All Photos: Gerrit Snoek Christmas is the perfect moment to escape the Netherlands and search for a nice boulder area, good bouldering conditions and a lack of family dinner...We rented a house in Claro, which is only 10 minutes away from Cresciano, for a week. I only had been in Cresciano for a few hours before so there where more than enough problems to try for me, the only problem was that I wanted to do them all. On the one hand I wanted to project the Dagger (8b+) and la Proue (8b) but on the other hand I wanted to send a lot of boulders in the 7c/8a range. For me those two things are hard to combine, I did try la Proue and the Dagger briefly but I soon concluded that I needed (at least) a few days to a week to climb one of them. In an area, which has so many problems that I hadn't done yet I simply didn't want to devote the whole week to a single problem (with the risk of failure in the back of my mind). So I focused this week on sending multiple good problems that I could do in (approximately) a day. Cresciano is home to some very good and classic problems; Reve the Mario, la Boule, la Pelle, Junge Book, Dreamtime, Frank's wild years (which I had done last year), Kirk Windstein and some more. Last year I briefly worked in la Pelle (8a) and had a god night session in Reve the Mario (8a), I had some unfinished business with these two problems. I sent la Pelle (the left variation) on the first day and I think it is a hard and technical boulder but a really nice one. The second day I did la Boule (8a), again a great classic! La Boule has a weird and technical start to an edgy and powerful finish, when I finally worked out the sequence for the beginning I had no problems anymore with the rest; long moves on positive edges suits me really good. The day after we had a forced rest day, the only day of rain. I won't complain about it because we had such a great week, besides this one-day we had a blue sky every day! The next day it was on again and I wanted to finish Jungle Book sit start (8a/8a+), the day before the rest day I had worked on it for about an hour but I didn't find the right (foot) beta for the beginning. The boulder can be divided in two parts, the first part is a bit more technical with an arête and the second part is powerful, big moves in overhanging terrain. I really like this boulder, it looks good and climbs even better. Thanks to some locals who gave me better beta for the first part I could send this one as well. Jungle book sit is graded 8a/8a+, for me it felt harder than all the other 8a's I did in Cresciano but I think the style of this boulder suits me the most. That is why I think that Jungle Book sit is (an easy) 8a+, but it could be hard 8a as well. Enough said about grades, back to the boulders themselves. I still had to finish Reve the Mario, the best looking boulder in its grade. Reve is the first 8a of Ticino (FA Fred Nicole, who else), the whole boulder is only three moves; two slaps on the arête and an jump to the top. This sounds easy but all the moves are so insecure (and the arête is sharp as hell), it is hard to feel the progression because every slap on the arête has to be perfect, missing the spot and the attempt is lost (for me) which costs a lot of skin. Luckily I kept my coolness (which means taking enough rests between attempts) and Reve the Mario was in the bag. During the photo shoot after the send (I had to have some pictures of this perfect boulder) my skin became so thin that some fingertips started to bleed, next day, restday! The last one and a half day Dreamtime stand (8a+) was all I wanted to do, what a perfect piece of rock is that! It starts with a dyno (one of the starting hold has broken and the dyno is a lot harder than a few years ago) followed by seven semi hard moves. In a few hours I could do all the moves after the dyno but that dyno was still too hard. On the last day I wanted to give it all I had left, a few times I was close sticking the dyno but my skin was getting to thin and my power was drained from all the attempts, but no grief I had an very good week. Next time I go to Cresciano Dreamtime is on the top of the to do list, followed by the Dagger. But that is probably next year, first some trips to Fontaineblau are being planned.
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