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Jimmy Webb: Euro Trip Part 1

Friday, June 13th, 2014

The past 3 months have been a whirlwind of travel.

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Kasia and I visited six different countries in the EU as well as spending a good amount of time in Switzerland. The first half of our trip was spent in the region of Ticino. This place was made famous mostly by just the incredible amounts of world class bouldering. Here you have areas like Chironico, Cresciano, Brione, and Valle Bavona all within a 45 – 60 minutes drive from each other.

I had only been to Ticino once the year before and due to the terrible weather we experienced, I was only able to climb a few of the boulders that I wanted to do. This year was different from the beginning. We arrived to beautiful weather, blue skies forecast for 3 weeks, and luckily I was feeling the strongest I had ever felt. It was the perfect situation and I was just so psyched to be there. So psyched really that I didn’t even take many rest days. I just climbed almost everyday and my rest days would be the easy ones. Going out and circuiting on some perfect problems in a gorgeous setting, what more could you ask for?

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After our time in Ticino was up we moved on over to Magic Wood and other nearby sectors. We visited Murgtal and also got to see some really nice low key lines established by Fred Nicole. It was a really nice history lesson, seeing all these amazing problems put up so long ago by one of my idols. It gets me motivated to see the product of creating something new and developing boulders that no one has ever seen. Fred created so much there in Switzerland and it’s just mind blowing. I think it’s every obsessive climbers dream to find something new, to love your time spent in the moment and to create something that people will enjoy forever. This is my dream.

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Shortly after, we fled Switzerland due to the bad weather and moved over to the magical forest of Fontainebleau, France. This place really needs no introduction and I can truly say it is my favorite place to climb on the planet. It’s just perfect. The features, the boulders, and the forest itself are something from a fairy tale. Every day you hike into the woods you feel like you are being transported to a place you could only create with your imagination. The sandstone is soft and the climbing is subtle yet powerful. It really just sums up my style as a climber. I grew up climbing in the Southeast, USA and the climbing is somewhat similar. It’s that perfect balance between technique and power that allows you to dance up the boulders. If you are missing just one piece of the puzzle then you will be left standing on your pad scratching your head with confusion. Climbing is a beautiful thing like that sometimes and it’s areas like Font that not only require you to be physically strong, but strong-minded as well. Everyday you go out, you can learn something that will make you a better climber the next day. If you just open up and pay attention, the stone will tell you everything. It’s that process that everyone has to go through. Though it can be frustrating at times, it is this aspect of climbing that I love the most.

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Concluding our trip we moved over to Chamonix, France and had a really nice week climbing around there. The weather wasn’t exactly the best but we got some climbing in and played the tourist card for a few days. It was a really nice closure to our time spent there and got me even more excited to return next year. The traveling never stops and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

~ Jimmy Webb, prAna Ambassador

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