Climbing in Ticino 2019

Ari and I headed off to Ticino for a long weekend. The plan had been to go to Tannheimer Tal to climb but since the weather forecast there looked awful we found a plan B. Unfortunately we got stuck in traffic on the way down and didn’t arrive until later in the afternoon. The weather was great. It was like stepping into summer again. We had a nice little Air BnB room from a very friendly couple. It was located near Ponte Brolla where I’ve climbed a few times now.

After unpacking we went for a walk in the hills. We didn’t have so much time as it gets dark so early again now. In the evening we BBQed with the Air BnB couple. They went inside to eat and we used their nice stone table for our tasty meal of chicken, BBQed veggies and a long curly sausage (which we had been given by our hosts)

That was Thursday.

Ari checking out the routes (Climbing in Ticino Oct 2019)View from our Air BnB (Climbing in Ticino Oct 2019)

1) Ari and I escaped to Ticino for a long weekend. Originally we had planned to go to Tannheimer Tal but the weather forecast looked bad so we opted for some warmth in reliable Ticino. 2) We had a little Air BnB with some friendly hosts. It was just a bedroom and bathroom but we had a garden we could use and the hosts went away for the weekend and let us use their kitchen too. It wasn’t far away from Ponte Brolla just a few km.

Getting ready to BBQ (Climbing in Ticino Oct 2019)Ari eating (Climbing in Ticino Oct 2019)

1) We went for a short walk in the afternoon when we arrived as we had got there quite late due to stau. Our hosts invited us to BBQ with them. We took up their offer and wrapped up some vegies in foil. 2) We had a yummy dinner.

On Friday we drove into the valley near Ponte Brolla and did a multipitch climb there. It was the typical grippy style of climbing. No real holds, just friction. We did another two pitch climb afterwards. The second pitch had a few real holds which was nice. It was a bit colder and grey during the day. I ran back to the Air BnB in the evening and met Ari there.

Ari climbing (Climbing in Ticino Oct 2019)

Above: We went climbing  up the valley from Ponte Brolla where we had had our climbing course in 2017. We did an easy multipitch followed by a short two pitch route. The climbing was the typical flat grippy style. I ran back through the hills to our Air BnB afterwards and met Ari there.

On Saturday we went up a different valley and walked up through the forest to some cliffs full of Germans. It was nice and warm again. We did a nice grippy multipitch which ended in a pitch with some real holds again. We drove to Locarno in the late afternoon and got an ice cream.

Us (Climbing in Ticino Oct 2019)View back down the valley (Climbing in Ticino Oct 2019)

Above left: It was warm and sunny again. We drove further up into the hills and then carried our climbing gear up into the forest to a crag buried in the woods. We did a nice multipitch route. It was grippy smeary rock again except for the last pitch which required a bit of strength and had larger holds. This turned out to be the most enjoyable pitch. We abseiled back down making the most of my double ropes and headed back through the forest.

Above right: We had a nice view down the valley from the crag and the sunshine prompted us to think of heading to Lago Maggiore at the bottom of the valley.

Ari at the lake again (Climbing in Ticino Oct 2019)

Above: After climbing we drove down to Locarno and got an icecream. We walked along the water front for a while and laughed at the high society that were apparently appalled at my bare feet.

On Sunday we did another multipitch, again near Ponte Brolla. It was a bit like gardening. We started late as usual and parked near the river. It was already lunch time so we ate down at the river and lazed there for a bit. After a while we managed to motivate ourselves to walk up the hill a bit to the bottom of the climbs. We started on the far left and I lead the first pitch. The anchor was somehow not really there so I used a pile of slings and created a scary anchor of dubiousness around a tree. It seemed like it would probably be ok so I radioed Ari to start climbing. She climbed up the slightly slanting rock (it was a bit like hiking) arriving at the anchor of dubiousness.

She agreed to lead the next pitch and set off through the grass arriving again at some rock. The pitch was nice with some real holds. I lead the following pitch up to an abseil ring and we decided to call it a day from there. The final pitch looked a little like a loose rock fest.

We did some creative abseiling and then headed back down to the car for our quick drive home. This turned into a traffic jam nightmare and we arrived back in Lindau late in the night.

Cris is not so sure about his anchor (Climbing in Ticino Oct 2019)Ari belaying me (Climbing in Ticino Oct 2019)

1) We picked a slightly less used route from the guide. The anchor at the top of the first pitch seemed to be lost in action so I rigged up this abomination. It wasn’t steep though and the climbing wasn’t difficult and it seemed to hold ok. 2) Ari continued up through the garden and the anchors improved. We ended up bailing on the last pitch due to some very loose dubious looking rocks and the anchor being a single abseil ring.

Horüti Overbooking Dec 2018

Sam organised a birthday party at their “Horueti” (hut) in Switzerland. Most people headed over there on Friday evening but I took the train on Saturday arriving in the evening. Sam and Sebas had organised a bunch of games to play such as chopping wood for the fire, egg (tomato) and spoon races, guess the random food while blind-folded, put lipstick on some unsuspecting person while blind-folded and curry eating. The last being dinner.

The weather was a bit average so we stayed around inside on Sunday playing various board games and the two guitars we had brought with us.

Abra getting ready to swing the axe (Horüti overbooking Dec 2018Making Sebas extra beautiful (Horüti overbooking Dec 2018)

Above left: We had a series of tasks in the evening and we broke into teams to determine which team was best at a particular task. Wood chopping was one such task. Above right: We played the blindfolded lipstick game.

All made up (Horüti overbooking Dec 2018)Curry time (Horüti overbooking Dec 2018)

Above left: The results from the blind folded lipstick application were amazing. Above right: In the evening we ate an extremely spicy curry.

Rainy times (Horüti overbooking Dec 2018)Breakfast time (Horüti overbooking Dec 2018)

Above left: Outside the weather was cold and wet. Above right: Breakfast was a healthy mix of bread and cereals.

Lights (Horüti overbooking Dec 2018)Sebas (Horüti overbooking Dec 2018)

Above left: The atmosphere was warm and cosy. Above right: Sebas and Sam hosted us. The low light made focussing a struggle.

Sam (Horüti overbooking Dec 2018)

Above: Sam, the birthday girl.

Above: Johannes the lumberjack showing us all how to chop wood.

Transruinaulta Marathon 2018

Leonie and I headed to Switzerland late on Friday evening and camped at the same little camping ground as last year. It’s up in the hills off the winding road that runs along the top of the ravine there.

After a chilly night we drove to Ilanz early in the morning and got ready for the Transruinaulta marathon that starts there. We did the same race last year. It’s a marathon length trail run that heads through the hills. It has 1800 m of climbing in total and is quite scenic.

It was very cold in the morning this year and we shivered and huddled like penguins in the crowd at the start line. Officially Leonie should have started 4 seconds before me. The trails are narrow so they have a staggered start system. Instead of starting before me though she pushed me in front so that all she had to do was cross the finish line at the same time as me and she would be four seconds faster. Very cunning indeed. I decided my only chance was to run fast. Makes sense really. But I chose to run fast over the first 15 km flat section for another reason. The race has a strange little neutralised section of 200 m just before the end of the first section. Usually cycle races have neutralised sections, less so running races. The section is there though to make it fairer when crossing the railway line. The line is in the neutralised section so if a train holds you up you aren’t penalized.

My plan was to run fast to this section, hopefully reaching it before Leonie and then waiting for her. That way I’d just need to keep up with her to the finish and then my net time would be faster… Clearly it’s all about tactics. Clearly.

Anyway, the race started and after 30 seconds Leonie was directly behind me. So far… not good. I ran at a pace between 4.5 and 5 minutes for the first section and did in fact get there before her. Then I hid in the porta-loo, mostly because I needed to use it but also partly because I thought Leonie might steam past and then I could creep up on her from behind. Tactics. It’s all about tactics.

Leonie materialised and I graciously let her cross the timing mat before me as we left the neutralised zone. The climbing began not long after and so did the pain. By 20 km I was already quite sore. I left Leonie behind somewhere but after a descent I saw her behind me again. This section was mostly on little single tracks and forestry roads. I ended up running with Leonie more or less until the drinks station at 30 km where I was slightly slower. My legs were pretty sore and I told her I’d see her at the finish. She didn’t need to be told twice and she set off. I followed shortly after stopping briefly to pee, which turned out ultimately to be my downfall.

From the drinks station there was a long descent and then a few more nasty short and sharp hills. I saw Leonie again briefly in front of me on the second to last hill but then she was gone again. Surprisingly, although my legs were very sore I could still run downhill at an ok pace, and hobble along on the flat. This was in contrast to the Ultra Marathon in the Black Forest a couple of weeks ago. I tried to keep my pace up hoping I’d either see Leonie in front of me or arrive at the finish close enough behind her to have a faster nett time.

The last descent ends in a 200 m run on tar seal with a gradual gradient. My legs threatened to cramp and I had to run fairly slow. I turned the corner and crossed the finish line finding Leonie there. She was a bit surprised to see me there. We hung around at the finish line eating and lazing. Then it was time to check the results that had been printed out. It turns out we had very close times, very very close but I was nine seconds slower than Leonie. Nine seconds! Oh no… If only I didn’t need to pee, then I would have finished first! Oh, sad times. Well first out of Leonie and I. But that’s what counts.

Getting ready before the start (Transruinaulta Marathon Oct 2018)Cris at the finish (Transruinaulta Marathon Oct 2018)Leonie at the finish(Transruinaulta Marathon Oct 2018)Cris and Leonie at the finish (Transruinaulta Marathon Oct 2018)Nice warm afternoon (Transruinaulta Marathon Oct 2018)

1) It was a cold morning and we made the most of the inside gym area for getting ready before the race.

2) I had a much better race than the year before finishing about 35 minutes faster. Leonie and I had a battle that she ultimately won by 9 seconds due to my weak bladder!

3) Leonie trying not to look smug at the finish line after her glorious victory.

4) Smiles at the finish line. A nice race this year.

5) It was a nice warm autumn afternoon at the finish line.

Transruinaulta Trailmarathon 2018

Time: 4:44.39,5 Dst: 42km/1800m Place: Cat Place: 54