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Keenan Takahashi - A Spring Well Spent: Bouldering In Ticino, Switzerland

Keenan working Big Kat

Keenan Takahashi making his way up Big Kat V14/8b+ at Chironico in Switzerland...

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Waking world. Sit up. Set timer, stay sitting. Breathe. Daily intention. Breathe. Relinquish control. Breathe. Presence. Breathe.

Shower, coffee, chocolate. Now the day can begin.

WHY am I in Switzerland? This was the question I kept coming back to. Before leaving Colorado, I wasn’t sure what to expect from Ticino - I’d spent only a couple of days there in 2017. What I’d seen, particularly in Val Bavona, had immediately set in motion a desire to make a real trip.


In my mind, this was my first “real” climbing trip in two years; the first time abroad to focus singularly on climbing and really delve. To say I was (am) psyched is an understatement and I was fortunate to spend an overwhelming six weeks there this spring.

Keenan's packing tactics

The big, three-letter WHY helped me clarify my focus each day, and my main goals were to:

Relinquish control +

Take each day as it comes +

Enjoy being out with my friends +

Follow the psych +

Try hard.

It really boiled down to these few things. By redirecting my focus, I discovered a newfound serenity in allowing myself to travel without trying to force any outcomes.

Keenan Takahashi sending Primo Stand - V13/8b

Normally, I have my sights set on a few things and get a bit of tunnel vision. There were, of course, a few hiccups, when my psych and motivation drove me to direct my energy towards specific boulders. I tried to remind myself I had time, and that it was ok if things didn’t work out as originally planned. Having never done this on a trip, I was surprised at how happy I was and got to climb on many amazing boulders.

The best part of my trip didn’t revolve around a specific boulder, or moment, or day. It was a realization over time; a bit of an epiphany.

I tried so many amazing and hard projects that were previously beyond what I’d imagined possible. It was wonderfully humbling to work lines where I could barely do moves individually and felt like a return to my first days climbing - pure motivation to improve to be able to do the best lines. I came to terms with how much I have to learn and how long I have to improve.

Keenan projecting From Dirt Grows the Flowers

These projects reinvigorated a desire I hadn’t realized I’d been missing the last few years… a re-found psych, an absurd level of motivation, and a level of inspiration previously unmatched. These projects, while beyond me at the time, were (are) possible, and I’ve never been so psyched to become a better climber.

The highlight of my trip was finding the answer to my WHY extends well beyond Switzerland.


© Photos by Jimmy Webb, Keenan Takahashi, and Hannah Donnelly

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La Sportiva Climbing Athlete Keenan TakahashiKEENAN TAKAHASHI is a member of the La Sportiva Climbing Team.

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5/21/2019 12:30 PM
Posted in Climbing By Keenan Takahashi

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