James Pearson – Swiss Report

James Pearson has just sent us the following report of his trip to Switzerland: I have just returned from 2 amazing weeks in Ticino, Switzerland, great apartment, great boulders and great company. The team was made up of myself, Ben Moon, Rhys Crabtree, Stef Hartle  and a Turkish beast named Seko. Thanks to Rhys and his A star filming gear, we caught it all on film (and will be included on his next DVD) On the 13/02/07 I made what is probably the 3rd ascent of Vecchia Lione 8b/+.  This problem was originally climbed by Bernd Zangerl and is absolutely stunning.  It quests up a steep wall of pristine granite via 5 of the nicest holds I have ever climbed on.  It is the best and hardest problem I have ever done.  Later on that day Ben and I both climbed Frogger 8a on our second try.  Frogger is really cool and would be one of the best 8a?s anywhere save the fact it doesn?t top out. On the 14/02/07 Ben succeeded on The Great Shark Hunt 8b.  This is a Dave Graham problem at Chironico and follows a line of super small but in-cut crimps up a 40degree wall.  On one of his last tries, he dug deep and got all the way through the hard climbing, rocked around the lip only to slip off the last 5a move to the top.  He was pissed to say the least and had a few choice words to say but being the professional that he is, dug even deeper, and topped out in the fading light on his next try; inspiring stuff. I had been working on the wagon project from the Dosage films for a few days.  I had managed to stick the crux jump move in a few tries and also done all the other moves.  I managed to stick the jump move once more on my first day but fell on the second move.  I tried it maybe another 10 times but stopped due to a blood blister on my fingertip. I had two more days on it and tried the first move maybe 50 times but just couldn?t hold it.  By the end of the third day, my fingers were absolutely beaten up and I accepted defeat for now.  The problem is very good and very hard and there is potential for a standing start which would make the problem world class and another level in difficulty. On the last day I decided that I needed to try something really crimpy because the tops of my fingertips were the only parts of my hand that were not cut.  We headed to Brione for my friend Seko to try Frogger and I decided that I would try The Ganymede Takeover which is just to the right.  It was originally climbed by Dave Graham from a low start at 8b+ and repeated by a few people including Zangerl. Being on a beach, the level of the sand changes and often buries the starting holds meaning you can only climb half the problem (missing out a hard move).  Other people have suggested that the problem may only be 8a+/b but it is likely that they only climbed the upper half.  The grade now seems to have settled at 8b.  I was fortunate enough to have the beach low enough to start from the original low start. I warmed up slowly and pulled on for a flash attempt. Since Colorado, I now always try to flash problems regardless of how hard they are because strange things can happen. I managed the first hard move and then climbed to the big hold and arranged my hands and feet for the next moves.  The rock is steep (around 65degrees) and the crimps are very, very small but quite positive and you have a good heel hook.  The next few moves felt ok and I arrived at the crux.  A brief pause to get the distance right and I fired for the next crimp with my left (see photo).  I stuck it and let my body move to its natural position before making the balancy match.  My fingers were a little numb, but I knew the next hold was a bucket and in one motion, released my heel and fired out my right arm.  The jug felt great, as did the swing and I topped out into the morning sun.  A fantastic way to end an amazing trip. I hope to return in March for some unfinished business?