Fred Nicole "I Portici" - The Arches
Walking through the forests of Ticino (southern Switzerland) to my favourite bouldering crags just after Christmas, I was astonished by the number of climbers―it’s crazy to consider the explosive popularity of this area over the last 15 years. Back in the day, it was just a few lost souls in the woods, but it’s become a winter mecca for hundreds of climbers from all over Europe. I’m no misanthrope, but I do like bouldering at my own pace!
I continued my quest and saw many possibilities, but didn’t find the perfect line until the end of the day a beautifully steep arête leading to a nice, overhanging face with a real top out. I returned next day and rehearsed the moves, and it felt feasible.
I was very happy to complete this great line on January 3, 2011, sandwiched between several days spent climbing and celebrating New Year’s with Mary, my brother François, Nini and their kids.
The shape of the climb reminds me of an arch, so I named the climb "I portici" “the arches.” It’s a climb that rewards good technique and offers a subtle mix of difficulty and endurance.
I portici is also the name of a very good pizzeria in Bellinzona, where I like to eat after bouldering.