domenica 17 agosto 2014

40 days


By checking the second-last blog spot I wrote, I can realize that something went wrong respect my thoughts. In fact, the title of it said "little injury" and it should have suggested what I supposed to have in my wrist. Seventy more days are passed from that post, and four full months are spent from the beginning of the issue. Nowadays I started to set aside the term "little", using maybe a more serious adjective. The clearness of the problem came out with a MRI, at the end of July: Lesion of ligament, lesion of the triangular cartilage and inflammation around the capsule. The suggestion has been clear like painful: a minimum of forty days of rest without any kind of climbing or training. During these days, it has been quite hard to keep the motivation high and to try to lose as less as possible from the physical and the mental shape. I opted to dedicate more time to some aspects I usually don't look after like body tension exercises, stretching and one arm fingerboard with the left hand. Fortunately, bouldering is not only composed by body tension and one arm hangs, but by infinite things and by a specific way to link all of them in a unique system. In this way, unfortunately to me, I could just keep good a very small package of skills. For this reason, I was doubtful that the few qualities I trained could be helpful once I re-started climbing, since the other parts of the system would have been weak.

Last Monday (two day after the ending of the resting period) I got the first pull-ups and the day after I went out to check how my wrist would have answered to some efforts. I was quite tense and pretty negative. Fortunately the first feelings were pretty good and the first day was completed. Results: no pain in the wrist (even in some crucial position of the hand), troubles in the capsule of the medium finger, absence of any kind of climbing coordination, worst skin ever and wearying in my right arm. Now; I guess that the last three things could be pretty normal after a month and a half without rock, but the second gave me some care while the first one let me to keep on hoping. On Wednesday the right arm was really painful, probably due to the day I had; while the wrist presented some acute pain to the higher part. The day after, this problem looked to be over and I opted to a fast evening session on the rock. I decided to go to a really known area, just to try to repeat some known problems until V8. The second day went better than the first; the wrist seemed to be pretty good, the finger capsule slightly better as well as the pain in my right arm. Yesterday was the third day of climbing and the feelings went even better: I could climb different styles of problems, put up new easy and cool lines and enjoy a great day with Marco in Champorcher.

Finally after forty days I can have some positive feelings, keeping the motivation and the love for climbing as high as always and dreaming about my future. The thoughts in this long period have been pretty various; I think it could be hard for everyone to stop what you love and many people can understand. Sometimes you realize how hard it is, other times you try to think not and to be positive, thinking about the best things you did in the last months. Now the situation is still really delicate. My next goal is to manage the next week climbing and texting again the trend of the pain. Subsequently I will maybe try to make a little program of recovery and come back as soon as possible, but giving the highest priority to the feeling of the body.

In these long days I also got the opportunity to edit and to share a new clip. It deals of the trip I had in Red Rocks last January, with some of the best sandstone boulders I have ever seen.

                                   

                                                                Red Rocks - Jan 14 from niky_ceria on Vimeo.


New problem in Champorcher. Photo Marco Pelle

domenica 29 giugno 2014

Gliese 581 - A new gem in Champorcher

The injury which I am bearing from April is still alive and the wrist has reached a condition of stability where it doesn't improve but at the same time it is not even getting worse. I have recently been in a medical sportive center, where they diagnosed two possible options about the issue:

1) Inflammation or problems related to the tendon (lower possibility)

2) Lesion in the triangle cartilage of the little articulation (higher possibility)

They advised me a check with a MRI;  Tomorrow morning I will finally know the real problem I have and the possible ways to recover.

Obviously when you have an injury you also have a little negative period and this is what happened to me. I cannot go training as I want, I cannot climb on many things I have planned and the motivation goes often down. But fortunately not every aspect is bad, I am catching all the positive situations and sometimes I feel good. I started training different things which I have always left out, like abdominal sessions, push up and stretching. I am doing them 3 times per week instead of 1 or 2 I usually did and this helps me a lot under the mental side, since I can train different parts without pain. This is simply great.

For what the climbing concerns, everything depends on the kind of holds I have to use. Crimping is out for the moment as well as every holds where I have to twist my wrist. Fortunately, some lines have positive features for my issue and I can climb hard without pain. Few weeks ago I went to try the direct way to "Zarmina", a line in Champorcher I put up last September. The original way is simply awesome for me, especially for the sequence of particular movements and holds that the overhang presents. I remember that when I brushed it up I remained pretty amazed by how all the sidepull holds are on the straight line and how the sequence seemed to be interesting. The more logical way for the simplicity was to climb the wall until the second half and then to move towards the right good sloper, by getting the top to the right on a slab. This year I gave a more significant look to the straight line where instead of getting the good hold, you keep more to the center wall with a perfect slopy pinch to do a big dyno, grabbing the summit edge and going out directly. It looked to be a bit arbitrary because of the easier version, but for the line itself I guess it is a better way. The principal reasons which inspired me in this version were absolutely the kind of movements and how all the holds from the start until the last edge are on the same straight imaginary line.

The first goes this season gave me positive feelings for my injury, since no holds were painful and I could try it really focused and really hard. This was great for me: I could keep positive thoughts and I had a goal despite the hot season and the problem of the wrist. The first day of attempts I reclimbed the original "Zarmina" and I started to get confidence on the big jump move; I understood that it was possible, but I was quite far to stick it. The second day I brushed it perfectly and some tickmarks helped me to go in the right position on the edge. I grabbed it in many attempts, without keeping my body on. The third session of the same day I went down with the rope again and I fortunately understood micro differences which allowed me to hit the single move. Great moment for the short effort, I felt so excited for this move I really love.

The third day (fifth in total counting the past year) had pretty nice conditions for the holds and my skin seemed to be better than the last period. After four hours of tries from the bottom I grab the first ascent of this direct way. It has been great for me, especially in this period where I couldn't have so many positive feelings in climbing.

Since Zarmina is a "friendly" name of a far planet, I called it as the name of its star, i.e. "Gliese 581".

Here two shots from the video and a little clip I edited few days ago which regards five different cool lines.

"Gliese 581" FA, Champorcher. Pic from the video by Andrea Cossu

"Gliese 581" FA, Champorcher. Pic from the video by Andrea Cossu




                                     
                                                                  Five lines for five valleys from niky_ceria on Vimeo.

giovedì 5 giugno 2014

Little injury

Since the late summer 2011, when I had a serious strains in my legs, I never soaked in a injury tunnel. Everyone gets some problems in his own body, or at least it is really rare that a climber never feel pain somewhere and it is bound to stop for a while. After three years an injury comes again. At the moment my issue regards a tendon in my right wrist which seems to be quite inflamed. This kind of problem doesn't let me do a thing in particular, i.e. to turn my wrist in ulnar deviation (right and down direction). During climbing days many moves, holds and positions makes my arm painful and sometime I can't stay hung on some kind of holds. I don't want to complain, I think it is a part of the game and I have to live together until the pain vanishes, trying to lose less motivation possible. 

The day when I got the injury I was in Val Bavona with Nils, in the middle of April. I was trying "king of Sonlerto", the famous black face under the homonymous village, when I felt some strange weakness in the first hold. After the ascent I felt a bit of pain at the top, but I thought it was nothing too dangerous. Foolishly, I tried to don't feel it and I opted to try the moves of the sit, which didn't inspire me a lot, but I wanted to climb more. Really bad choice, considering the sign that my body was sending me. Matching an undercling I felt a big jerk in my arm and I fell off. The pain was quite high and for few days I was not able to take a hold without feeling the injury. I started to think it would have begun a long rest, in fact the things are not going so well.

10 days after the mistake, my situation was a bit the same, despite many resting days. After this negative and, rather short period, my hand began to go better and better until the leaving for Aland, where fortunately the things looked to be at the right place. The evening before the flight my shape was unexpected perfect, as well as my finger tendon. I felt super positive and out of a black period which I thought was going to be much longer. I went to Aland, I climbed all the days, trying hard stuff and pulling some holds which could have also been dangerous but I felt sure about my hand, in fact I didn't feel  any kind of bother. I came back home. I was happy because I knew I could start to climb again here, in my closer projects home. The first day of climbing, the pain started again and quite acutely. I tried to believe that was just one day and maybe the things could have come back in the perfect conditions. The following days the pain was only stronger and my motivation for climbing or training started to get lower and lower. I opted for other days of rest, when the blood couldn't loop a lot and this let me just feel more bother. I decided to start a fingerboard training period, which would last 2 weeks. I knew it was going to be the best thing to do. I should have right hand positions, symmetric holds and I maybe could do some exercises without pain, trying to let the blood loop and keep the motivation a bit high . Fortunately, it went like that and I am now doing what I was planning. I can also climb on the rock, but only on few kind of problems. Every holds which require a twist in the lower part of the wrist gives me bad feelings.

It is now almost two months that it is giving me troubles. Sure it doesn't look a really serious problem, especially compared with other injuries. The only thing that it is quite hard for me, it is to keep the positive thoughts high as before, trying to do the best for my tendon and to avoid something I would like to do.


Last weekend I decided to join two friends of mine, Max and Ricky to go to Wallis, where I knew I would have had few lines where I could climb. At the top of the list there was "Des roses en Hiver", a line of Reto Hartmann which I knew it would have been quite comfortable for my finger and after 4 days of work in 3 years I grabbed the third ascent, completing one of my most significant desire of 2014. Now my principal goal is to heal my tendon as soon as I can with physiotherapy and a lot of ice, in order to try all the lines I would like to do and restarting training again.

Des roses en hiver 8B. Photo Max Buvoli

Ricky on a problem in Wallis.

martedì 13 maggio 2014

Åland Islands - Bouldering in Finland

The view on the bay, Aland (FIN).

Aland Island – Northern Europe.

A place almost unknown. It hasn’t a big notoriety from the bouldering side and even under the geographic aspect is not so famous. It has been hard to locate it on the maps of the minds’ people when I said I wanted to go there, a region so dispersed and only renowned for making wood or fishing. This part of the Europe is an archipelago under the Finnish country, but closer to Sweden considering the easiest way to get it. It counts 6 500 islands and its name means “the lands of the perch fish”.

I usually pay much attention to what concerns the place around a bouldering area. The aspects of the nature can make a good balancing of harmonies and bouldering can be a nice way to live breathtaking landscapes, enjoy the pure wildness and feel the scent of the woods. I love to catch the small details that the environment has; Although it has less importance than the quality of the rocks or of the moves, it is always an interesting part which offers me enthusiasm to live a climbing experience. I knew about Aland thanks to a boulder’s pic I saw years ago, and I discovered that around this one also some other problems had been established by Finnish and Sweden climbers. Checking the sectors from the web, I could note that the quantity of the problems were at the north top of the archipelago, 40 km far from the only true city of the region, Mariehamn. Aland was therefore put on the list: the list of the places where I would like to go in the world. On that list you add always and you tick seldom, but the ticking usually gives a lot of satisfaction and incredible emotions. At the beginning of 2014 I spoke with Ricky, a friend of mine who is always excited to travel for climbing and checking areas considered a bit out of the ordinary. I knew he would have been interested in this, in fact we organized the trip and I finally seized the opportunity to go. Rudy, my brother, got the holidays at last and he joined us.

Today, I can say that I have personally climbed in the best landscapes ever, at least if we consider just the bouldering places. Green pine forest, gravel pink roads, blue north sea, seagulls, pink granite and silence were the main characteristics of what we saw and the flat long hiking let us enjoy the wildness of the area. We liked the boulders a lot too; in some of them the granite offers good shapes like geometric holds, roofs and physical long moves typical of Scandinavia. I immediately understood that the rock would suite my style perfectly. The first hard line I tried was the big overhang of “Normipaiva” 8B, a huge roof with 8 meters of development with good crimps located far from each other. The climbing on it is funny and athletic and it was probably one of the lines hit me more in Aland. The FA was put up by Nalle Hukkataival years ago and then a jug broke in the last move. I found anyway a good beta to get the top quickly. The last move is now less dynamic and more technical, since the jug let two crimps and it looked hard to do the move as fast as before.

The main reason which lead me to Aland, was the majestic line of Nalle hukkataival “Leaving the dream”. It is situated on the coast of an awesome bay; definitively one of the most beautiful scenery I have ever seen and the hike to get there lasts 1 hour. It's easy to imagine the great quietness you can find in this paradise. At the first sight the line dazzled me a lot, more than what I thought. It looked to be so visionary and I was impatient to attempt it. It excited me and I quickly felt at ease, even though I didn’t get good achievements for the first session. It motivated me a lot, it was giving me positive feelings and I was so happy to be under it. I found it so good for many features: the triangle shape, its height and its original aspect which stands it out by other world class lines. Considering the peculiar geometric shape, it was basically impossible to try the upper moves with the rope, but hanging down I could touch the holds and put the chalk on them. The second part of the boulder looked fortunately easier than the first part, composed by a single hard dyno to the lip. I really loved this move. Using the rope I could hang down on the both sides of the triangle, I signed all the holds and with the chalk the line seemed to get a bit of life since none tried it for years. Fortunately I could read the sequence correctly and this fact helped me a lot. I had many doubts about the first move, not only about the beta, but even about the correct starting holds. The only info I had were present on the guidebook and it says to start standing on the little bloc below. From that point I could reach the good hold on the left arête and an undercling/sidepull crimp for the right hand in the middle of the roof. I was doubtful, but they seemed to be the most logical ones to try it from the bloc.

"Living the dream" 8B, Aland (FIN)


The second day on it my doubts went on, but I wasn’t able to find another proper start. Starting lower on the bloc didn’t make sense, since it would have had the same difficult start from the ground and this way would be much harder and sure more complete. I decided to attempt it like that, thinking about the most logical thing to do. That day, just after the warm up, I met Erik Massih, a guy from Stokholm and a local of Aland. Fortunately, he had a ladder and he kindly lent it to me to try the second part of the boulder and make my mental setting more sure about the development of the line. The holds had chalk and I knew more or less the sequence but I didn’t want to miss it from the start. The ladder gave me a huge help, I understood the second part perfectly and I was really sure about it. That days seemed to be perfect and my mind immediately noted this. Dry weather, wind, cold, ladder, two spotters and four pads which could make the first jump easier. I decided to get my mind as free as I can and I started. Being sure about the landing, I locked the first jump and knowing the upper sequence I went to the top. The pads made a bit of difference but I also felt really better in doing the first move. “Living the dream”, with the starting holds I used, might be personally around 8B and I felt maybe easier than the grade it had. This is simply due to the fact that I have been lucky in having a ladder and this thing changed a lot the approach for this line. Few things impressed me about this problem. The first deals of the vision that Nalle had 7 years ago in climbing this piece of rock, much respect to him. Secondly, the place around this gorgeous boulder and third that for many years none attempted it.

During the second part of the trip we went more to Kasviken, a sector closer to the parking with typical Scandinavian roofs and a really good granite. I have always an iron brush and a rope in my bag, so when I see a line under the moss which can tickle my imagination I can clean it up. I love to brush a thing that I imagine, but especially a line that seems to be really good for the moves I look for and for the kind line I would like to establish. In that sector I saw a compression line that looked to be amazing and maybe possible, but touching the green holds was hard to say with certainty if it would be or not. I brushed it and I put the chalk. The holds started to have a different grip and I could feel the possibility of my vision. Unexpectedly, I quickly found the beta that suite me more and I figured out the sequence. I got two sessions then after the rest I surprisingly sent it. I was able to send it the same day I brushed it and despite the quickness of the process, I guess it might be the hardest thing I have ever climbed in North Europe between Aland and Vastervik. The name chosen was “Nitro” and I was really lucky to finish it that day since the days left have been rainy and wet.

Now it is time to go back training. The injures to the tendon is going better, but it is not gone. I feel I have to be really wary about this and try to look it after as much as I could in order to get back in the better shape and better feelings. On the rock it is not so painful and I think I could climb more than in the gym. I will now have some projects in Champorcher and some boulders to try in the French side of Swiss. Stay tuned.

"Dodo" 8A+, Aland (FIN)

"Game Over" 7C, Aland (FIN)

Rudy on "Hammas finger crack" 7A+, Aland (FIN)


Ricky on "Supermarkitainen" 7B, Aland (FIN)

"Normipaiva" 8B, Aland (FIN)

"Moongoli" 7C+/8A, Aland (FIN)

Fagerlberget, Aland (FIN)

domenica 27 aprile 2014

Last sessions in Ticino


The good season is coming to an end. The winter is going to finish and the fall is a memory. A memory of few years ago, since the climate of the last period was strange and particularly hot: October and November were unfortunately warm and the fall had not the same taste of the previous years. I love winter and autumn, for the best bouldering conditions first and secondly for a personal preference. The arrival of spring usually gives me depression, the heat fades me and the motivation often goes down. Despite this, the weather is still good for some bouldering spots and the temperatures are high but not excessively warm. After US my mind started to imagine some boulders around and Val Bavona came quickly in my thoughts; a place where I seldom went to, but that always inspired me for different reasons.

Despite the slowness of the road to reach this valley, it is possible to go and back in a day like Ticino itself and I had occasion to get there 5 times, including the last one when I stopped for 4 days. Every time I go up in this valley the feelings are exceptional and the place never stops to hit me. The entrance in the valley is crazy, full of color contrast, perfect granite rock, big walls, big boulders, waterfalls, stone villages and an amazing wood which make my days great as well as the good lines there are under the soft moss.

The first day, together with Jimmy Webb, we tried a new big project which immediately seemed to be a great one with a stellar quality: An overhang with pinches and hard swing, followed by a combo ending wall that requires technical and physical skills. The climb on it looked to be amazing and really complete: a really intensive body tension and physical sequence to get into a totally different climbing like technical compression, small foot holds, mental climbing and an endurance finish before the easy top-out where you should be really focused coming from the bottom. The final wall was totally covered by the moss and we decided to remove only the necessary, letting the cleaned holds stand out like white chalk spots from the intensive green of the wall. On the second day on it, the problem seems to be even better. The holds didn't have the small dirty residues and they were really perfect to grab. That day we were able to complete all the moves on it, and to link few sequences. The processing of the full line gave us big motivation, in fact we pushed us both to discover new betas and to do small changes to get a better feeling. It was maybe out of my possibilities, but I came anyway back to try it since I would like to understand it better, in order to train harder and maybe reach the top in the future. The third day Jimmy was going really well, but the beginning of the technical part looked harder from the bottom. For me the crux was the 7th move, where from a good hole for the right hand, you have to do a big dynamic to a sloper. This is a really low per cent success move for me. During the 4th day on the proj I was alone to try it and even I was not capable to stick the sloper from the start, I repeated the single 5 times, climbing it in two parts. Sure I felt far from doing it but what was important is that I felt it possible. I know I could complete this one in the future if I will be able to be stronger than now and this fact is simply exciting. This project appeared to my eyes like a gem and I really would like to finish, would be it the first ascent or the 15th one. It was really long time that I didn't get such a deep motivation for a single line.

Noting the lower temperature, I decided to come back last week for more days with Nils. I decided to let the proj away for the first day and we went to "Heritage" 8B, a stunning line put up By Carlo Traversi two years ago. The first day on it, few weeks before, went good, but I had huge problems to get a the horizontal pinch in the middle of the sequence. I found a good way for my size, but it looked hard coming from the sit. The second day the temperature were really high, in fact my expectations were low. After 5 mins, I surprisingly discovered a tricky beta which suited me perfectly. Moreover, this easy way, let me able to stick the first gaston almost like I wanted, so I didn't need to be precise as before. I took it with the medium finger in the point I would have had the index, but the new beta let me avoid this details and I felt myself at the top. I was satisfied by the quality, as well as in the line climbed in the evening: "Elysium" 8A. Even this one is amazing, it appears like a stunning overhang prow, with incredible holds. The movements on it are magical, and when I climbed this line my feelings were at the top. I guess I can locate this line at the top of swiss boulders around this kind of grade, at least for my personal tastes.

 The day after, excited from the cold in the dark, we tried "King of Sonlerto" 8A+/B and, thanks to the colder temperatures, I was able to feel the holds differently and to top it out on the grass. The negative side was that I injured my finger trying the moves of its sit and for the moment I can climb just on few kind of holds, since many edges are impossible to grab without pain. Negative notice apart, the valley gave me great satisfaction and I can't wait to be there next fall to brush other moderates and try other awesome lines.

 Here the video of the classic "Off the Wagon" and a photo of an awesome line I climbed last day in Brione: "Wie im Urlaub".

Wie im Urlaub 8A, Val Verzasca. Photo Marco Zanone


                                     
                                     Off the Wagon - Valle Bavona from niky_ceria on Vimeo.

In two days I will be off To Aland (FIN), so the next story might be something about northern Europe Bouldering.

lunedì 7 aprile 2014

Similitudini - The small things that make bouldering great

The aspects I mostly look for in bouldering are basically two. Two seem to be not too much, but at the end they are a lot, considering that each of them has infinitive sensations, multiple variables and wonderful combinations. The first one is definitively the beauty. Trying, brushing, looking and climbing a boulder I like, that gives me something, that is able to offer great feelings is sure the best thing to search for.

Based on my personal tastes, a line expresses its own beauty through various factors. In fact I don't like to catch the beauty in general, but I love to appreciate the different features that a piece of rock offers.

Some boulders can inspire me when just one of this factor is at the top of the quality, like for example the quality of the holds, its aspect, its rock, the line itself, the moves and also the place around. The stunning lines happens obviously when all those features are at the top for your personal tastes and requests.

The second aspect I love to discover regards the physical part, a bit more sporting, but always linked to a personal experience and a personal comparison with the climbing. Trying the problems on the own limits, not limits in term of grades, but in terms of mental and  physical difficulty, is always motivating. What is really nice to discover is how bouldering on the limits is composed by tiny actions, small modifies on the beta and imperceptible differences in the positions of the hands and of the body. When I can discover those little things, attempt after attempt, session after session, the key of the success is showed and you have just to execute what you have understood. 

These small details can show other little parts of the puzzle and when you add all of them they can make a big results that is the full sequence to get the top. I remember this approach on some of the hardest line I did like "Entlinge", "Boxwood Hill", "Meadowlark Lemon" and others too. Recently this thing happened on "Similitudini" in Aosta Valley, a line that I brushed with Gabri and even though the line is not as good as others, the movements are really nice and motivating.

After brushing it, the holds had already a good grip so we started pushing us up each other to get the beta of the new rig. The moves were done after the first session, the first part of two singles were harder than a second one more understandable that required just a bit of conviction to grab the final lip. I knew the hardest part would have been to find the good link for the first move and I was too tired to try it from the start. I was anyway happy; I did the move but I knew there would have been much more to discover to link it all together.


The second day of work lasted a lot, but the time was sufficient  to finish this line. Everything was thanks to those little things that composed the betas. The hand in a super precise point gave a better position for the crucial heel hook, the fingers in an exact point of the sloper made the bump easier, the ring finger and the pinky on the first holds changed for few millimeters. That hold became better and at the end everything looked more possible. My mind, seeing those little improvements changed in a positive way, the motivation went up and the feelings became better in better understanding the process of the small things and I was able to send it. 

Similitudini, FA. Photo Giulia Paoletti

Similitudini, FA. Photo Giulia Paoletti

Similitudini, FA. Photo Giulia Paoletti

martedì 18 marzo 2014

Two videos from US


The US trip is finished almost one month ago and those lands are missing me. Fortunately, Giulia and I filmed some boulders I sent oversea and the first two clips about our climbing journey are ready. The first one regards Bishop, where I searched to include the highest lines I managed to climb in that area. As the description said, it has been called Giant for the different sizes that we didn't used to, from every kind of thing and obviously also for the height of the stones. While the second video is a little reportage about one of my favorite line, i.e. the impressive red-orange masterpiece of "Meadowlark Lemon" in Gateway canyon (Red Rocks). I hope you enjoy both of them.

                                 

                                                        GIANTS Bishop (CA) from niky_ceria on Vimeo.



                                 

                                                  Meadowlark Lemon V14 - Red Rocks from niky_ceria on Vimeo.