Video tribute to Ticino: Ticino Gravity

Ticino Gravity explores what bouldering is really about and provides insights into the history and background of bouldering. This magical region has captivated climbers from all over the world for decades. These include legends and pioneers who not only found personal challenges in the Ticino bouldering blocks, but also a deep connection to nature and the climbing community. 

Many climbers are attracted by the appeal of Ticino's bouldering blocks. As early as the 80s, the magnetic appeal of the Swiss area proved to be irresistible Richi Signer, sport climber and boulderer from the very beginning, confirms:

What caught my eye were the countless blocks with the finest surface texture. My heart rate increased immediately and my eyes were only focused on the enormous bouldering possibilities.

Richi Signer

Ticino: love at first sight

40 years later it's Black Diamond Athlete Kim Marschner Similar: “I immediately fell in love with Ticino and knew that I wanted to spend time in this bouldering area to repeat legendary classics and explore new boulders.”

Rectangle_Knatsch in Magic Wood
Its beauty, like here in Brione, combined with its incredible variety of rocks, has made Ticino one of the most famous bouldering areas in the world. Image: Alex Fuchs
Its beauty, like here in Brione, combined with its incredible variety of rocks, has made Ticino one of the most famous bouldering areas in the world. Image: Alex Fuchs

For Kim Marschner and Kaddi Lehmann, Ticino has almost become a second home. They will show you where their love for this area comes from and take you on a journey to one of the best and most famous bouldering areas in the world - Ticino. With its world class bouldering areas like Chironico, Cresciano, Callanca, Brione and Valle Bavona, where bouldering history was written.

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No more numb fingers when climbing or bouldering

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Homage and call at the same time

They follow in the footsteps of Claudio Cameroni, Fred Nicole, Bernd Zangerl, Thomas “Steini” Steinbrugger, Michi and Ivan Tresch, to name just a few. That's why they met with Richi Signer, one of the first visionaries who recognized the potential of bouldering in Chironico. 

Ticino Gravity is not only a tribute to Ticino and bouldering, but also a call to action to learn more about the thorny access issues, the local culture and our own climbing community, so that together we can preserve these beautiful places that we love love. 

Kim Marschner has already repeated many hard lines in Ticino and developed new test pieces. Image: Alex Fuchs
Kim Marschner has already repeated many hard lines in Ticino and developed new test pieces. Image: Alex Fuchs

Embrace Gravity (8B+): Kim Marschner's latest test piece

Experience report from Kim Marschner

«I was in Ticino for the first time in 2016. That's when I turned 18 and was finally allowed to drive a car. I bought my first bus, invited two friends and then we drove to Switzerland.

My attention soon turned to Val Bavona. This is a side valley of the Valle Maggia, and when I went there for the first time I was overwhelmed by the incredible amount of bouldering blocks.

You drive up this narrow valley and right at the beginning there are whole fields of boulders to the left and right of the road. The special thing about Bavona is that most of the bouldering problems developed are 8a or more difficult.

In this small valley there are over ten bouldering problems rated 8C and harder. I don't know of any other place in the world where this is the case. 

Kim Marschner
Kim Marschner was in Ticino for the first time in 2016, and since then he has been drawn back to the sunshine of Switzerland again and again. Image: Alex Fuchs
Kim Marschner was in Ticino for the first time in 2016, and since then he has been drawn back to the sunshine of Switzerland again and again. Image: Alex Fuchs

Perhaps the perfect block

I spent hours and days hiking through the forest and up the hills looking for boulder blocks. I'm motivated by the thought of finding the one boulder that stands out from all the others. To be honest, I don't even know what this boulder should look like.

In any case, it should be high and heavy, overhanging, with clear structures. But ultimately it's hard to imagine this boulder block, and that's why I'll keep looking and probably never stop. 

Last year Jimmy Webb and his friend Roman found this really cool boulder at the top of the valley. They invited me to try the boulder together. It's a big overhanging wall with crazy structures.

To be honest, it's pretty close to the perfect boulder I had in mind. But like I said, I always want to find something even bigger. 

Kim Marschner
Jimmy Webb climbs The new Abnormal. To the right, Kim Marschner will later open Embrace Gravity (8B+). Image: Mellow Climbing
Jimmy Webb climbs The new Abnormal. To the right, Kim Marschner will later open Embrace Gravity (8B+). Image: Mellow Climbing

Jimmy soon climbed a line on the left side of the block and called it “The New Abnormal.” It's a great 8B+/C boulder, but more difficult if you're smaller. My focus was more on the right exit of the boulder, because height didn't really matter on this line. But last year I couldn't climb the decisive move until the end of the season. 

A new beta is needed

This year I returned with the goal of cracking the boulder. On the second day in Bavona I carried all my crash pads there and started again. I quickly found out that the moves I tried last year didn't work. So I looked for another way.

Instead of snapping from a small ledge-like hole to a flat ledge, I found a toehook for the right foot as well as a way to rise high with the left foot so that I could keep this move static.

After many attempts, I finally made the move for the first time. The game continues! 

Kim Marschner

The next time I felt tired and couldn't climb the train. A little frustrated, I decided to take two days of rest and try again with renewed energy. My plan worked and I was able to repeat the move, but I still wasn't able to connect the start to it.

The next time the conditions were better, the skin on my fingers was great and I felt strong. After warming up thoroughly I was ready to give it a go, but I fell again at the crux.

Coming from the bottom, it's really hard to grab the narrow hole in the right way and that makes the move even more challenging.

Kim Marschner

Another attempt, another fall. Again – nothing again. I realized I was getting tired and it was time for a break. I walked down to the parking lot and warmed up in my car. A quick snack for some energy and then I was ready to try it one last time. 

Last go, best go

I climbed to the crux, caught the hole perfectly, planted my left foot, placed the right toehook and pulled as hard as I could. I barely managed to get to the next ledge, but then I realized that now all I had to do was hold on.

After that move it's still not over, but I had rehearsed the sequence pretty well and knew I could do it."

A few seconds later I had climbed “Embrace Gravity”, 8B+ – as my first ascent. What a feeling!

Kim Marschner
Kim Marschner mocks Kaddi Lehmann while bouldering in Ticino. Image: Alex Fuchs
Kim Marschner mocks Kaddi Lehmann while bouldering in Ticino. Image: Alex Fuchs

Climbing rules for Ticino: 

  • No open fire 
  • Observe local access and climbing regulations 
  • Observe parking rules and parking fees 
  • Respect nature 
  • Do not enter private property 
  • Treat locals and others with respect 
  • Do not damage handles and steps 
  • Brush away tick marks and chalk 
  • Don't leave trash behind 
  • Support local businesses (shop locally) 
  • Please keep dogs on a leash

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Credits: Cover picture Alex Fox, lyrics Black Diamond

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