My plan for this 2 month adventure was to give some sort of a write up on the blog about each day. So far I’ve been failing. But let’s get caught up and start from there…

I have been in Switzerland for about 10 days now, and I must say, I am very, very impressed. The pure quantity of high quality rock is unbelievable. We have been climbing almost solely in Magic Wood, because Ticino has been too warm. Magic Wood is a large collection of boulders in a small, deep valley just below the tiny town of Ausserferrera. There are maybe 100 people in the town. In fact, during the first few days, I didn’t see more than 4 other people together at one time. The lifestyle is very slow. I like it. Everything is very clean and well kept and I’ve never seen so many nice cars in my life. There are no stores in the town and only 1 restaurant which is run by the same people that own the hostel. During the first week and a half we lived in this hostel which is a short 3 minute walk up the road from the boulders. Internet works consistently at the restaurant, but it is slow. There is no night life, no girls, and absolutely nothing to do but rock climb. Which is fucking great! Too much of my life revolves around the social aspects of living and this place is forcing me to take a serious break. Thank god. However, because the only thing to do is climb, my skin is perpetually wrecked and even when I probably should be resting, I end up climbing. Connor and I also didn’t have a car, because Paul was living 1 hour away in Ticino, which made things a little difficult as well. Food is very expensive. Especially meat. And cooking every meal seems to be the only option. We eat a LOT of vegetables, eggs, pasta, bread and cheese (some of it smells oddly funky…) Since the closest market to Magic Wood was about a 15 minute drive, we would stock up when we got a ride. So far we’ve been able to keep the eating expenses to somewhere around $10 a day. Not too shabby in my opinion. We paid 17.5 francs per day per person for the hostel and the use of the kitchen. We each occupied the lower part of the two bunks in our “cell” and it was pretty damn comfortable. There was a shower and toilet in our room and everything was very, very clean. Yesterday was our last day living at the hostel and now we have moved down to Ticino, just next door to Paul and his girlfriend Alex. The new apartment is a very small studio with two beds and is very homely and comfortable. We are psyched. We will be living at this apartment in Claro for the extent of our stay. Now, enough about the accommodations…

The rock is Magic Wood is gneiss and it’s some of the best I’ve ever felt. The whole place sort of reminds me of the Grand Wall boulders in Squamish, but with even more boulders. And more large overhangs with positive grips on them. My first day in the woods, I received a nice tour of the classics from Paul R. and was at first slightly disappointed with what seemed like a lack of climbing. After 3 more days of wandering around finding at least 10 new amazing lines each day, I realized my error. I’m still finding new things to climb on that inspire me. Hands down, Practice of the Wild is the most inspiring thing that I have seen in the forest. Yes, it sort of climbs out of a hole, but whatever. The holds are amazing, the line if perfect. And it’s really fucking hard. I gave it some effort on my 2nd day with Paul and couldn’t do the roughly 2 crux moves, but then again, it was tweaking my slightly injured finger quite a bit. So we will see what happens as the finger progresses and the temps drop. Another boulder I found to be very, very good is Electroboogie 8A+. I narrowly missed the flash, and climbed it quite quickly, but for me, the movement and holds make it a clear standout in the forest. The Riverbed 8B is incredible. Power endurance boulder with a really hard cut move in the middle. Big props to Anna Stohr for the takedown. That thing is no joke. I gave it a solid flash burn early one morning, but my fingers numbed out just before the forced cut. Then my fingers got really warm and sweaty, and the session ended shortly thereafter. The amount of moisture can be really hard to deal with in the forest. Even after many days without rain, problems can still be wet due to the amount of moisture in the ground. Even when it feels good and cold, the humidity seems to be ever present. The trick is climbing when it’s windy. Which is rare. But it’s supposed to get better soon. Jack’s Broken Heart 8A+ is a really nice climb with some power moves on crimps down low and a slopey crux at the top. Octopussy V11 is right around the corner and according to is one of the most climbed boulders in Magic Wood. The short person beta for it revolves around a tricky (for me) right heel. After it picked many, many times I opted for the tall person beta which was just plain ridiculous. I’m pretty sure I have a bigger arm span since doing this boulder. I reached hard. And some scratches on my face from being so close to the wall. I have put two days into New Base Line V14 and made some good links. Still too warm and humid for success on that one. At least for me. I gave a solid flash burn on Steppenwolf V13 (which is fucking incredible), quickly did all the moves, but left empty hand. Well maybe not totally empty, I pulled a lot of moisture out of the rock. Or at least my hands made it seem so. So many other boulders! Du Cote de Seshuan V10 is amazing. Sick double clutch finish move! Muttertag V11. One move. Good contact strength trainer. Did it 3 times for kicks…and video of course. The Darkness Cave is really nice. Not sure how Daniel’s 2 additions go, but they look hard. I did the two classics, the Left Hand of Darkness and the Right, and was very psyched. The video was shot at 6400 ISO (super grainy, like the size of the grain makes them look like climbing holds on the roof), so it probably won’t be featured anywhere. It’s fucking dark in that cave. All in all, there is a shit ton to do in that forest. And it’s all good. Connor (aka Sir General Corn Wallace, aka Corndog, aka Corndaleeza Rice) has been taking down some classics in the V6-V9 range, and they are just as incredible as the climbs in the higher grades. Something for everyone. Go get it!

Electroboogie Screen Shot

Shules des Lebens Screen Shot (spent one hot afternoon in Chironico)

The Current SITUATION:
Well, P-Rob says the weather usually changes around the 18th or 19th (give or take obviously) of this month bringing snow(?) to Magic Wood and cold conditions to Ticino (Cresciano, Chironico, Brione). That gives me about 10 days to take down Steppenwolf V13, The Riverbed V13, and either Practice or New Base Line, whichever feels better. Or both, who knows? But that seems unlikely at this point.

We finally found some decent internet at the 1001 Bloc in Cresciano. Made nice with the beautiful woman that works there. Espresso and fast internet makes me very happy. Get all cracked out and go crazy! I should be able to update every few days now, and upload some nice videos. Hurray! Stay tuned…


Today, October 12th, we headed back up to Magic Wood. The conditions were fairly good. I managed The Riverbed V13 after a few more efforts. Felt really easy except for the send go. I’ll post the send footage soon. Fucking epic. Everything went wrong and I still found myself on top of the boulder. I also completed Steppenwolf V13. Another epic on that one. First 3 tries I fell off sticking the lip, then spent 10 goes falling off the previously easy (for me) first two moves. Then I sacked up and did it. Two 8B’s in a day! Now, I am wrecked. Paul also completed THE Project. Seems to be either very hard 8B+ or soft 8C. I will be giving it some effort in the next week or so and giving my honest opinion. Sick effort P-Rob! WORD!

Tomorrow is Magic Wood again!!! Only the big boy boulders are left for me. Game on.