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Above: Graham on a longstanding project that will be V15-plus, the Barme de la fée d’Aron boulder, Fionnay. Barme is an old word for a sheltering overhang, while the fairy of Aron, says local legend, catches those who come too close to it. “This story was

Above: Graham repeats Kawa Paradeiza (V13), Mayens de la Pîrra, a Moix FA from 2007. Says Moix, “It’s a perfect, isolated, magical gem, with wild cherry trees and vineyards right at the bloc.” The name, says Moix, comes from Kawa (“the friendship thing of having a coffee with nice people”) and Paradeiza (Persian for “enclosed garden/paradise”). “Atop the boulder, there is a slab with a sliding groove, like a toboggan,” says Moix. “It’s said to be used by women to increase fertility (pierre à glissé means ‘stone where you slide’), but this might only be a child’s game.” 48 • Photo Annual 2009

probably a clever way to prevent children from spending too much time under this boulder, which looks unstable (it’s standing on three others, to form three caves),” says Moix. Shepherds often sheltered under the barme, also home to the V14s Scarred for

Life and Underground Paradise (40 moves!). “You get crazy light around the summer solstice (not this picture),” says Moix. “It comes through one cave, lighting the place in a particular way for a few minutes only. It’s a big ray of light at the center of the boulder, with a reflection all around.”

Above: The Austrian prodigy Bernd Zangerl uses ninja style to make the first repeat of Entlinge, one of Nicole’s hardest blocs. The problem, a likely V15/16, is at Murg, a small sandstone area near Sankt Gallen. “We expected a soaking-wet boulder, but it was so cold that it was dry and icy,” recalls Moix. “Good — ‘cause I crossed the entire (little) country for this shot!” Visit for galleries and more of Fred Moix’s work.

Above: Aude Fournier, Vague à Lames, La Maraîche, Switzerland.


A local’s-eye view of Switzerland’s magical blocs Photos by Fred Moix

“it’s a nice achievement to do this bouldering portfolio about my country, in the style of climbing I like the most,” says the Swiss boulderer/photographer Fred Moix, who spent the last six years shooting his native stones. “It was like a personal mission, a kind of legacy I wanted to give.” If you’ve been living under a rock, the thing to know is, Switzerland is one of the world’s hard-bouldering epicenters, thanks in no small measure to Fred Nicole’s visionary efforts over the past 15 years. “I remember witnessing Fred cruise La Danse des Balrogs (the world’s first V13) when I was young, and I just didn’t believe my eyes,” says Moix. “Fred’s achieve-

ments and the way he’s doing them are truly impressive.” As a country, good ol’ neutral Switzerland is a land of alpine beauty, and a melting pot of three cultures and languages (French, German, Italian). Climbable year-round, it has the four main bouldering centers of Magic Wood, Brione, Cresciano, and Chironico, all close to each other. “Magic Wood

is in the German part,” says Moix, “while the three other meccas are in the Italian part, in the canton of Ticino. The French part contains only old classics and some isolated gems — it’s definitely less suited for a trip.” Moix says his boulderer’s eye helped with this portfolio. “Being deeply invested in the community, looking for new problems, and climbing at a good level have helped me understand which problems are special and for what reasons,” he says. Shooting Swiss blocs, adds Moix, is “all about the passion to be in the rhythm. On some moments of some shoots, you get that special state of mind you encounter when you’re climbing just perfectly.”

Left: Tyler Landman communes with three “stone brothers” in the riverbed at Brione, Ticino.

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Left: Toni Lamprecht sticks a crimp on Fred Nicole’s benchmark V15 Dreamtime (later chipped by parties unknown to V14), Cresciano, Ticino. “This is a different shot from an often published boulder, where you usually see this famous dyno,” says Moix. “Unfortunately, climbers in search of fame chipped this piece of history . . . such a waste, such a pity, such a shame for the community.”

Above: Keith “Unclesomebody” Bradbury, of the United Kingdom, levitates up the mythical slab of Black Mirror (V4), Brione, Ticino. 44 • Photo Annual 2009

Above: Lamprecht on his 2003 FA (he added a V15 sit in 2005) The Dagger, Cresciano, Ticino. This problem, which shares its finish with Dave Graham’s The Story of Two Worlds, claimed Lamprecht’s sacrum the day of the shoot (he buttplanted onto a root).

Right: Dave Graham plucks the FA of Two Step (V12), a problem with a dynamic two-move crux, Bavona, Ticino. His spotters are André Di Felice and Garrett Koeppicus.

Above: Pure focus: Landman on the iconic Freak Brothers (V12), in the big chaos of Chironico, Ticino. Photo Annual 2009 • 45

Left: Séverine Métroz — a lone girl in a lonely meadow — on the way to the Les Soutanes du Plaisir boulder. “Perfect day,” says Moix. “Much green, much flowers, nice place.”

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Left: The local Théo Chappex reaching an insane undercling . . . and sending it: Radja (V14), Branson. When Radja went up, in 1995, it was the hardest problem of its time, on the same boulder as the world’s first V13, La Danse des Balrogs — both by Fred Nicole. “This boulder is above the hamlet of Branson,” says Moix. “In olden times, a man was paid to dynamite it by the townspeople, to prevent it from toppling onto the village (a common fear in our country!), but he went away with the money and the boulder stayed.”

Saint.™ The world’s finest headlamp. Below: Ludovic Terrettaz on Kashmir, La Tailla, a small but scenic area. This river-polished problem features a jump move a “bit high” off the deck, says Moix, though the ground level changes constantly due to the river, which sometimes swallows the landing. “You can easily get wet,” Moix jokes. As erosion continues, “Soon, Kashmir will be a notso-deep-water solo!” he says.

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Bernd Zangerl in "Photo Annual 2009"

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Bernd Zangerl in "Photo Annual 2009"