In early August 2023, Bern Switzerland will host the Climbing World Championships, featuring competitions in sport climbing, bouldering, and paraclimbing. However, tightly regulated competitive climbing merely scratches the surface.
For the vast majority of enthusiasts, climbing is an active way of life that rejects strict rules and hierarchies. It serves as an outlet for creativity, freedom, and joy in movement, fostering strong connections with like-minded people, nature, and the environment. A glimpse into the past reveals that Bern was one of the original hubs for an underground variant of this versatile lifestyle: urban bouldering.
In arch-conservative Switzerland of the 1990s, two young climbers from Bern claimed what shouldn’t have been contested: public space. Dr. Bomb and Dr. Bäri sparked a revolution, reshaping urban structures by introducing innovative climbing routes then featured in their own creation: Bärn Boulder Guidebook.
Their creative rebellious manifesto demanded the right to fun and unrestrained expression, presenting a peaceful rebellion against rigid systems. This call resonated with a growing community of urban bouldering enthusiasts worldwide. The limited edition Bärn Boulder Guidebook, on the brink of prohibition, evolved into a legendary myth that continues to inspire generations of urban climbers.
The short film “Let it Bärn” pays homage to this obscured piece of sports history. It unveils some of Bern’s legendary boulder locations and features interviews with elusive authors of the Bärn Boulder Guidebook, known by their aliases Dr. Bomb and Dr. Bäri. The film is directed by Hannes Tell, a German filmmaker and climber.