martedì 3 febbraio 2015

The last two months

Here we are with my first blog spot of the year 2015. The period riding December and January has been quite busy and many days were spent inside for training and preparation. Like usual, training has a double face; a bad one and a good one. Once I got the training mood, I always know that I sit the rock climbing out for a while. This is a negative part and sometimes it is even dangerous as you lose the rock feelings and technique. The positive side is that once I got into this process I am just damn focused on training and nothing else; I like this thing and I love to do it despite sometimes rock climbing misses a bit. During 2014 I basically had only 3 weeks of training during all the year, then I got injured and I had 3 more weeks in autumn where I made a kind of soft/keeping training just to recover well and prepare my wrist for hard climbing and for the though moments would come next. Late in autumn, I felt it was time to start again and I opted to buy an online training program from two well known trainers of Teamof2. The program provided 10 weeks of daily schedules. Since the Christmas holidays were in the middle of the deal, I split it in 3 different sections: 3 weeks of hard training, two weeks and a half of rock climbing/rest/soft training and 3 more weeks of full training again; all this package would have made a flew from December to the beginning of February. I was excited.

At the first look, the program seemed to be interesting and mostly new for me. In fact, it was. Many workouts that I wasn't used before had been added. While the schedules I already did before underwent modifies using other systems or other recovering time. It has been curious and newsworthy to follow a program set by every day of to-do's. Before this, I just planned what I should have done in the whole week, giving no matters to the order of sessions or the days when I had to push hard or not. Moreover it is the first time that I followed a program made by someone else and not planned with a self-setting. New stuff like I said, new ways and new workouts. For example I had Cardio sessions where I was completely green, TRX workouts for the core and the shoulders and other cool exercises. Since I do only bouldering I often underestimated the Cardio aspect and its importance and aftermaths. I knew I was bad and it deals of one of my biggest lack, but I didn't think that it could be so useful for bouldering. Definitively it will be a part of my future training.

The graphic of my shape made a lot of ups and downs during the period. At the beginning I felt gorgeous. Between the first and the second week I had a really high peak, I managed to do my first 1-5-9 ever on the personal PG, I could try V14 in the wall and I sent different hard problems in the gym. Then I started to be tired, weak and a bit sick from training. The last few days of the third week I had a big cliff, my muscles hurt but I was mentally serene, since the drops are obviously normal. I went to Ticino for few days; I rested, I climbed a bit and I enjoyed the fresh winter air. I felt pleasure, joy and I got relaxed in being out instead of close into a stinky and dirty pigeon house or into a fitness gym where I could read the sameness of the usual customers riding on a static bike. They seemed stupid and I also was. One day I felt bored and faint, while the day after I ticked "ninja skills" off. This is to say how the ups and downs can change and the shape can evolve, dropping or rising. I came back home and I came up again few days during the holidays. I tried hard on "big kat" and I finished this line after 4 days of war. I tried "the story of two worlds" and I felt everything was going down again. That day I perceived a intensive dose of tiredness which followed me for days. I reached the lowest point during the middle of Jan, where I sensed fatigue and I had to fight to make 1-5 on the rungs of my PG. My shoulders didn't answer, my body was off and what I had was only a bit of finger strength that allowed me to go on. Sometimes I skipped the daily workout; I felt insane trying something when your body or your instinct don't feel good and positive. On the last week I came up again. The skin raised up, the shoulders seemed to be better and day after day I added a piece of mine to the full package. The core strength missed again, and it is missing right now as well. The motivation came and the line of my imaginary graphic probably is reaching the medium values. Now I finished, I felt I need rest and recovering days, I need to find a way to link all the skills together and make one unique well-working piece. The time will say if it has been worthy and useful for myself, or just a kind of "keeping" training and the hard times was vain. I am confident, we will see.

Ninja Skills 8B+, Sobrio (CH). Photo Stefan Kuerzi

mercoledì 7 gennaio 2015

2014 - Top 10 problems

When a new year begins, it comes pretty usual to think what has been done and what is coming next. I always analyze the good moments from the past, trying to remember them as deep as I can, reading the mistakes, setting new goals and dreaming new glory moments of bouldering and travelling for the next future. Since two occasions, I am used to make a kind of top 10 list of the best lines I climbed during the past year. Conversely to 2013, I opted this time to share it on my blog. The list basically includes the best things I did in 2014; it classifies them following what are for me the most important 7 aspects of bouldering: quality of rock, pureness of the line, quality of the holds, the aesthetic  aspect, the natural landscapes around, the kind of movements/sequences and the personal experience on the line. Here it is.

- 10th. "Rust in Peace" (FA), Champorcher (ITA). Definitively one of my proudest first ascent ever: tall, huge, massive, physical and the climb on it is awesome. It probably deserves to be in the top 10 milestone of 2014 for its pureness and for the good quality of rock, which stands out in all the valley for me. It is characterized by a slopy pinches sequence in the roof, to get out in a slightly overhang easy finish with cool moves as well.

"Rust in Peace", Champorcher. Photo Giulia Paoletti

-9th. "This side of Paradise" (FA Matt Wilder), Bishop (US). One of the best highball I have ever seen during the years; It is a kind of perfect and tall arete which makes you small like an ant. Located up in the wild Bardini's boulder sector, it stands up on the hill in a perfect position like a true king. The experience had been quite mystic, scary and proud at the same time. The only thing that don't let this gem go higher is probably quality of the rock. It has been great sharing this ascent and my fear together with Giulia.

Checking the move on "This side of Paradise", Bishop. Photo Robert Rundin

-8th. "Gliese 581" (FA), Champorcher (ITA). The direct way to climb "Zarmina", which has the beginning sequence in common with this. Definitively much less proud and pure than that previous two ones, but the moves make this piece incredible like the experience I had. I Felt so on my limit that day and the ascent was something like epic and unforgettable. It probably has one of the best pinch I have ever used to make a perfect jump to the slopy good lip.

"Gliese 581", Champorcher. Pic from the Video of Andrea Cossu

-7th. "Atlas Shrugged" (FA Jon Cardwell), Red Rocks (US). Black velvet canyon is an unique sector of Red Rocks; together with Fontainebleau, here I found my favorite rock ever and the shape of this one is awesome. Compression roof climbing at the beginning, followed by the upper part (The Fountainhead) with great holds and tricky mantle to get out. Exciting.

"Atlas Shrugged", Red Rocks. Photo Giulia Paoletti

-6th. "Lamiche a Mitges" (FA Tony Lamiche?), Albarracin (E). Here we came back to the pride of the first two lines in my opinion. Its highness is perfect to me, not excessively high but with incredible development; great experience with my friend Nils.

"Lamiche at mitges", Albarracin. Photo Vivi Monteiro

-5th. "Nitro" (FA), Aland Island (FIN). If I would have made a list of the best climbing moments, this one it would have been the 1st. I Looked at this line during the short trip I had and I just tried to wonder if it would have been possible or not. At the end of my stay I decided to brush it and clean it up, to see how it would have come out. The result deal of one of the best experience I have ever had in climbing. Brushing new stuff, dreaming about it and realizing that it is possible goes after goes discovering the real beta is unique. The boulder itself is amazing for me, like a big egg of rock to squeeze with the movements I have always looked for.

"Nitro", Aland. Photo Riccardo Monetta

-4th. "Elysium" (FA Randy Puro), Bavona (CH). Another good day of climbing together with Nils, in my favorite place of all Ticino. Here the rock is great and this masterpiece is the proof. Around this difficulty, it might be the best line in Ticino. Immaculate, fine granite and beautiful climbing in a perfect mix of strength/technique/balance. Great rock and perfect holding shapes. Totally worth to be in the best things of the year.

"Elysium", Val Bavona. Pic from the video

-3rd. "Meadowlark Lemon" (FA Paul Robinson), Red Rocks (US). Epic moment again. The first day when I tried I didn’t want to believe at its beauty and perfection. The experience had been quite though under the mental aspect, since I would not come back from the states without this tick. it has basically been the reason which lead me to Vegas and I had a kind of personal pressure which pushed me to finish this beautiful arete. Sent on the last couple of days of my trip, leaving a weighty stress and taking a gorgeous lines like this.

"Meadowlark Lemon", Red Rocks. photo Giulia Paoletti

-2nd. "Des roses en Hiver" (FA Reto Hartman), Val Ferret (CH). Thanks a lot to Marco to have showed me this piece of paradise. Since I saw it, back in 2011 fall, I desperately love it. A sharp and perfect overhang, with a kind of rare rock quality in all the Swiss, more similar to the sandstone than the granite. Excellent moves, weird positions, lovely holds.

"des roses en hiver", Val Ferret. Photo Max Buvoli

1st. "Wet dream" (FA Ethan Pringle), Red Rocks (US). The most complete boulder problem of the year. Stellar rock, imposing aspect, beautiful moves in a long high development, crazy full package holds: crimps/cracks for the start, jugs, pinches, rails, finger lock, brick pinch with a really high quality rock and shape. Not the best one I have ever climbed, but definitely the number one for what concerns the last year. 

"Wet dream", Red Rocks. Photo Giulia Paoletti

domenica 28 dicembre 2014

Ninja Skills - Sobrio (Ticino)

Ninja Skills 8B+, Ticino. Photo Giulia Paoletti
When I was in Albaraccin I started feeling my shape reviving a bit, especially on the very steep boulders. Getting the positive feelings back was simply a wonderful emotion. After the week spent in Spain, I set a little goals-list I wished to complete before the end of the year. My plan was to complete a couple hard sequences; they would have been special and gorgeous as I desired. The list included  5 problems to work and the goal was to finish two of them before 2015. Since I have to work them more than usual, I had to chose something not so far from home. The 5 names came up quickly: The big project in Bavona, "From dirt grows the flowers" and "Big paw", both in Chironico, "The Story of two worlds" in Cresciano and "Ninja Skills" in Sobrio. I previously had other sessions on these problems during the years like one session in From dirt and ninja skills, eight days on the story in Cresciano, four ones in the Bavona project and an endless number of working days on Big paw. Something like ten or more for this last I guess. Frustrating.

One point where I have a lot to learn and a lot to understand is to set the working days closer and to dedicate a long period to work on a single hard project. This approach would sound better than trying one single line for a full day and then come back to attempt it one year later or six months later. Using this manner, I basically feel that the previous session almost didn't count and the work I dedicate before is almost useless. It doesn't need to be a genius to understand this process, but after years I am still not getting used.

So in this period I was really thinking to start this process, but at the beginning of December I felt it was time to go into the training mood and for this reason I hadn't time to go on the rock. Anyway, I had few sessions before the program in the month of November. I started with FDGTF in Chironico. The session went much worse than last spring, when I was able to climb it in 3 parts. This time I was no more capable of finding the beta and the good feelings I had. Moreover, the sweating troubles increased a lot and all my finger thrown out water after few goes. Seeing how the skin is bad in these months, I immediately set aside this one: The holds are sharp, small and incut so it is not the best if you have soft and wet skin. Big Paw was the same story of years ago. In 2011 I was getting really close, but after that incredible and positive session I was not even able to repeat the single moves. I opted to work it with another big beta, skipping some moves and going directly to a hole when the right hand is still really low. I have never been able to stick the move; I went close a couple of time, but never stuck it.  In the same time when December started, I began to follow teamoftwo training program where I do just indoor climbing, gym, trx and other stuff.

Just before Christmas, I had a couple of days off from training and I went up to continue the selection of the problems to work. I went again to big paw, but the bad feelings went on, without any kind of progress. Seeing the bad and poor results, I decided to set aside this one as well, together with From dirt. Ninja skills would have been the next to try. For this problem I was more positive. Together with Giulia, during an afternoon of rest, I went to check it out again with one pad only. Fortunately, I was able to remember the path correctly and after just 15 minutes of hiking I was under it. I let the pad for the day after, it was supposed to be a great day since Nils and other couple of guys wanted to check it. On December 23rd we woke up with great temps: not to cold, dry, sunny and the feelings of the winter in our veins. I met up with Nils in Nivo, to get warm before going up to Sobrio. The warming up went good, I felt positive, free and focus to start a session of work in "Ninja Skills". I really hoped to find a boulder to work for more than one day, without having bad feelings like on "big paw".

The picturesque village of Sobrio was still in the sun. It is crazy to see how this peculiar place is far from the society and it is located in such a cool mountain. The hiking was memorized good; I reached Ninja in 10 minutes or so, walking down quickly for the excessive motivation we had. The sun was still hitting it; so we took profit to sign the holds, put the chalk on, remember the beta I tried in 2011 and eat a bit after the downhill. Ometz brothers reached us when the shade came and we started to try it all together. I figured out a smart and good beta for the finish. I did the ninja move on the first go this time, while years ago it required me something like 15 goes. The first two moves compose in my opinion the hardest part of the line: big move to a bad sloper and then a "go-again" action to a pretty positive edge. These two moves can be considerate around V11/12, which lead you into the second part of the same difficult but really longer, composed by 12 moves where endurance and precision can make the difference between sending it or not. I started working from two moves into the start and I quickly reached the top, climbing the hardest move of the upper section. Feelings were great.

After a quick break I tried again the first moves; I was able to do them singly. This was awesome too, since 4 years ago I was not even able to hint none of them. I felt I could start to work the line from the proper start and see what would happen. Surprisingly I linked the second move from the bottom, I got the easier part and I felt on the ninja move, missing the correct sloper to use for the jump. I felt immediately stupid since it was a great occasion. If I would have taken the proper slopy pinch, I would have probably had opportunities to complete it or at least to stick the crimp in the ninja move. A bit disappointed I rested and I reset my mind. The skin suffered a lot from the slipping, since the wrong hold slipped fast. But I was trying to not think about it.

Rest time was over and I went into another go. With more troubles than before I got again into the ninja move, this time with the proper hold but more tired than before. The attempt was vain. I opted to rest again and to do another session of working in the upper moves to get even more confidence, since I felt to have no chance from the start. Baptiste figured out an interesting beta for the ninja move, basically skipping it. From the same two holds, instead of going up with the right hand to the positive crimp, he tried to go with the left one, using a left heel hook on the rail. After few attempts I managed to do the move using this beta. It looked to be big and as hard as the other way, but it definitively requires less precision on your feet and less body coordination. I repeated the single move for 3 or 4 times, then I rested. I felt it was the last possible shot from the start, hoping that the new way could have given me the last chance. Surprisingly I grabbed for the 4th time the second hold and I ride the rail which leads into the third crux. Using the new beta I grabbed the good crimp and I started to think about finishing the whole line. The only thing that could have stopped me was a flash pump, but the breathing helped my mind to believe in the sending and together with this "mate" I sent it.

Climbing "ninja skills" was awesome. The problem is gorgeous and the feelings at the top were sweet. I complete this goal, but not the main one. I wanted to search for a line to work hard and falling in its obsessions, but I was not able. Fortunately, during the Christmas day I started for a solo mission to Chironico again and I probably found two problems where to invest time and energies, testing my skills under this aspect that I felt is missing in my climbing life. The first line is called "The great shark hunt" in Nivo, while the second seems to be "Big kat" in 101. Moreover, I would still have to check the project in Bavona and "The story of two worlds". I will still have other few days to go up in Ticino before the 7th on Jan, when I will start the program again. If the skin and the weather will help me, I will go to attempt them.

Ninja Skills 8B+, Ticino. Photo Giulia Paoletti

venerdì 12 dicembre 2014

New clips

The fall is now going away, is making room to the cold winter and the woods are losing all the beautiful colors of the leaves. Reading again the blog spot of September, I am not finding compatibility between the plans I had and the things I have actually done during the autumn. The main project was to complete the big lines I had in outstanding: the big diamond in Nosca, the project close to my home and another couple of highballs in Aosta valley. All of them are amazing, superb, imposing, massive. All of them were at the top of the to-do list and they offered me a high dose of motivation; I was so happy to have brushed these pieces and I was focus to finish them. As I wrote, unfortunately, in the middle of September I had a bad fall on one of this boulder and I got a microfracture below my hell. For many days I had pain and still now I have some issues using heel hooks. Since all the things I was interesting in are pretty tall, I decided to let the projects aside. Every time I find myself on a slab, or on a slightly high mantle I go crazy and scary. I hoped to get the positive and the awesome feelings of the highballs back soon, but this one didn't come. This is the bad and the main reason for which I didn't go back; the projects are still there, are waiting in wet conditions for a first ascent or for the return of my positive feelings which I hope to get soon.

Fortunately I could replace the things I really wanted to do with other incredible boulders around. I went to Albarracin as I told, but first I finally had the long-desired opportunity to check Maltatal, in Austria. Malta is a typical Austrian village, located in the Karnten region. As many climbers did, I was really inspired by the old and great videos of Klem Loskot and the mythical problems he established like Unterland, Power of goodbye, Alligator and the most unique and perfect Bugeleisen. I was just so glad to be there because I knew that I could finally see these pieces of rock, and that was enough. But fortunately we also found dry weather to climb two days and I can't wait to go back on one of the most incredible granite I have ever grabbed. For who has not seen my clip yet, you can check the video here below. Together with this, there is also the new clip about the Albarracin trip, I hope you enjoy both of them. Now it is time for training again, the next post will be focused on this training period :)


                                                                  Maltatal - (Aut) from niky_ceria on Vimeo.


                                              First time in Albarracin (Spain) - October 2014 from niky_ceria on Vimeo.

martedì 11 novembre 2014

Albarracin (Spain)

Checking the forest of Albarracin (SPA). Photo Vivi Monteiro
Many magazines often speak about climbing destinations in Spain and a lot of images and videos are scattered in all the web regarding the good places that this country can offer. I have always heard stories from Spain; several climbers I know have been there, checking the most famous cliff of Europe or the cool Spanish bouldering areas. I actually don't know why, but before two weeks ago I have never been to Iberian peninsula. This is probably due to the fact that I am not so approachable with the Spanish atmosphere or with the Mediterranean culture or I don't know, maybe I simply had other plans to do before going in a bouldering area there. Anyway, I was pretty curious to go and I was totally sure that soon or later I would have been to Albarracin, maybe the largest known bouldering area of the country and probably the finest one too. In the late summer of 2012, together with Giulia, we already considered to spend a week in Aragon, but knowing about the high temperatures we opted to postpone in the future. That time we went to Wallis, a southern region of Swiss. It was an amazing week, but Albarracin was still missing in our list. 

Despite the long 6 weeks that we spent in US at the beginning of the year, Giulia was lucky enough to get another week off at the end of October. At first, we thought to go to check the boulders around Helsinki, a place where both would be glad to go one day. Unfortunately it was a bit too expensive for our current resources, so we fell back to a cheaper trip. Albarracin was another big area that tickled the desires of both, it was economic, the climate at the end of October supposed to be dry and we were both sure to find tons of boulders to satisfy our requests. Moreover, after the long time I took to recover my injury, I knew I would have not been able to reach a good shape before October. For this reason Albaracin seemed to be perfect; I would have had a lot of stuff where to climb and it seemed to be an ideal area where to take confidence back with the rock and with the climbing gesture. This concept looked to be much smarter than going somewhere to dedicate energies only to hard projects. Just before leaving, Nils told me he would have been there in the same days of us and we were both motivated to climb together again after long time.

Obviously a week ran away quickly; but once we were back home, Giulia and I discovered to have done the right choice about the crag. We were both satisfied, the desire had been paid off and the quality of the place was definitively up to our expectations. The rock is simply superb and every boulders has a medium-high quality. The marvelous thing about the place in my opinion regards the mix of the features. It can be consider like a perfect mix between the best sandstone places where I have been to. You can find the mantle and the technical stuff typical of font, the roof and the athletic lines of Rocklands and some holds similar to Red Rocks. It didn't seem real. For this reason the factor I mostly prefer was the climbing style of the area, probably the favorite one I have ever met. The Small town of Albarracin is also beautiful and characteristic, with its ancient walls and the autumn colors of the period. The wood is also pleasant, rich of pines, characterized by the Mediterranean atmospheres and the pre-historical rock paintings.

Once we got in the wood, I obviously couldn't wait to check all the problem I had in my mind and, despite the temperatures weren't the best, I was really glad to be there. In fact, for all the week the temperatures kept on 20 degrees, without the wind that we expected so much. But since the rain didn't come, I think it is not fair to complain the "warmness" but rather we should thank the dry climate we found all the days. Taking a day off turned into an intricate thing. I was able to rest just one day when I opted to brush and to check the exit of Zartako, a huge red sandstone pillar 8 meters tall that I was not capable of trying for a scare excess. 

I had a lot of lines in my mind as I said, but the top three project were "Esperanza", "Indian secret garden" and "zartako". The first one was the most beautiful one of the three: a perfect font style egg, totally red with awesome sandstone features, tricky moves and incredible slopers. It looked like a font's best, but with red sandstone. The sweating troubles accompanied me for all the week and, especially on Esperanza and Bindu, I had to fight a lot to try to overcome this negative side which I can't currently resolve. After a full morning of attempts I opted to rest until the evening, in order to get my skin dry as much as I could. Just before the attempts, the temperature dropped down of 2/3 degrees. I knew I had just one possible go, after of that my skin would have been like in the morning and I would have not finish it. The slightly colder evening, together with a lotion of alcool and pine resin, helped my skin a lot; I was searching for everything to get over the fucking high sweating. I started leaving the troubles out of my mind and I reached the crux where I fall off in the morning. The "colder" skin and the harder right shoe gave me a good help to get into the last easy part where I knew that I couldn't fail anymore. Thanks to these little precautions I was able to send.

"Indian secret garden" 8B, Albarracin (SPA). Photo Giulia Paoletti

"Indian secret garden" 8B, Albarracin (SPA). Photo Giulia Paoletti

Even Indian secret garden was mentally pretty tough. Having just a week, the time to work the lines you want to climb is really short, for this reason you have to optimize as much as possible all the processes, the sessions and the details. The first day on it I was really on the limit during the attempts. It destroyed me completely and I was pretty afraid to not rest enough before the subsequently session. Just to give a presentation of the line, it is 70 degrees steep, with pure wide compression moves and an ending sequences of great toe hooks which I immediately loved. The FA is signed by Christian Core and it is definitively awesome despite the two little sins. The first one deals of the stone on the right which is really close, while the second one is that you have to drop off once you reach the top.

The second day on it was challenging too.  When I was getting warm my thoughts were totally dedicated to this goal. Damn, I really wanted to climb that problem. I needed and I wanted to feel my body and my mind on the limit after the bad period I had this summer. I got under the boulder around quarter past nine, ready to try it. The skin was awful, but I knew that it could be decent for one attempt. I wanted to reach the upper part (where I failed the first day) with good skin in order to don't fail for the high sweating. During the first attempt this thing could happen, while other more goes would have been unuseful. Since I had just one more day left, I should have done on the first go and I was pretty tense. I tried to focus my mind on the climbing days I had last spring; in that period I probably had a step in my mental approaching and I tried to get into the most positive mood. Fortunately on the first go it went down and the biggest effort of the week was paid off by the nice climbing style.

The day of Indian secret garden got to the end in the best way; Giulia grabbed the ascent of the wonderful classic "Spider pig" 6C after the climbing of the day before, ruined by a dub caused by me. Zartako, the other main goal I had, is postponed to the next visit. After the big fall I had in September, the feelings on the highest stuff are still timid and conservatory.

The positive effect of Albarracin is still alive. During the last week of bad weather I thought a lot about the few days we had there and I felt a bit melancholic. The climbing style and the features of that place surprised me a lot and I can't wait to go back.

I fortunately had enough time to finish other masterpieces in the forest, but there is not enough time to tell about. Here a list of the problem I did in order of beauty (in my opinion). The grade opinion are personal like always.

Lamiche at mitges 8A
El Apeadero sit 8A
Esperanza 8B
Homo Ergaster 7C Flash
Klem's traverse 8A Flash
Zombie Nation 8A/+
Supernafamacho 7B+ Flash
Indian secret garden 8B
Dizdira 7C Flash
Revenge 7C+
Helicopter on the beaches 8A+
Zarzamora 7C+
Zarzaparrilla 8A+
Zatoichi 7C Flash
El Varano 7C Flash
Cosmos 8A Flash
Helicopter 8A
El Orejas de la Regletas 7C+
Bindu 8A+/B

Giulia on "Spider pig" 6C, Albarracin (SPA). Photo Vivi monteiro

"Lamiche at mitges" 8A, Albarracin (SPA). Photo Vivi Monteiro

"Zombie Nation" 8A, Albarracin (SPA). Photo Giulia Paoletti

"El Apeadero sit" 8A, Albarracin (SPA). Photo Vivi Monteiro

giovedì 2 ottobre 2014

September 2014 - New projects

The last months has been pretty busy under different aspects and my mind has been invaded by a big wave of projects. The wrist had a positive trend for all the month, but the tendons and ligaments are still weak. I felt they are not ready for a hard training period, but at least they don't give me troubles when I climb on the rock. As I mentioned the month has been various, rich and a bit confused too. First of all I had a wide list of boulders I would have liked to brush. At the moment, I am feeling quite excited about going to search awesome lines around and the discovering side of climbing is providing me always bigger and bigger satisfactions. The top boulders I wanted to brushed are all situated in the north west of Italy; few of them are in Valle dell'Orco, others in Valle d'Aosta, and a couple of cool projects are even present in a valley close to my home. During this period I was able to brush just four of the many projects and three of them required me one day and a half only for cleaning up the holds and making a safe landing.

One of them is up to Champorcher, an area whose potential is probably getting to an end. This was maybe the last thing I was interested in developing here. Since the beginning, It looked to be a really weird line: you have to climb a little easy stone and then grab the starting holds in the roof above your head. From there the climb begins in an imposing overhang and it gets out in a slightly overhanging wall with compression moves and heel hooks. The hardest part was the first section on the roof, where everything seems to be tricky and pretty physical. During the second day of attempts, I tried this problem together with Max. He got a really smart heel hook beta which looked to be the best; but unfortunately neither of us was able to link the moves with what it seemed to be the most obvious way. I opted to work another system, based on body tension and specific points where to grab the holds. After many attempts where I was getting closer and closer I finally got the big triangle pinch at the end of the roof and I linked the first part to the easier finish, putting up the first ascent.

Rust in Peace V11/12, FA. Champorcher. Photo Max Buvoli

Rust in Peace V11/12, FA. Champorcher. Photo Giulia Paoletti

The other two main projects I was interested in, were the big diamond I discovered in Noasca and a great river stone in a valley close to my home. The first one is huge; It is an impressive granite diamond with some slopy rails and a long climbing to reach the top. Once the day of brushing was over, I decided to come back with Ricky who helped me a lot to make a good landing. Meanwhile, the dirty residual of the brushing was drying up and the grip started to be better than the first time I touched the holds. The first intro part is pretty easy and the taller you are the easier it becomes. Instead the upper part results really strange with a big dynamic move to the lip. It is definitively a wonderful move, where from two slopy pinches and a really high left foot you should grab the final lip and you'll probably remain with only one hand hung. Considering the height of the boulder, I tried that move with the rope only. After this, I decided to postpone the attempts when the temperatures will be colder and the grip on the holds will be much better.

The diamond. Valle dell'Orco

The third one is probably the project I am most inspired for. It is 40 minutes up to my home and the feeling to have a project so close is an unique sensation, since it is never happened to me. I can get up in the morning and I can basically see the valley where the proj is. This thing makes the question sweet. I brushed the line on this big egg  last spring and I got a quick session in April without any good successes, despite my best shape ever. I love this project for two main factors; the first reason, as I said, is to have something so cool and so close to home; while the second one is due to the beauty of the line and the good rock it has, especially in the second part. For September, it was at the top of to-do list but I have been a bit unlucky with this problem.

The first time on it,  I brushed all the last slab again, since it became dirty during the heat of the summer and just before the dark I tried a bit the upper moves with the rope. After few tries it became too dark and I quitted.

2nd day on. The first part was damp so I could just attempt the second easier section. After having put the chalk  and tried the moves, the rain came and I had to leave once again.

3rd day on. The sky looked to be clear. I put the chalk on the exit again and I dried up the third hold which makes the crux part. I finally could try it seriously. Thanks to Ricky who helped me a lot in trying the moves with big push ups, I could understand the right sequence. The sessions got over positive. The crux move was still missing, but I did it with 4-5 kilos of push-up. The other move that missed was the 5th, but for this one I had positive sensations because it looked easier, I had just to try it more.

4th day on. I went up alone just to dry up the crux hold and to be sure for the day after (it usually remains wet for few days). Surprisingly it dried up faster than what I expected and I decided to try it a bit. I was alone with three smashed pads, but it was enough to try the bottom. I couldn't expect what it happened; I grabbed the damned holds and I failed on the move after. I opted to quit and to rest for the day after. I started to know that I was close and that probably the crux move would have been the 4th, since the 3rd one looked to be hard but in the end it is totally position depending. Once you get the right body position, you can do it.

5th day on. I went up with Ricky again. The friction looked even better, but in the end it was the same or even worse than the day before. I was anyway motivated and focused on the proj. I felt some possibilities to finish the rig the same day.  I put the chalk on the exit for the nth time and I repeated the final moves over and over. I knew them perfectly. I rested until the evening, when the "colder" temps came and the skin got harder. I made good tries. I managed to grab the third hold again, but I failed on the 4th moves. I tried that part with the push up and I did it. I felt I was going closer and closer. On the other side, I also felt my skin sweating a lot, so I rested for ten minutes or so. I finally perceived my hands a bit colder and I decided to go. I took the third hold perfectly and I did the hardest move after. I linked this one to the 5th and I grabbed the jug with a bit of fatigue and a strong shout. A shout which meant effort, but even a shout of possibility to complete the whole line. I was out of the hardest part. I got into the central sequence, where the overhang becomes a wall with wonderful pinches. I did it and I got the good pinch-jug; I was tired. From there the wall become a slab and there is a possible rest. From that point to the top is something like 6b composed by a little mantle into the slab and the slab itself. I rested and my hands were damp, cold and totally pink. I thought about the chalk, but I hadn't the bag with me. I tried to dry up the fingers on my pants, and they started to be numb. I put the hands close to my neck to warm them up and the feelings started to be slightly better, but not enough. There were two possibilities: to go on in the slab, or dropping off and trying it again hoping to get into the upper part in better conditions. The last option seemed to be far from my possibilities, because I felt tired. By knowing what there was between me and the top I decided to attempt; the boulder was done and I just had to do the last easy part. I breathed and I went. I started and once my body was totally on the slab and my feet still under in the wall, my right foot slipped and I fall down. I got scarred and I totally missed the pads, falling on a bunch of stones. Fortunately my heel hit a flat stone and I got just a really hard hit. It was done, but not at all. I have to come back to finish this beautiful problem but for the moment I have to recover a bit the foot and to get back in a good mentality for this gem.

Beyond these great projects, In my mind there is also another 5 starts arete to get free; A line I brushed last march in Donnas (Valle d'Aosta) which is incredible. A perfect vertical arete which is probably the biggest project of the year. For the moment the temperatures are still too high and I have to wait for a while; but once the temperatures will drop and the heel will be ready, this project will probably be at the top of the list.

The crux move of the project. Valle Cervo. Photo Ricky totò Monetta 
The arete project. Valle d'Aosta.

Beyond exploring new boulders in the north west of Italy, two weeks ago I began training again. I started a short program which includes some sessions using different systems of training and the goals are to equal the right side of my body to the left one, since the right arm is really weak. Secondly, I decided to include different sessions in order to get the confidence back on the systems I usually use for training. I set 2 sessions in the climbing gym, 3 of core works, 5 of stretching for the flexibility, 2 of campus training (fingerboard and PG), 2 sessions with overweight and 2 sessions of rock bouldering in the projects I mentioned before. But in the second week, since my heel was painful after the fall, I needed to stop and I could just climbing outdoor. I went a couple of days in Averstal with Rudy.  I was also excited to work some boulders, leaving the tall projects aside for a while and feeling again the peculiar sensations of the place. Unfortunately, none of us completed the own goals; no achievement for both after the weekend. He went really close to grab the ascent on "Morgenlatte" 7B and he made huge progresses on "Man of a cow" 7B+; Instead, I worked one day on "Ill trill", making every moves except the exit and I missed the ascent on the top out of "Muttertag". We are both motivated to come back soon, trying to complete something before the snow comes.

mercoledì 3 settembre 2014

Summer is almost over

August is now behind us and the first days of September are always exciting because of the first moments of Autumn. My favorite seasons are still quite distant, but the sultriness of the planes is making more and more space to a clear sky and fresh days. The desire to come back bouldering is actually lofty, but the wrist is not totally ready yet for every move or every hold and I think I should give to it  more time to recover.

In fact, for the second week in a row, I postpone the beginning of a training program; the feelings are not so bad, but at the same time I am not feeling sure and positive at 100%. I opted to take another week of rest, to go climbing other three or four days, to make something soft at the fingerboard and to see how the issue will roll. This plan sounds to be the best for me since I should avoid the rush and leave the mind to take more and more confidence to get in shape again. Moreover, this week I should have the outcomes of the second RMI so I will understand better how the injury has reacted to the first days of climbing. I have got nine days of bouldering since I restarted climbing (12th of August) and the wrist didn't give me big troubles except the last Friday when I perceived a bit of painful. So, I think that the problem is not acquitted, but it is going better than this spring or summer.

As I said, the last three weeks have been devoted to get confidence in climbing gesture. I mainly went to Champorcher, an area where I climbed many problems and I knew them pretty well. I repeated some moderates lines I put up during these years and the feelings with the rock is growing up time after time. I started to work a connection which links two problems: "Under the carpet" and "Q*bert". The middle section is awful, since it passes through some bad jugs, but the traverse itself results funny for the good moves it offers. Despite I knew that I wasn't under the best line, the challenge for the mind and the body was quite stimulant and I was curious to see how the process would have developed. I felt I should have fought to win it and I felt that I could climb hard since the holds weren't painful. After three sessions, two of which got to the end fast cause  of skin troubles, I was able to send it. The first "hard" test after the resting period had been approved.

The day after I went with a couple of friends to Noasca (Valle dell'Orco), to see a place that I wanted to check since few months. I knew that Bernd Zangerl put up different problems in this valley and many of them looked to be good. As I imaged, the lines I watched on the video are really impressive and even if the rock is not my favorite, the shapes are really stunning. Especially two of them, "self aperto" and "El Salvador", take delight of a remarkable beauty. Unfortunately, the combo between my worst skin ever and the sharp rock let me climb just half an hour; after this, every hold I grabbed became moist and every effort seemed to be vain. I took profit by the drawback to make a check in a stony chaos up to the road, where I supposed to discover some virgin lines. Fortunately, I found some of the things I hoped to see and a bunch of boulders seems to be worthy and good. The most impressive one deals of a big diamond which quickly got into the list of the lines I want to brush. 

The week later I decided to come back with my dad, hoping in a better skin. I tried the sit start version of "Temenoi" 8A/+, which is characterized by a hard heel hook intro and a cool tensioning climbing at the end. Surprisingly I got the first move quickly and I found myself in the upper section before the top. There, I felt my hands soaked again, I grabbed every holds wrongly and I missed the ascent. I was frustrated by the skin issue which was continuing to give me problems, but on the other side I thought about the normality of it, due to many days without rock. Thanks to some toe hooks and a comfortable position I found, I was able to take chalk in the middle and accordingly I had dry hands in the top sequence. This thing has been crucial to complete the line and to get another dose of happiness at the top.

In the afternoon I went up to the chaos to brush the big diamond I checked the previous time. I was quite stoked by the thing that came out. The line looked to be amazing and gorgeous  as I hoped. The main line I wanted to brush is still waiting, since it is quite hard to reach the hold, even with a rope. While the other two ones are now chalked and I hope to come back soon to make a good landing and to attempt them seriously.

Always thinking about some projects, last week I was finally able to brush another line I saw last May in Champorcher, which I never started to clean since I thought that was necessary to cut two branches of a big tree. I was a bit disappointed by this fact, since I really care about the trees and I think they have the priority on the climbers. Fortunately, while I was dropping down with the rope, I discovered that the tree wasn't a problem and there was enough space to climb the roof avoiding to remove the branches. I started to be actually fascinated by the big line which was taking shape while I was brushing. Four hours were sufficient just to get ready the upper part, while I had to wait the day after to clean up the bottom sequence, which looked to be tricky, hard and physical. Ricky came up that day as well. Together we arranged the lower roof, the starting stone and we began to try it. We weren't close to understand the beta, but if the first holds didn't break I am positive about the possibilities to climb the imposing rig. 

Working on the ship project, Valle d'Aosta. Photo Giulia Paoletti

Looking at the beautiful sequence of "Bravirabi", Valle dell'Orco.

Temenoi 8A/+, Valle dell'orco.

Temenoi 8A/+, Valle dell'orco.