Wednesday, 29 August 2012

It's about doing small things in big places - Switzerland By Jen Wilby

It's about doing small things in big places - Switzerland
By Jen Wilby

Battling up the last pitch on the Penon in the Costa Blanca after six hours of what felt like desperate climbing. We were off route thanks to those "lovely" Spanish climbers who pointed the way. This put us on a final pitch which had a price tag above what I could give. I was exhausted. After many expetives (of course not Mum!), exhausted we made it to the top. A twenty minute walk down took us to the bar, a cold beer in hand I was proud to have climbed to the top. I'd just learnt how to climb outside.

Seven years on 'm driving past the Penon in a little blue van " Jackie" on a twelve month climbing trip - astounded at how single moments in your life can steer you in a direction you never dreamed of.
Spot Jackie...
From the plains of Spain to the high peaks of Switzerland. Bouldering is about doing small things in big places.
Magic Wood is truely magical, hundreds of blocs  in a dense forest no more than 500m deep and 250m wide. You'll be forgiven for wondering where all of the blocs are when presented with the dense forest. However, crossing over the bridge the blocs begin to appear in the mist.  Being British we were sceptical about bouldering in July. Fear not - the wood provides some awesome bouldering conditions due to their magical air vents providing air conditinoing at the boulders.  However with the magic of boudlering in Summer, it also bring the rain and when it rains in the wood it pours. Which is exactly what it did for our first 3 days in the Wood. However the skies soon cleared and bouldernig as on.
It's impossible for me to highlight the boudlers that stood out for me, there were so many, I can only say that the highlight was having the Reading Climbing Centre & The Castle Crew over for the month. A little bit of home made it magical...

Rest Day activities in the Wood
The Darkness Roof ... love it!
The Darkness Rood
Some "Bicep" action

We left Magic after an awesome four weeks to check out the smaller and less well known bouldering areas of Gotthrd & Susten Pass.


Gotthard is situated high up in the pass which links the North & South of Switzerland. Its an awesome road to drive through and gives you some amazing views. Our first few nights there were, what can only be described as being in Modor! The rain never stopped, the mist devoured everything in sight and the thunder rumbled the van. I've never seen or heard anything like it before. It was an amazing spectacle. When the sun rose and the skies cleared, Gotthard looked amazing:

View as the mist set in....
What we should have been able to see...

View from up in Gotthard

Snow in Gotthard Pass
I would recommend heading to Gotthard to all those driving to the Wood. Head to the boulders away from the parking and you'll find some awesome blocks. Including Homomouse & f7c and Scary Christmas @ 8a.

Crux of Hommomouse
Scary Christmas Bloc

Start of Homomouse
I felt heart breakingly close to Homomouse, however it was nto meant to be so I plan to go back to do this and do Scary Christmas, it looks amazing.
Next on the Alp Bloc trail was Susten Pass. Located high on the hillside next to the river. This area has more clean lines but its not enough to sustain a long trip, but certainly worth a stop off en route to Wood.
View from Susten Pass

Some Susten Bloc

Awesome ice shapes on the field at Susten


 This year is all about dreams and every since reading The White Spider many years ago, I've dreamt of heading to Grindlewald, Alpiglen and Kleine Scheidegg and walk up to the North Face of the Eiger. We opted to take the Jungfrau Railway to the Kleine Scheidegg and follow the Jungfrau - Eiger Trail up to the base. Astonishing ! To walk to the Mittigeli Hut

 Linger at the Memorail Lake

and hike to the base of the North Wall. Inspiring.
It was an incredibly hot & cloudless day - serene. To think of all thats gone on on that face, it seemed impossible in such tranquil surroundings. Yet the shine of the lake down below was a reminder of the risk these guys took in the name of adventure.
Following the rest days at the Eiger, we decided to spent a few days in a local crag at Wilderswil in te Oberland. The climbing here is on clean limestone and has about 50 routes from 5's to 8's.

Wilderswil limestone wall
From the amazing Switzerland we drove across France to the West Coast to Seignosse, a well known surfing destination. Surfing is harder than it looks! The water has such a force it knocks you off your feet...and your board it you get it wrong! However, its like climbing, addictive, so I'm psyched to get back into the water!
Due to unfortunate circumstances I'm back in the UK for a few days which is giving me a taste of what its going to be like to come back in January - and I have to say I dont like it! So the plan is to make the most of the rest of the dream - first stop post surfing...Ceuse!!!!
Happy Climbing!
Dedicated to
Marian Wilson "Nana"
03/01/1933 - 21/08/2012


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