This morning we were the first ones at Arcegno, a pretty nice area with a couple of routes in our range. Since we haven’t climbing in about a year due to getting the dog, buying the farm and other things that took up our time, we basically have to stick to the easiest routes.

Unfortunately, about 30 minutes after we arrived, this spot started to fill up quickly and soon it looked like a highway up here. There were at least 40 people looking to climb the same 5 routes…definitely a problem. So after a few attempts on one route, we decided to take off. There were people climbing almost on top of each other, much like it was in Ponte Brolla last year and why we didn’t go back there this year. Some of the new arrivals were even walking over and UNDER other people’s lines while they were climbing and this is not safe in the least. So we took off in search of another wall to climb but we didn’t have the full guidebook with us, only a few pages we scanned and printed out. We didn’t realize there would be so many people here that we’d be needing the rest of the book.

So we drove back into Locarno and stopped at a sports store in town which thankfully had a better version of the climbing book we’d been using with really nice topos. And then we set off for Cavergno where hoped to find no one. This area is about 30 km outside of Locarno and not reachable by bus so we figured less people would find their way there.

When we finally found the place (again some confusion since the climbing guides are not necessarily specific), it turned out that the parking spot they recommended is actually private property and has been filled up with all sorts of debris which would explain why we missed it the first time. The rocks are actually huge boulders nestled by the river which would have been a great spot. There was no one around at all. But we would have had to find a way to cross the river with the dog which would have been complicated and another place to park since we left the Defender on the private property.

Totally bummed out, we started thinking about going home already since it seems that tomorrow we won’t be much luckier about climbing without a million people vying for our spot. But we decided to give Arcegno another try in case most people already left. When we were here at 4 pm yesterday every one was getting ready to go so we figured we might get lucky.

As it turned out, there are only two groups of 5 or so people climbing now but they are on the routes we want to climb…and having lunch or just hanging out at the bottom when they’re not climbing. Let me stress that “hogging the route” is not at all cool or acceptable and just bad climber etiquette. We do our best to avoid doing this and if we are spending a lot of time on a route and there are other people waiting to climb it, we pull our gear and let them “play through” as the golfers would say.

We’re going to give it a few more minutes since we’ve been here a little while now…but it’s looking like they have no plans to leave anytime soon. Spirits are not high at all…

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