Nostálgica: Bernd Zangerl in Val di Orco

I love granite! It is absolutely my favorite rocktype for bouldering. Usually the lines on granite rocks are so evident and pure, or sometimes just not possible ever to be climbed because of one "missing link".

Bernd ZangerlWithout a doubt the sandstone in South Africa or Fontainebleau also offers worldclass bouldering, as well as in other areas which I don't even know yet! BUT I started bouldering in Ticino, so this is maybe the reason for my keen preference for granite.

After opening some hard problems in the Indian Himalaya and in South Africas Rocklands this year, i was motivated to find some untouched rocks here in Europe. A stunning piece of rock came into my mind thatI had spotted a few years ago, when i was driving through a beautifull italien valley with Fred Nicole. We didn't really have the time for bouldering, so just the memory of this huge boulder remained.

This autumn it was time to go back. I packed my stuff for a longer journey to Val di Orco. A valley full with granite 😉 Big granite walls on each side above you, "little" cliffs and boulders down on the valley floor. I felt like Alice in Wonderland, and was surprised that there were so few boulders opened yet. In the 70's climbers passed by this place. There still are some old problems from those early days to find. But the most obvious lines waited till now;-) DISCOVERER BONUS?

I started right off with one of the best pieces of rock that I found in my whole life – the European version of Midnight Lightning, however maybe a little bit smaller but nevertheless with three stunning problems on it. Each line is unique in it's style with very technical and powerful movements. The rock in this area is rare "Augengneis" which requires precise foot-technique and a cool mind on the exciting topouts. It took me some time to figure out the best sequences and to feel confident to do these little Highballs alone. (just on Nostalgica i had a great spotter!! Thanks Alex!! )

"BRAVIRABI" was the first problem i opened. The standstart didn`t feel so hard, however with 6 additional moves for the sitdown start makes the upper crux fairly intense.

"EL SALVADOR," (on the same boulder ) is a totally different climbing experience. On this crazy featured problem move number five is the crux and leds you to the final mantle five meters above the ground. I gave both problems the same grade even though they are of a completely different style."TEMENOI" has a harder move in it, but felt easier to climb. So the grades should be ( as always ) taken as an indicator. But with some mondo pads, a bunch a spotters and a i phone the lines will go down faster. I had to do them with "100" % control. A fall on the top out will not feel good.

Motivation was high and i visited the little village of Noasca three more times. I opened a bunch of new lines in this beautiful valley. For more information, great hospitality, delicious italian food and accomodation just visit Sabrina and Sandro in the RESTOBAR GRAN PARADISO in Noasca;-) THE place for hungry climbers;-)

Favorite first ascents:
(The grades apply for climbers with 175cm / 67kg / ape-index180 / no spotters / 2 crashpads ) 😉
El Salvador (8ab / HB+)
Bravirabi (8ab / HB-)
Temenoi (8ab)
The 7b Project (…for sure harder than 7b)
Amour de la montagne (7b)

QuelleBernd Zangerl, Foto: Yannick Boissenot