Today, Jon and I headed out for our last climbing day in Brione. I was interested in trying to finish up both Vecchio Leone 8B and General Disarray 8B. They are hands down, two of the best boulder problems I have had the pleasure to climb on. Brione has been seeing some recent snowfall, and the amount of snow on the drive up today foreshadowed potentially unclimbable conditions. We ventured on anyways. Sure enough all of the boulders were in fact covered with snow.
Carlo Traversi's Last Day In Brione
I first went to try Vecchio. The wall and holds were dry, but the top out had a few inches of fresh powder. There were two major seeps making there way down the wall threatening two very important holds. I quickly sacrificed some clothing to the cause, drying up enough of the water to keep the holds out of harms way for a bit longer. I then began my assault on the top out. After a good 30 minutes of brushing, sweeping, and sacrificing more clothing, I deemed the top out (potentially, yet terrifyingly) top out able. At least that’s what I convinced myself…
Vecchio Leone is one of the most amazing boulder problems in the world. It was established by Bernd Zangerl and it is heralded by the world’s top climbers as a benchmark for it’s grade, movement, aesthetics, and beauty. I most definitely agree on all counts. Upon arriving in Switzerland, I set a goal to make a legitimate flash attempt on the problem. A few weeks ago, after sussing beta, discussing with other climbers, and feeling the holds for myself, I gave it a solid flash effort. I surprised myself a bit by falling on the last hard move to the crack crimp. Six days later, even after doing the move, I was still falling there. Today was supposed to be the day. But it wasn’t. I climbed it from the start to the last move probably 10 times today. Being a shorter climber is definitely an issue. My right foot must leave the only foothold on the crux move due to my shorter stature, and it makes the crack significantly harder to stick. Such is life. I will get stronger. I will come back. It was a dream just to climb on it.
After accepting defeat, we headed back down to the car. Despite feeling tired and slightly somber, I still had one boulder left. General Disarray 8B, though not quite as hyped, is just as good as Vecchio. In my opinion, it is better. Pinches and slopers define this perfect piece of rock. The top out, like everything else, was covered in snow and ice today. I quickly went to work, clearing a small section of rock at the top, to make a slippery exit. I’ve tried General Disarray a number of days over the past month, and despite being very much my style of climbing, an ascent has alluded me. I’ve sampled most of the 8B’s in this country and can honestly say that this one feels the hardest. Today the conditions (wind and cold) were perfect and I managed to climb it first try from the start. It’s my favorite boulder problem that I have ever climbed, and it was a great way to say farewell to Brione. Jon got some nice footage that will be posted soon.
We have at least one more climbing day left before flying out on November 30th. It’s been an amazing trip and I should have a more thorough wrap-up posted shortly. As well as a ton of video.
Photo Credit: Connor Griffith