Hi everybody, This blog spot will be mainly dedicated to describe my week in Valais, an amazing area where many gems deserve to be visited. Before the principal topic I would like to write something about one weekend in Magic Wood and Murgtal, a new area for me. Magic Wood has been almost absent from my summer list for some causes, but basically because I wanted to avoid it since it is completely crowed by climbers in July and august and I would have difficulty to find a quiet place where to climb and where to put my tent.
In September an abundant part of people usually leaves the place,the temperature goes down and it becomes good for the conditions because although a lot of climbers consider it like a summer spot, I think it isn’t because in September or in April/May everything is different. My friends and I planned to go there on the second weekend of the month, but during the night I was sick and I had to quit. The weekend after I went there with Marco, Alice and Max. During Saturday I crushed “steppenwolf” 8B where I failed three times on the mantle in June. Max shot me some good photos and filmed me during the ascent. On Sunday the 16th we went to Murtgal where there are some good lines opened by Fred Nicole.
In the morning we were in the higher part, lake sector. The place is enjoyable, among the mountain, green grasses,red rocks and blue river which flows into the lake. Marco and I climbed a really particular boulder called “unscheinbarer pfeiler” 7A+ then we decided to go down to the lower sector. This part of murtagl isn’t as nice as the first one, the wood is middling, the rock has a poor quality and many mosquitoes buzzed around us. In the evening we moved to other side of the road where the place is better and there is one of the greatest line I have seen in Swiss,“entlinge”. I was a bit tired and cold but I really wanted to put my hands on it. The rock is amazing and it gives an incredible sequence of perfect holds. I was able to do every single moves except a turning of feet in the middle. I am really psyched to come back.
The week later my plans were to go to Switzerland and to follow a logical tour from Martigny to Sustenpass together with Giulia. The weather made hard our projects and after three or four days in Valais we wanted to go to Bleau, but also there the rain was expected so we stayed in Valais for a whole week. We had our base in a camping in Vernayaz and from there I wanted to check some spots like Vernayaz itself, Massongex, Branson and specially Fionnay because since three years I was curious to see the big cave and permanent midnight. I will write a little diary of the trip below.
Day 1 (19/9) We started from Valdengo and we reached Vernayaz at 6 o’clock in the evening. I didn’t climb that day but I was really motivated to visit at least one of the principal areas. We went to Vernayaz whereas it is really close to the camping and it seemed quite easy to find. Obviously, like every new place where I go I’m a genius to lose the right way, in fact we got lost into a private area. During the second attempt, we reached the right parking near the fishes pool and we took the path alongside to the boxes of the bees. After two mins I was under the devil’s boulder, a huge overhang where there are the famous lines of the crag like touch by the devil,satan and so on. After a fast tour into the wood, unfortunately still rich of the green leafs on the trees, we went to the camping to eat a pasta and I got nervous during the assembly of the tent because every time I fail the right sequence of the sticks.
Day 2 (20/9) We went to Vernayaz in the morning, hoping to take advantage of the freshness below the shadow of the devil’s boulder. I warmed up on two nice easy boulders and immediately I understood that the rock was great. I started to work on “les yeux rouges” 7C+. It starts on a good rail, takes a good hold for the left hand and then it has a gaston move in the middle which is the crux because I had to keep strong my body and don’t lose my left stretched foot. After that it goes almost easily to the top. After some mins of rest I tried “touch by the devil” 8B and I did every single move fast enough by getting a good motivation for the days after. In the early afternoon we reached fionnay,finally. We walked on the path and, getting into the wood, I was dazzled by the greatness of the big roof. It has a white,grey and black granit, the roof stands 2 meters and half from the ground and it has three overhanging walls for the exits. I knew just three lines on it but I don’t have any idea of how many of them are possible. It is incredible and no film or no photo can make true its largeness. If you go there, you would remain completely hit by it. After checking out it and a fast lunch I put the pads under the most significant aims of the trip, “permanent midnight” 8B. Looking at it, it seemed really possible and totally suitable to my climbing style, powerful and with a compression at the end. Also this one is a big boulder and it is black and grey, amazing to see. I crushed it on fourth go from the start and I was super happy and cheerful when I was at the top because I wanted to do it since some years and it was a big satisfaction for me. I made some photos then we came back to our tent to eat something since we had a rich day.
Day 3 (20/9) I was a bit tired from the physical second day but I was also motivated to go to climb. We went to Vernayaz for some photos and videos on “les yeux rouges” then I tried “touch by the devil” again, but I failed on the crux. At 13 o’clock I decided to leave and I moved toward Massongex. There, I really wanted to check out the “Aquila” boulder. When I found it it looks pretty cool but I preferred to start with “asterie” 8A which has the same start of “aquila” then it lightly goes to the right in the middle of the roof. I went for a flash attempt but I missed the correct beta to do it. I worked it a bit and I took one of my biggest snaps on the last little crimp. After some mins of rest I managed to climb it and I took a day of rest also because the day after it would be rainy.
Day 4 (21/9) Rest and rainy day.
Day 5 (22/9) Maybe the best day of the trip. In the morning we always went to Vernayaz, good place to get the temperature and great rock to start in a good way the day. After a fast warm up I tried again touch and for a plentiful hour I went on to be rejected by its. Then, I understood that I had to change some little positions with my body which permitted me to reach the gaston with the index in the right point and not just half centimeter below. It seems crazy how sometime just small micro changes can make a big different between do it or not do it. before understanding it, I failed because I had my right foot coated and the left one on a foothold, then I tried to release the left foot and I got the pushing just with the right one but my position was different and I took the handhold correctly to rise up the heel hook which seemed hard with the other feet beta. It is considered like an 8B and it required me an hard work as a true 8B but, considering the temperature, 17 degrees, I though that it could be easier with the cold in fact I proposed 8A+. After that, Fionnay called me, specially the big roof of scarred for life. We reached it in the first afternoon and when we were under it other guys were trying the line which I want to check. After a good warm up I was ready to try “scarred for life” not the whole dave’s line but the higher version, 8A+. During the first go I fell in the middle, climbing the first part. Then, after having tried the upper moves I went for the second attempt and I did it. I risked to fall down on the last move because I took the jug really pumped. It was great climbing it, an amazing line with a solid and perfect rock, really emotional for me.
Day 6 (23/9) Rainy day again, I had to rest and my skin was reborn in a good shape. In the evening we went to martigny to eat a great crepe, it was already six days that I missed sweet eating J
Day 7 (24/9) In the morning we were on “touch by the devil” for some photos and I truely realized that with more cold it’s easier but however such a great line to climb. After some photos I came back to Fionnay and I figured out a beta for the first part of the whole “scarred for life” and it adds a really big hard sequences to the higher one. Six hard and long moves on roof and hard feet works to stay on which tired me after few attempts. When we left the rain came again and we had to search a new spot to climb. We went closer to the pass but the clouds were threatening, so I decided, despite the temperature, to go to Branson, just above Fully. Like many knows, there are the most historical boulder problems in the world, opened by the big visionary Fred Nicole many years ago. My goal was trying “radja” the first 8B+ in the world. Recently, from 2 years I think, some climbers who did it, used a different beta from Fred and it results easier. When Nicole did it, he went directly to the undercling from the fourth hold. Now it is used a new crimp, really close to this one, and it allows us to get a higher body position to take more easily the undercling. The grade obviously changes in 8B but I think that it is logical to take the crimp. After some minutes I did every single moves while two years ago I felt them really hard and three of them rejected me completely despite the cold temperature and the fantastic grip. I understood that it would be possible, maybe the morning later. I rested a bit, meanwhile two locals climbers arrived. When he worked on radja I administrated my attempts very well and I felt that radja would be possible. I tried again and surprisingly I was at the top. I took the undercling perfectly and my body was in a correct position to rise up as when I tried it like a single move and I grabbed the higher crimp. I was insomuch focused on it that when I did the last two moves i wasn’t able of understanding what I was doing. Two strong shouts came out,I closed my eyes when I was going to the last jug and I was completely exhausted, but extremely happy and cheerful because I climbed a pure line like radja, a little dream came true! I came back to the camping with a big happiness.
Day 8 (25/9) Last day in Valais. Basically destroyed by the previous days, skin hurted and back aching, but the motivation was still high. The destination was Branson again and we passed among the tight curves protected only by the house’s wall of nice village of branson for the last time. My aim was “La transion celeste”, already tried two years ago but really strange to climb. I did every single moves, but I couldn’t link up the whole historical line. I had to quit. We left Martigny and we went to another spot but I was really tired and I had an emptiness of energy. We took the return way really happy about the trip and with a bit of melancholy. I really want to say thanks to her because it was our first trip together and it was great staying there. Another thanks to my friend Marco to have given me the right info for Fionnay, an amazing place, maybe the best of these eight days of climbing. Another adventure of these days was the route setting for an event in Finale Ligure. There, took place a manifestation for Nepal, a competition of 29 boulders set by me and Marco Nardi on which 200 climbers had fun for 6 hours. In the evening the best 8 men and 8 women challenged on two boulders of semifinal. Then the best 4 for category passed to a turn of final composed by a boulder with a dyno in the end. Michele Caminati won the compt doing the last boulder, while in the women field Giada Zampa took the first place. It has been a fun experience and I hope to set other compt like this because through the route setting I can propose what the climbing is for me and what kind of boulders I like. If somebody wants to have some info about Valais don’t hesitate to write me.