Ben, Linus, Gintare, Volodymyr, Tadek, Andrey, Hannah and me. Two days in Ponte Brolla at the Lago Maggiore. Beautiful weather, blue skies and summer feeling. People lying on the sandy beach at the river and us having Italien dinner under a starry night sky. South and west facing walls. A lot of easy slabs and friction climbing but some challenging vertical and overhanging sections as well. We started out with an 11 pitch route on Saturday. Only Volodymyr and me made it all the way to the end, the others bailed at various points. The final sections got interesting. We decided that the obvious route marked on our topo maps looked boring and I lead an unmarked one instead. Turned out to be "interesting". Very high up and quite exposed and more difficult than everything else thus far. I collected some gear from the wall of climbers who went before us and had to bail. The route included some detours and the long traverses introduced a lot of rope drag. We were running out of daylight and free soloed the final (very short and easy) pitch in order to move faster. Had to hike down a very long detour to get back to where we started. In climbing shoes! Ouch. Passed a small hut with an awesome bathtub cut into the rock high on the cliff with a beautiful view over the valley.
We spent Sunday on the main wall climbing a lot of single or short multi pitch routes. Some challenging problems in the 6a-6b difficulty range. Having little experience climbing outdoors it's still surprising to me how different it feels compared to the gym. Much more fun. Difficult for entirely different reasons than the gym.