Last month I went to Magic Woods with James Garden and Neil Amos. This bouldering mecca is located in Switzerland, close to Chur. Being amidst the mountains the setting was stunning, and as this was my first visit, I was buzzing for the amazing climbs that I had been told about.
Before going, I was told the climbing was very basic; crimp pull, crimp pull…. Yes that’s right, but with out the body positioning and some kind of footwork, be prepared to be spat off. After playing on lots of great climbs, my favourite would be a high ball called ‘Blue Sky's Mine’ (6A). Simply, the climbing itself was exposed, athletic in nature and stunning. Also, an overhanging arête called Rythmo (7C+) was challenging, quality and my best tick to date.
Getting there is not too bad if you don’t mind being in a car for 14 hours. We split the journey up into two days but if you’re hard core you can do it in one. If you don’t mind paying more you can fly into somewhere like Bergamo hire a car and stop off at Val Bodengo or Cimaganda on the way over the Splugen Pass.
If you’re thinking of going out climbing, I would recommend getting your fingers strong before your intended trip. One way to improve your outcomes would be to use finger boarding, but if you’re not used to it start off slow and slowly build up until your fingers become iron!
Getting around the woods itself is not too easy. It’s very dense and being set on a side of a mountain makes it hard to find the climbing problems and walk from one boulder to the next. At the bottom of the mountain is a glacier river which is very cold but really good for putting your fingers and toes in for a recovery dip following a day’s climbing!!
One of my new aspirations following the trip includes a great problem called ‘Foxy Lady’ (8A). This is a finger tip crack on a slight overhang that requires strength, determination and very strong fingers (and mind).
We took two Mujos and two Waffanbsp;bouldering mats between three people along with a prototype taco pad we have been working on. Having made these pads with Anna I know every stitchline like the palm of my hand, so it was good to give them a real test. I made the taco out of some cheaper polyester fabric we have in the factory on the Friday before leaving, so it was interesting to compare its durability to the cordura of the Mujo and Waffa. The sharp granite blocs are a demanding testing ground for pads and the cordura definatly proved its worth. Confidence grew as we used them.
Over all, the trip was one of the best that I have had to date and the climbing was incredible. I would recommend Magic Woods to all climbers, however, it would mainly benefit climbers pushing around the 6C mark. Photos Neil Amos.