martedì 31 dicembre 2013

Some moments in Swiss

The training program I set at the beginning of November is almost finished. In two weeks I will be off to Vegas; I started to be really curious to add a new spot in my list and to climb in areas that I have dreamt for long. The sessions among the dust of my training room go on every week and I probably planned to much for my usual standard. Many weekly tables miss some kind of sessions but I am trying to finish them as much as I can to see how the program works while and after the goals. I had to sacrifice the climbing on the rock and this fact is harder than what it seemed. I anyway went to climb outdoor in order to don't lose the sensation that the rock can offer and Ticino was the most coveted destination for my desires.

I went twice to Cresciano where I got some improvement on the big rig of "the story of two worlds". The first session was totally dedicated to try "the dagger" (Upper part) again and try to take confidence as much as I could. At the end I was able to reclimb it in two part, but more important to remove two moves on my "head-first" beta. The second day on it I was with Gabri, who was able to make every single move on "the Dagger", a problems that he ticked few days after. My session went pretty well and I fell twice in the second part of "the dagger" where my arms and my body was basically dead after the big fight. The problem is physical, tricky, long and powerful and after a full day of attempts I felt my pectorals burnt. I think I will come back on this just once before leaving for US. The other swiss day was in company of Giulia and Rudy in Brione. Val Verzasca is definitely my favorite destination for bouldering in the ray of 200 km from my home. The rock is superb and the features it offers dazzle me every single time I go there. The holds are stunning to grab and the problems made by this valley are fantastic for every kind of difficulty you climb. Moreover, everything is situated in a pleasant contest, with not so much people around, cool wood, mountains, blue sky, green grass and perfect fine granite. That day I tried to figure out a possible beta on "the Kingdom", without any kind of success as well as "blinded by the light". Meanwhile, It went a bit better on right Vecchio leone's line, where I almost stuck the crux move and I felt it possible for my skills.

The following climbing day was again In Brione where I dedicated myself to other kind of boulders a bit more possible than the previous ones. The new path before the classic sector lead me to one of the best piece of rock in Brione, i.e "Brionesque". The rock seemed stellar as the moves I imaged, and it would have been the boulder of the day. After a good warm up on the boulder just after the hill we moved towards "blinded by the light" where Gabri took some sessions to try it. While I was with him, I quickly checked out the overhang just 10 meters ahead and I decided to brush it a bit and to put some chalk on. The sit start seemed to be too extreme for me, so I opted to try as low as I could from the first sidepull for the left and a good undercling for the right. The line looked to be really simple and powerful: Big move at the start, turn your feet to the left, matching the second hold and then going to the left lip to finish the problems into the last easy slab. The single moves were figured out in a session then I took a bit of rest since I understood to have some changes to complete this line. After some minutes I began the second session where I crushed it, happy for taking an unexpected ascent. It could be a first ascent since no kind of chalk signs were present and I never heard to talk about this.

Before the evening came, Giulia and I moved to "Brionesque", the line that stoked me in the morning and few days before. It has been  hard to figure out the beta with two pads, because you have to bind them on the stone on your back and they didn't cover a lot of surface. Fortunately Gabri came and with one more pad everything started to be more safe and the sequence was done. The line itself is awesome in my opinion, and I feel to advice it.

The motivation to come back to Brione is still high. I love this valley and I hope to come back soon to check other problems like "Black Pearl", "Humphrey Bogart", "forever more" and many other top quality boulders.
Last week the lower pressure came and the weather wasn't as good as in the period before. Tuesday my dad and I went to the zone of Valais, around the city of Martigny where the forecast said sunny. This location is not so much further than Ticino, but we didn't go there often because it is a bit more expensive. Especially the Aosta's highway and the price of the tunnel have high prices. This time I pay for a season ticket, hoping to have more occasions to go. The area is always cool as I remembered and when I got into the Swiss side I felt at ease and curios to see these bouldering spots. We opted to go to Vernayaz, a wintery area where I stayed last year together with Giulia. The rock here is a good quality granite, really compact, smooth and sometime geometric. After the warm up, Nils came and so we had the occasion to meet again after Rocklands. Thanks to him, I was able to send some nice problems that I wanted like "Satan" and "Sergient Garcia". The first one presents a body-tension sequence after an easy intro on a slopy rail. After the crux it develops on some good holds until the mantle. While "sergient Garcia" looked powerful as the first but different at the same. it is based on the compression style and its holds are stunning. Another line I was able to send was "le feu sans flamme", a line put up by Nils last year and present in his new film called "Blocz", a video that presents a lot of problems in this great region. In the evening, he showed me another cool line, Dagda, in a sector called "Graal". Since I saw his clip, I was inspired by this piece of compact rock. The path to reach it is crazy and funny, moreover the location is totally different than others. Unfortunately I wasn't able to finish this one and it is for sure a good reason to come back.

Now only two weeks missing before leaving. The first will be a week of rest, while the second will be dedicate to some single sessions of different kinds like PG, fingerboard, wall and rock.

Here s little video clip about these 3/4 days of rock in December.

Swiss - Dec 2013 from niky_ceria on Vimeo.

giovedì 5 dicembre 2013

News from last month

Hi everybdy,

Five weeks have gone from the end of my trip in Prilep and the training period has started again. After Macedonia my physical shape dropped down and I wasn't able to keep me hang. After the return, I decided to stay off the training since I felt tired and I felt to have given a lot of energies to brush and to climb in Prilep. I opted to climb outdoor in few occasions and to relax me as much as I can before restarting to the use fingerboards and so on. I went twice to Gaby, the small village in Gressoney valley where some projects seem nice but still too hard for me. The first problem was the "sky jump" boulder. It is situated next to the car and  everyone can Google-Earth it to see and to get the way to reach it. Getting to this one is easy as the problems looks: smooth, white, with only few crimps and a good rail to jump. My beta develops in four moves and I got a bit closer on the final jump but without ever grabbing it. The second day I moved to the river, where I wanted to complete a project much more possible than the first cited. It deals of a link from a river slopy prow I sent last spring into an upper easy traverse on a lip. After some moments to understand the movement on the linker I climbed it. We called it "Bitolski bitolsko" in honor of the yogurt that Rudy loved in Macedonia. Climbing the prow it comes natural climbing direct on the old line, but watching it from a further point it even looked nice to  keep on the edge and follow the natural curve the boulder makes. From the 11st of November my program began again to try to get a normal shape. The first Three weeks of training passed and I am right now in the resting period. During the first loop I set aside the rock climbing and I dedicated to fingerboard sessions, stretching, abdominals and climbing wall where I set three sessions including one of strength-endurance. The next loop I will try to add Pan gullich replacing one or two session in the gym. For the next month the climbing outdoor will be still limited and I will probably go only few times in Cresciano. The next trip will be in Red Rocks (Nevada) in January and the aim would be to get a normal shape before this date. We will see.

Here below a new clip I edited last day about Nem.

lunedì 4 novembre 2013

Macedonian experience. Bouldering in Prilep

Baba and Balvanjia. Prilep. Photo Rudy Ceria

The first time I read about bouldering potential in Macedonia was more than one year ago. I don't know why, but after the images I saw, I began to wonder how the climbing would have been down there and my curiosity became higher and higher the months later. I was curious for many factors. On one hand because the area is still not so frequented and not so well known by the most part of the climbers. Secondly, Macedonia sounds strange for a climbing destination and it leads to a small taste of exploration. For the last cause, my geographic passion brought me to check this country, which I have always seen on the maps and I would have never thought to visit. Last March, it was in the list of the places where to go with Giulia, but Vastervik won and we choose a totally different region . Otherwise, this fall, My brother (Rudy) and I decided to take two weeks off in order to go to check this Balcan region. In this way, I could have clarified all the doubts and all the curiosity I had for a place that I hadn't heard so much before. My motivation was focused in searching for new problems and try to put new FAs in this new area.
It doesn't feel so simple to start to describe what we have seen, what we liked and what we hated; the positive and the negative points it has. What it is sure, is that a new area not so famous and with new potential, has definitively a unique aspect; everything is probably more linked to a personal discovery, beyond the normal fact to go to a spot full of people and with the all the boulders established. In this case, many problems had already been put up, but I think its potential could easily double them and this reason let us a big part of discovery to image new possible problems.
The area was born on the bucolic hills outside the city of Prilep, the 4th biggest city of Macedonia, and when you arrive you can see a lot of rock that cover these rural meadows. The first impact when we came from the Skopje airport was good and the place seemed immediately lovely. We reached Prilep where we met Hristo, our home keeper, who took us to the house and showed us the city. Our Macedonian experience began.

Obviously, I would like to describe the climbing experience first, then few words concerning our staying. The few negative aspects we found concerning a bit The rock where we climbed. It isn't in the top quality range: it is often really sharp and composed of big grit. The problem was that sometimes, while we were brushing new stuff, it crumbled a bit. Fortunately it is not all like this. The area develops from the bottom of the hill until the top; the boulders are present also over the end of the topos I had, and the higher you go onto the hill, the better the rock is. The first sector, called Baza, is personally the worst one under the rock aspect. The last area, named Balvanija, is totally different. The rock is always sharp, but in the last sectors it is really more solid than Baza and better to climb and to brush. This is the principal negative topic I would feel to say. The second one doesn't regard the place but our planning. In fact we found a really heat October, with warm conditions and 25 degrees basically all days. We knew before living it would have been not the perfect season, but we didn't aspect some moments so hot. Next time I will come in December or January with cold; this could be also a good reason to climb more and to preserve more skin, since some holds are similar to knifes. Many evenings we had burning hands despite some full days of rest and not so much climbing.

Now I gladly write many positive aspects we felt, and the reasons that will give us the motivation to come back in this particular spot. I usually give a lot of importance to the natural places that surrounds boulders where we climb. So I thought many times that this valley is really nice and perfect to climb: Great stones with egg shapes, green grasses where sheep browsed and good mix of colors and lights. The shapes of the boulders are fantastic and the climbing style is often physical, crimpy and conditions dependent. We had an amazing staying in Hristo's House, who accommodated us really kindly; Many people are nice and tried to help you if you need. You can find everything in the super markets and all the stuff is cheap including the food in the restaurants. The last point, maybe the best, regards the big rock potential that it has.

The first day of climbing, Hristo carried us to discovered a sector called "Sesernik" and I found possible lines to free. The first problem I brushed was the line that Rudy and I called "the brick project". It is not the best line I found here, but it is a good overhang with a cool feature in the middle i.e. a horizontal brick pinch hard to catch with your hands. After having brushed it, the logical start seemed to be from the crouching position; two sidepull for the hands, then moving into a gaston to go to the crux brick-pinch as low as I could but I never locked it. The first day there was the best conditions we had, It was cloudy with 12 degrees, but I was anyway able of doing just one of the four moves on this piece of rock. I said to come back during the trip, but the temperature started to grow up and I hadn't the right occasion to try it anymore. The brick project was left, but the following day I brushed a cool traverse which I sent in the same session. After a easy intro session on cool huecos it logically deviates to the right on good quality crimps to end on a slab with slopers. We called it "balconi balcani", and it could be maybe around 7C+.

Balconi Balcani, First ascent. Prilep. Photo Rudy Ceria
The first day Hristo showed me also a big egg of granit which hit me with its beauty: It seemed perfect. It was only half cleaned, but I was sure that brushing some holds, a possible line would have come out. It deals of the line I was looking for, since it has good features: awesome shape, developing in height, easy jugs intro, crimpy finish, slopy mantle and great moves. It also has jump start and a logical line which climbs this rounded arete without nothing else around. The third day I put the rope and with some hard times I was able of going down from the top with the brushes. I brushed the part below the mantle and I was syked. There was everything you need and I hoped that the crimp wouldn't have broken. After the first cleaning I came back to remove the moss for the slopy top out and after some attempts without rope I sent it. I was happy for this piece, It probably regards my best FA and I hope it could be also liked by the future repeaters. The name chosen was "The chickens academy" and it could be a bit harder than "Balconi balcani".

Another FA which I would like to describe is "Calgary '88" in Balvanija sector. The boulder is big and it is the same of "Velika Smekta", a classic tiny holds line put up by Urh Ceovin. The first day we were there I was completely dazzled by this line which wasn't brushed yet. So the day after I took the rope and I brushed it in all its height, since it develops on a big rail 8 meter high until the upper part of the boulder. For the right hand the big rail is basically really good, while for the left one is possible grab nice holes until the last part. After having brushed it I was aware it would have not been so hard and I opted to attempt it from the bottom despite its height. I was anyway a bit tense. Maybe not so much for the height but more for some possible breaking even though it looked solid. Fortunately It pass over fast without fails and it made me happy for such an unexpected cool FA.
The fourth FA I did, it isn't a new boulder, but simply an addition of a sit start and a top out of the line of "Hueco jack", which is for sure better to climb from the low until the mantle. Besides these lines, I also tried other Three projects which I was not able of finishing, like the brick project and other two cool lines that I hope to try again when I will go back in the future. 

The chickens academy, First ascent. Prilep. Photo Rudy Ceria
Calgary '88, First ascent. Prilep. Photo Rudy Ceria
Full line of hueco jack, Prilep. Photo Rudy Ceria
Beyond few FAs I put up, the brushing days I had and the attempts I dedicated on hard projects; I also tried some lines which were already established before our stay. Here a list of Boulders I climbed with personal grades and personal beauty opinions (5stars).

The French egg 7B **
Tup-Tup 7C **
All in 7C **
Super Sila 8A **
Velika Smekta 8A **
Welcome line variant 6C ***
Kajmak 6C ***
Cocoon 6C+ ***
Machedala 7A ***
Marinaio di vent'anni 7A ***
Unknown 7B+ ***
Gotham city 7C ***
Predator 7C/+ ***
Marshal 6C ****
Pelargonja stand variant 7A+ ****
Mala smetka 7B ****
Marmalade 7B/+ ****
Kula Sheika Bula 8A+ (flash) ****
Yellow snake 7C *****

Besides the climbing matter, also Macedonia itself has been nice, curious and particular for my habits. Prilep is a nice city, clean in the modern part and typical. We have been in the outside market in the square, where there are a big quantity of vegetables, fruits and spices which grow up there and they make big varieties of colors in the market. Really cool to see and to smell their scent. The people looked friendly and kind, and even if they are not so rich they seemed happy and quiet. The city is concentrated in a point and around it there are just tobacco plants, grass, crops e rural environment with no houses and some typical farms. Buying food or any other stuff like drinks, clothes, cigarettes, souvenirs and so on is really cheap and if you don't want to cook in the evening, many restaurants can offer good and simply stuff at low price. Also the flight was cheap and we arrived in Skopje, half an hour of car from Prilep, where the roads are deserts and engulfed by bushes which were completely colored by the autumn. I would say thanks to Hristo, our house keeper who was always available and kind. There, you can also rent the pads if someone don't want to pay the bags with the low coast companies. Anyway, also the experience outside of climbing was good and we hope to come back soon, maybe with 20 degrees less :) 

Here few links:

Full album photos on FB:

Macedonia bouldering:

Video will be edit soon.

If anyone would be interested in more info, descriptions, topos or article just contact me.

Welcome line variant 6C, Prilep. Photo Rudy Ceria

Predator 7C, Prilep. Photo Rudy Ceria

Prilep, Photo Rudy Ceria

Rudy climbs "Buy in" 6C, Prilep.

Super sila 8A, Prilep. Photo Rudy Ceria

Ohrid market. Photo Rudy Ceria

Yellow snake, Prilep. Photo Rudy Ceria

venerdì 11 ottobre 2013

Back in Averstal

After a full year of absence, Averstal restarted to arouse my curiosity and I decided to come back two days in October, to climb among trees, moss, berries and mushroom.

During this summer I sadly heard from climbers about few issues that hit Magic wood: too many people under the boulders, chaotic climbing moments, a crowed campsite, but especially trash and paper scattered in a such great forest that covers this thin Valley. For those kind of troubles, I avoided to go there in the hot months. First of all, I usually don't like to climb with a lot of people around, since this fact could ruins a bit the nice link between nature and I; Besides this, I wouldn't have liked to see the big trash impact and to climb with warm conditions. So, Giulia and I decided to go up just at the beginning of October and when we got there everything was different. In the campsite were present just four of five tents and the parking was almost empty; the air was cool and it looked like to be back few years ago, when the place were not so frequented. Also the forest was quite clean, not so much plastic or paper on the ground and it had a better looking than what I expected.

After few steps in this "soft" wood, my motivation started to be higher and I felt syked to be in this kind of fable contest, with green and brown spot in contrast of granite grey boulders. My goal for this fast stay, were to try a bunch of lines like "Sofa Surfer", "Pura vida", "Muttertag" and "Believe in two". The path and the roots were wet and we immediately understood that many lines couldn't have been dry. My forecast became real after the short way to reach the first problems, but I could get warm in "traversatta", a long traverse that I am always glad to climb. It has good rock, good moves and it has some unique features I like, for example the big moss carpet which drops from the top that makes this place an awesome forest where to climb. I like this boulder to approach my day in this spot, beyond the positive fact that it remembers me the first line climbed in Magic wood five years ago. After that, we moved towards "pura vida" 8A+/B, which was surprisingly dry and I was motivated to grab its nice solid crimps. During the last years I had big fights with this line; I had hard times at the end of the sequences, where I wasn't able to stay hung to the really tiny hole to take the last crimp for top it out. This year was different, at least for that move. I quickly did this sequence which made me crazy in the previous seasons and I started to work it out from the bottom.

Pura vida 8A+/B, Magic Wood. Photo Stefan Kurzi

Traversatta 7A+, Magic wood. Photo Stefan Kurzi

Probably the improvement is due to the dry conditions in this angle of the forest, and for sure to have got a bit more flexibility in my hip during the last year. This time, The good heel hook allowed me to stay lower with my ass and to stay hung  in a better way than the position I felt years ago. Moreover, the finger strength I trained, helped me to grab smaller hold, even though the small crimps or the tiny finger pockets are still in my weak points. Back to the previous subject, after some attempts I did this beautiful lines despite the ridiculous effort before the mantle. In fact, at the end, I took the risk to fail it again since I didn't remember the correct jugs like a real stupid.

In the afternoon another personal enemy was ticked off. It deals of "Sofa surfer" 8A. For sure It is not the best looking line, considering the fact it doesn't top out and some of its hold are sharp. Finally I found an optimal sequence for me and after few minutes I linked all its moves together.

The other climbing moments regards some work sessions in two worthy lines. The first is called "Muttertag", an explosive single move with awesome holds; while, the second problems, is the right line to Steppenwolf, put up by Chris Webb and named "believe in two". I tried once this boulder and I loved it so much. Nice scenery around, big tress, wild woods, good rock and cool holds. Every time I was under this wall my feeling was perfect and trying this line is always a pleasure for me. I was able to do every move, except the exit because it was wet and it looked really hard for my clumsiness in that kind of moves. The beta that I figured out includes really nice and funny acts, with crossing and big spans on slopy edges. Describing them would make the text really long, but one day in the future would be nice to send a cool line like this and share few photos of the moves it can offer.

After this year of absence and no consideration for this place, my motivation became higher and I would like to come back. Climbing in a forest like Magic wood is always great and I didn't remember the rock as good as it is. Unfortunately, I don't count to go back this fall since the snow seems to be close, but I hope to be there in the fresh spring after the ice dissolution.

My next plans are to go to Macedonia, in the area of Prilpep, together with my brother. We are syked and we don't know what it could be there. We just took inspiration by few photos of the place, that present it like a desert grassland covered by aggressive granite boulders. We are curios and motivated to see this scenery and also to try to brush new stuff and searching for new problems. It is the first time that I am planning a trip in a not well known climbing zone and it looks really exciting. We will see.

Walking in Magic Wood, Photo Stefan Kurzi

Sofa Surfer 8A, Magic Wood. Photo Stefan Kurzi

martedì 1 ottobre 2013

Training and some new photos

Hi everybody,

From the beginning of the month, training mode was on and the first sessions were quite hard and tiring. I previously set a program of three weeks, that was followed and completed for the most part of its period, by using fingerboard, pan gullich and climbing. Every week included two sessions of fingerboard, where I did double hands pull ups with overweight for half an hour/ one hour;  a single session of pan gullich, composed by seven different kind of exercises; three climbing days on the rock, which were replaced with gym climbing or PG during eventual rainy days; three hours of stretching  and two or three sessions of abdominals. Since it was almost 2 months that I hadn't trained constantly, The first two days were tiring and I tried to go on as secure as I can in order to avoid few eventual fingers injures. After ten days, my shape started magically to increase a bit, but it came back lower at the end of the program when I also got a bit of backache. This problem was probably due to the over weights I used and I should have had to pull up less kilos. 

Beyond this little drawback, the tiny wave of normal shape allowed me to send two good FA's in my "home area" named Champorcher, which has been a big source of good new problems for all the summer. The first one is  called "Zarmina", a stunning slopy holds sequence I brushed in August. The second line deals of "La V" project, which I tried for 6 full sessions failing over and over in the middle. It is absolutely weird and tricky, it has toe hooks before hands, heel hooks, dolphin mantle and it counts 11 movements despite its littleness. It was really funny being able to open it, because it required me a peculiar beta and some intensive work sessions to win its strangeness. The hardest single was not so severe if you reckon it as an individual move, but from the bottom it changed a lot and my hands had to be in perfect position to do it. The final solution came out discovering a blind foot hold which allowed me to stick the crux pinch and to reach the top. 2013 season offers us a bunch of good problems, especially in may, when the condition were prime and I could set new lines tried the year before. 

This blog spot is basically dedicated to share few photos about them, kindly taken by Gianluca Bosetti who was there for holiday. The little Portfolio includes "the ghost ship" a possible 8B+ to confirm, "paperella" 7C (2011), "Murano" 8B and "orange madness" 8A.

Enjoy it

The Ghost Ship 8B+ FA, Champorcher. Photo Gianluca Bosetti

The Ghost Ship 8B+ FA, Champorcher. Photo Gianluca Bosetti

Paperella 7C FA, Champorcher. Photo Gianluca Bosetti

Murano 8B FA, Champorcher. Photo Gianluca Bosetti

Murano 8B FA, Champorcher. Photo Gianluca Bosetti

Orange Madness 8A FA, Champorcher. Photo Gianluca Bosetti

Orange Madness 8A FA, Champorcher. Photo Gianluca Bosetti

Orange Madness 8A FA, Champorcher. Photo Gianluca Bosetti