So I am with the group now in Fontainebleau. Yes that of course means that we left Switzerland and Austria. I feel like it is a good time to share my personal reaction and my attempt at an objective critical point of view on these climbing areas instead of just adding to the climbing interweb-o-spheres ravings of 'Switzerland is sick brah' and 'Best rock ever' and 'I am gonna climb 8B here for sure'(optional brah to be added to last statement). While these previous statements are rooted in truth and surely passed out of my mouth over my stay I will try to add a little depth and understanding for all the armchar climbers out there(read; said armchair climber is me when not on occasional trip).
Magic Wood-For sure a must visit. It is far and away the best in sense of density. Also coming from america where granite bouldering means the like of Yosemite and the up and coming Leavenworth, it is really amazing to find pure granite climbing ON HOLDS and STEEP FACES. Yes yes these last statements are true and not blown out of proportion. One feature of MW is that I have never seen hard(read 8A to 8C) boulders so greasy and polished and when you add this to the condition dependent nature of the moisture in the valley can make for some very psyched and yet frustrating days.
The range and diversity of texture held within one climbing area is amazing as well because you have river polished all the way to gritty crimps.
Cresciano- This area is interesting in that we all have come to know it for the one very steep famous boulder that hold Dreamtime and The Story of 2 Worlds, you may call the later 'the story' if you feel cool enough to act burdened by saying the full name. But the truth is that although there are some steep boulders in this area, that are incredible of course, this area is truly a granite area reminiscent of Yosemite and needs appropriate conditions. Because of the hillside nature and completely southern facing feature of Cresciano the winter time is best and we were unable to see its full glory. The amount of climbing wasn’t as staggering as other areas. The rock ranged from much more crystalie in nature than one would ever expect all the way to immaculate.
Chironico- This climbing was by far the biggest of the Ticino areas and this is one of the most impressive features. Just the sheer quantity is enough to dedicate large amounts of time. The rock on the other hand is by far the most bi-polar I have seen in a major area. Climbs like Freak Brothers, Confessions of a Crap Artist and Conquistador are second to none but in most areas you could find truly junky lines close by. The setting is a little more urbanized than I expected in such an immaculate climbing area. There are so many lines and thus the number of ones amazing and crappy are both very high.
Brione- Yes, it is true, this is actually not only the coolest but for sure the best rock I have ever seen. This is granite with the texture of sandstone and the diversity of river sectors to grassy pastures of boulder gardens. This is surly the most amazing climbing sector I have ever seen, ever. The truth is that in my attempt to be critical the area is small and spread out with no topo. If one doesn't want to session on 8A's and harder there os little reason to commit a lot of time other than the fact that it hold the single best 7C in the world known as Molunk. The setting unsurpassed by any and the ambiance is pure Swiss magic.