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Switzerland Mark II

There aren’t many places in the world that I think about more. I have only been there once before, but every time I picture it, I start to feel my senses heighten. My palms start to sweat, my fingers crimp involuntarily and I picture pristine granite boulders… Hells yeah, I’m off to Switzerland again. Four weeks out and I couldn’t be more excited. Since last year when I spent 2 weeks running around Chironico and Brione I have thought of little else in terms of overseas trips. Well, that’s not entirely true, I think about Squamish, Font, Rocklands, Norway, Hueco, Albarracin, but most often I dream of Ticino, the beautiful Swiss Canton, home to some of the most amazing boulders that this wee planet has to offer.

I’m not exactly lacking incredible places to climb, I have been living within touching distance of the Grampians up until the middle of this year and have been lucky enough to have free reign on literally hundreds of first ascents. So, why then do I feel so drawn to a far off destination that makes our own dollar appear as worthless as a peso? I ponder this often and generally reach the same conclusion each time. Like any spoilt child, I want what I can’t have and I am drawn to things that are far removed from what lie in my own backyard. As most know, Australia is a sunburnt country, that is punished by summer temps that often reach 40 and above. It is a land of sweeping plains, with no mountains higher than the average hill in Europe or the States. And that is the answer. I want to see mountains, alpine streams, cows with bells round their necks, snow and granite, let us not forget the granite…

The Grampians is incredible, steep, bullet hard, glorious orange sandstone, but it ain’t granite. The granite that we have in Australia is, how do I put this diplomatically, well… It’s shit. It’s flaky, friable, sharp and crystally… That may not even be a word, but that’s what it is. I hate it. But you get a few million years of glacial pressure and it changes that stuff and you end up with something akin to the awesomeness that is Ticino. So yeah, that’s why I’m frothing at the mouth about getting back there.

So anyways, in preparation for this trip I have been training. Which is an unusual change for me, as I haven’t really trained much in years. I have been able to climb on rock whenever I want, so there has been no real need. But in the last few months I have been working like a dog, and haven’t been getting back to my beloved Grampians anywhere near as much as I would like. Not that that has diminished my desire to climb, quite the opposite in fact, but I have had get my train on.

I have been getting amongst Chris Webb-Parson’s fingerboard program, which has dramatically improved my finger strength, something that is defo my achilles heel. So, with any luck, when I arrive, I’ll be primed and ready to crush. I have also been getting back into my martial arts stuff, brazilian jiu jitsu and mma, which involves some pretty serious cardio, so I am lean and light and ready to roll. Which, to sum up, hopefully leads to lots of hard climbing and some sweet photos for all you peeps out in internet land. All I have to do is hope for some beautiful, crisp weather and we’ll be right. Anyways, added to this is a few pics from my last trip there, hopefully replicated soon…