said, today v2s felt damn hard. Everything felt hard. When will i learn how to close-hand crimp?!!
09 March 2011
On Tuesday Thomas, Alexia, Emilia, Gusiue and I all went to the small town of Avengo to check out some "closer" boulders. Avengo lies less than 2.5 miles from the house; so we left at 2 in the afternoon and returned by 5;30. All of the "kids" climbed and had a very enjoyable time soaking up the sun and relaxing. As i said previously, the potential here is mind blowing. Just some more worldclass pebbles littered throughout swizzy. Here are some pictures of the afternoon
The Cutest Boulderers evvahhh
Myself getting utterly destroyed on a v4 slab. The children wondering what's taking so long...
Not a long approach for this one.....
Emilia witnessing retard beta on a 7C
Settlers of Catan and coffee; staples of the Ron household
AND here's a video i threw together of a climb in Cresciano i was able to complete today paired with some footage from my train rides down here from previous days. ToMOrrow we go hunting for a couple lost castles in some remote hillside. Something tells me there might be some boulders there as well......
Ciao for now
08 March 2011
Beleive the hype; these majestic gray granite blocs are truly inncredible. I was fortunate enough yesterday to putz around the woods, flailing all over the place. The boulders sit high above the tiny town of Cresciano, among ancient ruins of buildings and Roman cobblestone roads. An experience just to be in these woods!
The weather yesterday was "cold"; about 45 degrees and overcast=velcro like friction. Having not bouldered outside in about 2 months; it felt like i literally forgot how to. I attempted to warm up on a very chalked up overhang; lots of chalk = good, right? I'm sure the problem is awesome, and after some consultation with the guide and some EasternEuropeans (i was a little turned around, as the guide is crappy; and in italian), i discovered it was v9 with a v11 variation. Needless to say; i didn't get to the top. Then the spiral downward began; attempting a couple 8s, then 7s, then 6s, finally getting to the top of a 5. A good introduction to the style of the problems; which all revolve around big/powerful moves on crimps (not my forte).
Perhaps one of the prestigious boulders in the world resides here in Cresciano; Dreamtime. This boulder is a the prettiest chunk of stone in the history of the universe; it's as if god carved it out of soapstone and set it upon a small plateau overlooking the valley. All angles are steep with badass lines on them. The boulder boasts the world's first v15, a 13, a 14, another 15 and about four 9s. All the problems utilize different sides of the boulder (like The Dagger) and are exceptional badass. SO rad!
After my session i walked into the town; took a bus to Bellinzona, then a train to Locarno. Totaling about an hr in travel time. With the accessibility to these orgasmic blocs so easy, hopefully i will be making numerous trips up to the hillside.
A couple of things i noticed and felt the need to comment about
1) Texture- the feel of these rocks is very rough and sharp with thick grained gray granite (alliteration anyone?). It reminded me most of Sweathouse. Though Sweathouse has some very good problems, the quantity of great lines is somewhat limited to about 6. There are 600 in Cresciano. What Sweathouse lacks in quantity, however, is made up for in rock quality and offers excellent friction in cooler temps.
Sticky Slopes on Street Parade
2) Potential-the hillsides are littered with literally THOUSANDS of granite outcroppings. Yes; there's a lot of excellent established problems around, but there could easily be 4 times as many. My cousin Thomas has promised to take me to an obscure valley that he thinks will be virgin to climbers....but first i have to remember how to climb outside......
Some pictures of myself flailing everywhere....
Another angle of Mediomen
05 March 2011
On friday morning i braved the Paris public transportation system in an attempt to arrive at my cousin Thomas' house in Locarno, Ticino, CH. Tell you what, there is no easier way to scream tourist and receive strange looks than by traveling in the parisian metro with a crash pad and backpacking pack in a giant puffy coat.
I had to switch trains in Basel, where i idiotically bought a $10 orange juice. Ya ya, switzerland is expensive. I learned the hard way...
Eleven hours and a country later I arrived in Bellinzona, CH where thomas and his way cute twin daughters picked me up and drove me the remaining half hour to his home in Locarno.
My arrival was highly annticapated
My cousin Giosue, welcoming me to Ticino
That night after playing numerous games with the children i crashed and slept the most soundly i have all trip. I awoke to enourmous mountains, lakes, italians everywhere, warm coffee, and 50 degrees and sunny ! Suck on that, missoula weather.
Badass hundreds of years old castle right dt
Still no climbing, though Thomas was able to checkout the Cresciano bouldering guide from the library for me. Turns out you can take the bus from locarno....its about 30 mins. We'll see how my pastry destroying, wine guzzling body responds to feeble attempts of climbing.