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Vadim Timonov in Switzerland

Bagging one 8C/V15 would be a proud feat for anyone, but four in a month? That’s just nuts.

by tenaya


This was the longest journey of my life. From my house in Saint Petersburg, Russia, I drove 2,500 km (1,500 miles) to Ticino, Switzerland—32 hours on the road, and through seven countries, beautiful landscapes, and a lot of fast food!

I had climbed in Switzerland once before in Magic Wood, but I had never been to this region. So I had many plans. I studied all the guidebooks, watched videos, and on the drive there, already had specific goals. For me, this trip was a fact-finding mission to try as much as possible instead focusing on one really hard project. I visited all the main areas, tried many interesting lines, and just enjoyed climbing every day.

We did not book accommodations, so we were mobile, and could constantly move from place to place. Initially, I had plans to visit Fontainebleau and Varazze as well, but in Ticino there were too many climbs that did not allow me to leave. I had dream blocs, such as Dreamtime and Off the Wagon, as well as a desire to see and try several other difficult boulders.

Vadim Timonov climbs Off the Wagon (8B+/V14), Val Bavona, Switzerland. He sent the bloc on his second go. Photo: Vadim Timonov.
Timonov climbs Off the Wagon (8B+/V14), Val Bavona, Switzerland. He sent the bloc on his second go. Photo: Vadim Timonov.

When I saw Off the Wagon (stand) for the first time, I thought it was quite possible for a flash. My flash attempt failed, but I got through the original start on my second go, and it felt easy. I immediately started to work the sit start, and was really close to sending it that first day. But the boulder turned out to be very cruel.

The next couple of sessions were worse. There were many reasons—I felt tired, sometimes I did not have enough skin, sometimes the weather and conditions were not good. I was sure that I would climb this boulder quickly, but altogether I went there eight times without victory. I did the stand start around 20 times, then I fell 35 times from the long move when I climbed it from the low start. In the end, I had to leave her for the next time.

The most important thing I learned on this trip is that you can climb many hard problems, but to send one that’s extremely hard, you need to come and focus on only that one problem.

Now I know what to work on and prepare for. The competition season is about to begin, and I will switch gears in my training. But the next trip to the rocks I will plan for the summer and autumn. I will definitely be back in Switzerland soon!

Vadim Timonov’s Switzerland Ticklist

  • Dreamtime (8C/V15)
  • The Story of Two Worlds (8C/V15)
  • From Dirt Grows the Flowers (8C/V15)
  • The Kingdom (8C/V15)
  • Off the Wagon (8B+/V14), second go
  • Ninja Skills (8B+/V14)
  • Arzak (8B+/V14), second go
  • Boogalagga (8B/V13)
  • Heritage (8B/V13)
  • The Shelter (8B/V13)
  • Entlinge (8B/V13)
  • Vecchio Leone (8B/V13), third go
  • General Disarray (8B/V13), second go
  • Amber (8A+/V12), flash
  • Schlonziges Wiener Schmankerl SDS (8A/V11), flash
  • Fake Pamplemousse (8A/V11), flash

Watch: Vadim Timonov Bouldering in Switzerland

Filmed and edited by Vadim Timonov and Irina Kuzmenko.

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