Tuesday, July 12

A Swiss Goodbye

Trips always produce more than I expect. More emotion, more rad new people, more unique experience and sometimes even more sending. Here I am on the flight back to the US. I imagine what it would be like to sit next to myself -- on that departing flight to Europe back on May 6. I wouldn't want to give away all the details but I would certainly offer up a little advice. "Prepare for some rain" perhaps. Or, "This is the best grocery store in Interlaken" ... "Trummelbach falls is worth every damn penny" ... "Go hard when the crag is dry" or "Save a whole day for the Truck and Country festival"... But all in all there is little I could really tell myself back then that could have improved the trip. That's a good feeling.

Daniel Hulliger photo of 'El Molinero' 

Despite some low moments this was an awesome visit. The weather was some of the worst - most recorded rain for over 100 years, but I still climbed and did some sending and I'm really proud of that. I definitely feel like I was hustling and working overtime to keep my hunger for rock satiated. Thankfully with all the micro climates around the Swiss Alps it was possible to move around as the weather was shifting and as one zone got soaked, another seemed to be drying out. 

Switzerland is staggeringly beautiful - like a dream. The Alps are incomparable to any mountains I've seen in the world aside from the Andes and Himalaya. They are massive and right there in-your-face and so beautiful it's almost nauseating. Rock climbing and, furthermore, living in this setting is so motivating. Near the solstice we had light until essentially 10pm, and the climbing days were long. The sun sets very slowly. Evenings were breathtaking.

running from the rain

Engelberg... photo from Mathias Trottman 

In the last six days of my trip I moved out of my radical little home in Bonigen, and met with some good friends in Engelberg, partied in lively Zurich and explored the warm streets of Milan. It was a welcome change and really helped to cap the trip. It really ignited me to plan both an Alpine mission to Switzerland and also a climbing trip to Italy (maybe not in the summer..).

All that being said I'm looking forward to being back in the States. My plans are more wide open than they have been years. I'm still unsure exactly what I'll be doing this fall, which is strange considering that I usually have a year planned out. It feels nice. Leaning towards a road trip, some bolting maybe. Maybe a few projects in mind. Any ideas? 

In the meantime I'm right back on a plane this week to Canada for the Squamish Climbing Academy! I am really looking forward to this event and stoked to see the Arc team once again. Holler if you'll be in the area!

I don't usually do this kind of thing but enough people have asked so here it is -- my routes from the Swiss trip, 5.13 and up. Cheers everyone. 

Missing Link 14c/d 
Appel au Sodom 14b
Femme Rouge 13b 
Bett des Fakirs 13c 
Torero 13b 
Jungfrau Marathon 14d 
Zenit 14a 
Goldfinger 14b 
Termilater 14a 
Schwarzes Glas 14a 
Diesseits Von Jenseits 13a os 
Weisse Arena 13a os 
Gravitationalist 13a os 
Okoschwein 13a os 
Cabane au Canada 14d 
Paradis Natural 14b flash 
Deprime Sous le Soleil 13d 
Le Voile de Maya 14b/c 
Stop Sika 14b 
Degout et des Couleurs 13c flash 
Ultime Opera 13a os 
L'espace Bleu 13d 
Gaucho 13d 
Hyper Finale 14d fa 
Bulletin de Sante 14a flash 
Tornado Power 14b 
Brot fur Bruder 13c 
Gimmel Express 14c 
Ewigi Liebi 13d 
Bit Man 13b flash 
Ganja 13d 
Marc 14a 
Philou 14a 
Vapeur de Tacos 13b flash 
Molinero 14c 
Hau den Lukas 13d 
Lethargie 14a 
Zollo del Lachel 13a os 
No Time for Wanking 13b os 
Lasertusse 13b flash

Fred Moix photo of the night sky above the Bernese Oberland

Sunday, July 3

last week...

Suddenly looking ahead to my final week in Switzerland. Since I last checked in the weather has continued to give and take but overall improve. Thus allowing for some sends and some new terrain and yet still some sorrow-filled hours of anxiously reading weather forecasts. It's been utterly frustrating at times but good company and this beautiful country have kept me surprisingly sane. I feel I made the best of this horrible weather season overall and for that I'm very proud!

Vikki Weldon came through for a week to enjoy the Swiss stoke. We climbing around several crags in a variety of weather scenarios but this day was pretty damn prime. Gastlosen. Photo by Hugo Vincent. 
'Philou' 14a at Gastlosen. Hugo Vincent. 
Vikki getting all fired up on the Gimmelwald lovin'. 'Torero' 13b.

In one moment I'm sitting near the Lake Thun, enjoying some wine and the delights of overwhelming sunshine. Enough sun to fully warrant a dip in the chilling glacial waters and a second glass of rose. Reflecting on a couple of incredible climbing days in the stunning Swiss Alps and in moments like this I could snap my fingers and move to the Bernese Oberland. Only a day later the heavy rain settles in. Shoes are soaked, humidity is maximum. Climbing is impossible and being outside is downright heinous. The short term forecast reflects oncoming rains that would be equivalent to a year's worth of Colorado thundershowers. In this moment I wish I could snap my fingers and book a plane ticket to Las Vegas. 

I wrapped up this open project from Bertrand Martenet at the amazing sector Rawyl, near Sion, Swiss. A gnarly crimp boulder problem at the fifth bolt to some ridiculously thin climbing (pictured) and a few jumps above. 14d. Fred Moix photo. 

Good company makes a huge difference. Rain or Shine. We had a rad crew packed into the little house. Everyone stoked on their own routes and areas, but we still managed to crank some 80's movies together at night to boost moral. 

Even the locals are quick to admit that this year is particularly horrible. Regardless, I've been climbing. As many days as possible. I've done the majority of what I hoped to on this trip and certainly more. Bad weather pushed me to explore some areas I would have missed otherwise. It also made me appreciate how stable and clear the Western US is. But damn... when it's nice here it is epically nice. And those are the days I will no doubt remember the most. 

For the final week here I've got a clear forecast and still ambitions for sending. We'll see how things turn out. In the meantime enjoy the sun where ever you are and in the event that it's raining and horrendous, I feel your pain. 

Sometimes it sucks out and you still climb because you're overstoker and you only have a week left! One hung this beast in some humidity yesterday. Fingers crossed for the clear weather! Daniel Hulliger photo.