Magic Wood, Switzerland…

 

Bodhi campsite

Bodhi campsite

After working 10 long days back-to-back, I had finally packed the van and we were on the road.  We left Bristol around 6pm and arrived in Dover at 9:30pm with no problems.  I had planned on sleeping on the ferry, but with the usual shenanigans and ferry antics that didn’t really happen.

ferry antics

ferry antics

ferry antics

ferry antics

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We arrived in Calais at 1am French time.  The route we had chosen took us through France, Belgium, Germany, Austria and finally into Switzerland.  I did a 5-hour stint in the cockpit then finally succumbed to tiredness, so Heath and I swapped just before dawn. The drive was going really well until we hit the outskirts of Stuttgart, when we ground to a halt and sat still for about 3 hours due to a massive lorry fire. Eventually the traffic started to move and once we got through it took another 3 hours to get down through Austria and into Switzerland.  We stopped in Chur to pick up a few things in the supermarket before heading to the campsite.  Finally we made it!  After chilling out for a bit and once the boys had set up their tents we headed in to the wood for a bit of a “look-see”.  It was only a matter of time, (approximately 5 minutes) before Steve and Max were already walking back to the van to get a pad and their shoes.  The rest of us ran around the forest for another 30 minutes checking out problems and getting excited about climbing the next day.  After wandering back to the van, we cooked, we ate and within about 5 minutes of finishing dinner I was slurring my words and half asleep so we all headed to bed. What a day!

Dawn in Germany

Dawn in Germany

Day 1

We set our alarms for 8am, at 8:03am the boys were knocking on the van. After a coffee and some breakfast we headed into the woods. We walked up to the second bridge across the river and in to sector Kamel. We passed about 3 boulders and set up base. I had a quick look at the free paper topo I had downloaded.  The topo didn’t have any of the grades or problems marked that we had found so we just climbed anything that looked good.  It wasn’t long before Al had found this amazing looking line up a hanging arête.  Again this line wasn’t in the paper guide but it was too good to walk on by.  After a few goes we had figured out a sequence and I sent it pretty quickly.  Later that night once we had bought the Swiss Bloc guide we found out it was called “The Gift” 7c.  Unfortunately It had a rather big move on it so the boys didn’t want to waste too much energy or skin on it so we moved on.

The Gift 7c

The Gift 7c

From “The Gift” we headed up the hill and came across a 6b+ arête called “A Fine Line”.  After a team ascent of that we moved on to “Red Roses” 7a+. At this point it had started to warm up a lot and the rock was feeling pretty greasy. Al and I tried the sit start to “Red Roses” which goes at 7b.  Once both of us had tried and failed to get off the ground we moved on to the stand start.  After a lot of brushing and chalking I managed to sketch my way up it closely followed by Max.  Al got close but another team of people had started working it and it was in a bad enough condition as it was, so we gathered our pads and moved on.  We weaved our way up the hill until we came across a great looking line called “Super Crack” 6c. This was a suspended flake line that came out from the back of a cave.  There was a bit of a tricky toe hook just before you pulled out of the cave which Heath struggled with so unfortunately she didn’t get it, but the rest of the team sent it in style. We shuffled the pads to the left to a problem called “Man of the Cow” 7c. This had a hard powerful start that led to a big move and a high scary top out. After playing about and failing on a hard shoulder move low down for a while, Al managed to get high but dropped the big move out right. Once Al had shown us the way for the hard shoulder move I sent it next go. Max was also having difficulty with the shoulder move, but once he adjusted a crucial thumb placement he managed to send it pretty quickly.  Al had a few more goes but started to tire on the lower moves, he got high a couple more times but didn’t manage to get the big move. With no messing around we moved on and Al was straight back on again, onsighting “Schrotti” 7b. I swooped in for the flash and Max got it shortly after. Just to the right there was another 7b called Hageltrauma which shares the same starting holds. I managed to onsight it and Al and Max both got the flash. Both problems were good quality but different styles. Meanwhile Heather got amongst ticking off a few of the easier problems “Moos Gully” being the highlight. This had great moves on classic granite rails.

Moo's gully

Moo’s gully

Moo's gully

Moo’s gully

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The plan was to go out and climb in the morning while it was cool, head back to the campsite for mid day when the sun was at its hottest and then climb again in the evening. Well that was the plan, by the time we had looked at the a clock for the first time it was 4:30pm. We were feeling pretty tired by this point so we headed back to camp. That night after dinner It started to rain so we headed to bed with our fingers crossed hopping it would stop.

Day 2

We woke up in the morning and it was still raining. It had been chucking down all night and there was no sign of it breaking. It was the Magic Wood clean up day but not many people were up and about. After spending about 5 hours in the van drinking coffee, watching films and generally talking bollocks the weather had started to break and people were up and moving. We headed down to Andeer (the nearest town) to pick up a few supplies and waste a bit more time. By the time we had come out of the supermarket the sun was out. We had a little walk around the town then headed back up to camp.

Andear

Andeer

Andeer

Andeer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Andeer

Andeer

We arrived back at camp to see everyone had been getting stuck in with the clean up. For everybody that had got their hands dirty, Bodhi camping (the campsite) had organised a hog roast and a load of pasta and salad for the evening. Switzerland is one of the cleanest countries I have ever been to and Magic Wood is definetly the cleanest crag I have been to. But we got amongst and headed into the woods for a couple of hours to try to find some littler. As expected we didn’t come back with much, a bit of finger tape, an old banana skin and a bit of scrap metal that had been washed up by the river. Al started to get a bit excited seeing some dry rock and wanted to come back with some pads. Luckily I managed to talk him out of it. I explained to his one track mind that it would be rather annoying to climb most of a dry problem (due to that it’s overhanging) and not be able to top out on anything because it all was soaked. We headed back for  pork and beer by the fire.

Day 3

It was a cold clear morning. After a quick coffee we rushed into woods. The conditions were premo, there were a few things still a little damp but a lot of boulders had dried out and were in top nick. Heath got straight down to business on the “beach boulder” while Winslow (Steve) decided it was a good idea to warm up, dyno-ing from a really small crimp to a jug, 6c. As you would expect this didn’t start that well.

Steve demonstrating how not to warm up

Steve demonstrating how not to warm up

After doing the jump and the right hand arête that felt harder than the jump but only got 6a+ we moved on to an awesome looking ramp line that had a right sting in the tail. To the left of that was a short but good-looking 7c+/8a. After a couple of goes I got really close not quite latching the finishing jug. After a bit of a rest and a couple more goes I latched the top hold.  Al was trying with me but he couldn’t reach the way I was doing it. He had come up with a slightly different sequence which he got close on but had to stop before he went through a tip.

Just latching the top hold on the 7c+/8a

Just latching the top hold on the 7c+/8a

We pushed on across the hill to a bloc which had a couple of good looking problems on it. Again they didn’t have any names but there was a 6c up the left hand arête which had a heinous first move, and an awesome 7a+ that pulled round the right arête on to a slopey shelf. I took pictures while the others worked out the moves, once they had I swooped in on the flash.

Max on unknown 7a+

Max on unknown 7a+

Al on unknown 7a+

Al on unknown 7a+

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Following on from that we moved one bloc over to a biggish roof which had a 6c,7b and a 7c that all started in the same place. We padded out the landing for all three and everybody got amongst. Al and I started on “Mirocomos”, the 7c. It took the line of a really slopey shelf then pulled the lip after it had traversed left. I played on this for a bit but It felt desperate, I could barely hang two of the holds. It wasn’t long before I packed it in and moved on to “Treeattack” 7b. The name is well suited, It took a more direct line out of the roof to a horrific top out, that if you were to drop you would hit the tree that was just behind you. It had a morfo (long/reachy) first move which took a bit of working out. Once I got that I did the problem. When I was topping out my foot slipped a little and Steve let out this death defying shriek that scared all of us especially me. Luckily I didn’t drop it, land on him or the tree. It’s safe to say I topped out ever so slightly gripped. The morning temps had passed and it was starting to warm up a bit. We went in search for two classic problems on the same boulder, “Wonderboy” 5b and “Foxy Lady” 8a. On the way we stopped of at this cool looking prow/fin that apparently went at 6b+. Al onsighted it while the rest of us spent the next 40 minutes screaming, slapping and generally loosing skin on it. After a long hard battle the rest of us did it, only just.

Highlander 6b+

Highlander 6b+

Wonderboy took this amazing overhanging natural ramp line and Foxy lady broke out of that through this thin crack. I managed to do all the moves on Foxy lady pretty quick but linking them was totally different story. Heath on the other hand with her small fingers that could fit in the crack managed to link half of the problem on like her third go, BEAST! After a few more goes and a bit of a rest, I had a good burn and managed to link it up until one move from the jug.  After that tiredness was getting the better of me so I moved on and did Wonderboy. The first time I came to Magic wood was back in summer 2005 after doing 2 bouldering world cups in Italy. There was one problem I got close too but due to a lack of skin I didn’t quite get. It’s called “Octopussy”,8a, so after we were finished up at Wonderboy we ventured on to try to find it. When we found it, it looked just how I remembered it but the holds didn’t feel as good as I remembered them to be. Before I got back on Octopussy we tried a problem just opposite called “Space Cowboy” 7b. I think this was the hardest 7b I did on the trip, I know I was tired by this point but it was nails! Al and Steve were trying it with me but didn’t quite managed it. Steve moved on to a 6c+ just to the right which he made quick work of, both Al and I got the flash. After we were done on the 6c+ I shifted the pads across to Octopussy, I thought it would be rude not to try as we came looking for it. I managed all the moves quick and linked it from the crux to the end which I was quite happy with. But It had been a long day and I was way too tired to do it from the start, so we headed back for some well deserved scoff.

Day 4

We headed back up to the area where “Moo’s Gully” is to warm up. Max wanted to try “Enterprise”, an awesome looking 7a and I wanted to have a look at a classic line called “Sofasurfer” 8a/a+.  After warming up on a few easier things Al found a good-looking 7a called ” Kuchenmoster”. This had a bit of a hard first move and high thin slabby  top-out. Once Max, Al and I had sent that we moved over to Sofasurfer. The line followed these awesome sloppey crimps up an overhanging wall. After a couple of goes I linked it to the crux but as soon as I got there I knew it wasn’t going to go that day due to skin. So we shifted the pads to the right to a 7c called “Foo Fighter”. This went up the right hand arete. After a bit of debating on how and where it started I dropped the first moved pulled back on and sent it second go.  After a bit of work and almost giving up Al managed to send it too. Heath quite liked the look of this little 6c+ roof called “Mairoschen” so we moved the pads over and she got amongst. I took one look at it and said it’s going to be nails and I’m not getting involved. And sure enough I was right, even Al couldn’t do it.

Heath sat under Mairoschen 6c+

Heath sat under Mairoschen 6c+

We moved just down the hill to Enterprise 7a. Sleepy Steve had woken up and got straight down to business with Max while Al spotted and I took pictures. It wasn’t long and there were shapes being thrown all over the place, heals, toes, slapping, matching and after not very long Max dispatching.

Max sending Enterprise 7a

Max sending Enterprise 7a

Max sending Enterprise 7a

Max sending Enterprise 7a

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After Max sent it Al and I put our shoes on. Al made quick work of it, I got the flash and Steve sent it shortly after.

Al sending Enterprise

Al sending Enterprise

I was feeling pretty fresh so I dragged the team back over to Octopussy. As I had done all the moves the day before I went straight in from the start. Octopussy is situated in a large roof. You start by doing a move to a crimpy rail which you match, from there you do a huge move across the roof to a sloper on the lip. Once you get the slope  you swing a heel to just below the slope and bump again for a crimp. (Well that’s the way I was doing it). From there there’s a couple more moves where you rock onto a slab but it’s pretty much over then. I spent about an hour on it but couldn’t get my heel out to below the slope. A bit of tiredness and both the rail and the slope feeling pretty greasy due to my lack of skin, I called it a day.  By this time it was early evening and conditions were feeling pretty good even with bad skin. Al still had some unfinished business with Man of the Cow, the 7c Max and I did on the first day. Heather also wanted to get back on Super crack the 6c just to the right.Within minutes of padding out the landing Al dispatched Man of the Cow super quick.

Al sending Enterprise

Al sending Enterprise

Once Al had got down Heath didn’t waste much time and had started padding out the Super crack. It wasn’t long and she did one of the moves that she was struggling with on the first day. Now just the lip to tackle. After a bit of working out she managed to do the move by almost inverting and getting a bicycle in the roof to pull the lip.

Once Heath had declared the super crack we headed up the hill to two problems. The first was a 7b+ called “Strib Lansam”, we padded out the landing and chalked and brushed the holds we could reach. The hanging start looked a bit tricky, there wasn’t much for feet so I pulled on and “campus-ed” the first move, chucked a heel on and then sent the rest of the problem. Psyched! It wasn’t long before Max, Al and finally Steve all sent it as well. The second problem on the agenda was called Son of a gun 7c. It started on a low rail with a really high foot, you made a really hard move up to a slopey crimp then made another hard move out left to a more positive crimp then through for a jug. after failing on the first move for a while and realising the high foot wasn’t really working I managed to find a cheeky left toe hock. The first move was still hard but I latch the crimp and then fell on the next move. After a bit of a rest I pulled on and sent next go. Max had a good go and managed to get the crimp with the high foot but couldn’t do the next move. The light was starting to fade and we were all feeling rather tired. There were two more problems left on the agenda and both were on the way out. We reached “James Bong” 7a+/b. Steve had previously seen a team on it earlier that day. By all accounts they were having a little difficulty with it, shouting, swearing and Steve even saw a pad get thrown down the hill. It didn’t quite go that far but there was a bit of screaming and shouting. Al managed to get it first and I closely followed. After the rest of the team and exhausted themselves on James Bong started making our way down, making one final stop on the way. Al had one last problem left uncompleted. It was Red Roses, the 7a+ I did on the first day. The evening temps were good, he pulled on a did it first go.

Magic Wood

Magic Wood

The walk out of the woods was quiet, I think we were all pretty tired. It was a shame it was such a short trip, but you have to make the most of what little time you have. This was the first bouldering trip I have been in over a year or so and it was awesome, bring on the winter!

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