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Grinding it out in a bittter cold Swizerland
After arriving in Switzerland to one of the “coldest,” European week in many years, we were faced with a lot of snow to deal with. The snow and the cold did not put us off. We spent the first few days cleaning the snow off boulders, and climbing what we could. Funny how cold is interpreted depending on where you are from. It was cold when I arrived no doubt. But to hear the locals say “the coldest,” reminded me of how cold the winters are in The States. Soon enough the weather started to warm up, and now I am even a bit nervous about it becoming too warm.
So besides explaining how great the climbing is here in Switzerland, which anyone who follows bouldering must already know. I think the food may be better. I grew up with a Swiss father, needless to say, an array of Swiss cheeses were always common staples. I’ve found myself on a diet of basically that, meat and Swiss cheese, fresh bread and maybe some veggies for a little variety.
Climbing is going ok too. Just into my third week here but without any real hard climbing done so far, I’m getting ready to start cooking something up at the boulders. I mean I’ve climbed a number of amazing problems in the 8a range but now after a few rest days I’m starting to feel ready for something harder. Hopefully all amazing food will not distract me too much!
Nothing can slow down motivation like warm weather. The end of February and the beginning of March indicated to me that the cold winter temps were gone. I had a hard time adjusting to the warm weather that came rapidly. It was quite a shock to go from -5 to 20 degrees Celsius in a week’s time. My trip here in Switzerland is coming to a close soon. I have till the end of March to try to get some hard boulders in. Luckily the past week has cooled off but some areas like Cresciano are still very warm for most of the day. I’ve decided to just climb at a moderate pace for my remaining time here. If I don’t get to climb any hard boulders I’ll be happy with just going climbing and getting a good workout.
This last week I have been climbing as much as I could. I still was trying some hard problems but mostly sticking to myplan of moderate climbing, which has paid off in two ways. One, I’ve climbed many 8a’s and even had a couple flashes. Two, I’m feeling like my fitness is there which gives me confidence that I might get a chance to climb a few boulders in the 8b range. So far I’ve just had success on one 8b, Amber, a total classic. The next few days show that the North winds will be coming through so, I’m looking forward to some nice conditions.
Over the last week and a half. the winds came! Just for a couple days and it was a nice relief. I was feeling fairly strong and took full advantage. Nothing too crazy happened but I was fortunate enough to climb one of my life long dream problems, Vecchio Leone. I had tried this one briefly over some muggy days. I felt as though I would never be able to do some of the moves. But when the winds came and the shade set in, it felt like a completely different boulder. The moves felt good and after a few burns I was dropping the last move to a jug and my hand dry-fired off. That left me a bit nervous that I might have missed my chance but after a few more burns I was on top with a huge sigh of relief.
Now my time here is really coming to an end soon. The weather does not look like the cool crisp weather I need to climb at my limit but at least there is not any rain forecasted. If the weather does not cooperate with me Ill just try to get out and have nice days getting mileage in.
Last entry of my trip. Overall, my time in Switzerland was a good experience. Based on pure expectations and performance I was not totally pleased, but not meeting my expectations didn’t send me away unhappy. It was a great trip. Like every trip I’ve been on the people I met and experiences I had are invaluable. It would be hard to leave an amazing place like Switzerland thinking any differently. The last days I had were spent lazily drinking coffee and soaking in the sun. I didn’t get any more days like when I was able to climb Vecchio. I kept thinking optimistically that the winds would come back before I left, but they did not. I will have to go back someday. For now its on to the next phase in life. I left Switzerland with no regrets and in my mind the trip was a success.
Photo credit: John Butter