martedì 28 maggio 2013

The Ghost Ship - Champorcher

The arrival of spring is often associated with hard times to climb in good bouldering spots like Ticino and many others. For April, May and June I think there are still good areas where it is possible to climb with cold and to keep the motivation high to bear the summer's arrival in the lower lands. For this season, the spots where I would have liked to go were Val Bavona, Barbara refuge, Fionnay and Champorcher.

As always happen, it is really hard visiting all these places before the vernal temperature becomes summer. So I opted to climb in two of them so far,  by selecting on my projects list. Unfortunatly  the weather in Val bavona was really rainy and after a fast day up there, I decided to dedicated my energies to Champorcher and to do some First ascent experiences.

Some projects were in my mind and I was syked to climb on virgin rock. The first time I was in Champorcher two years ago, I saw a futuristic line on the overhanging  face of the parking prow. I saw some crooked holds and I imaged a line on this wall. After three scattered sessions in 2011 and 2012, this year my aim was to figure out a possible beta and to understand if it would have been possible for my abilities. On Saturday 11th May I went there with a bunch of good friends. The first time of the season in Champorcher it is always good: The place is nice, the torrent is still wide and spring days are often crispy, in fact the valley offers good natural place with great light. In this pleasant  contest the orange rock and the boulder caos stands out in all its beauty.

In the afternoon I started to work out a possible sequence of my big project. The years before I did the first three moves so I was curious to check the second part. At the end of the day every move, until the last jug, were done and I started to dream about its possibilities. I brushed a bit the exit, since it was the only missing  section and I went home really happy. Champorcher immediately gave us the wish to come back, getting profit by this low temperature of may. In the same day also a new line was put up, called "Il Salto del Corazza", a big move to a lip which requires a good arms lenght. 

Wednesday 23th. Conditions were good again, by being 1400 m on sea level Champorcher is really dry in these days, especially in this month where temperatures are under medium season values. Before warm up, I bound the rope on a pine and I brushed the exit of my goal. We climbed some stuff around the huge boulder, like a nice arete of 6C which I would advice and some lines on the back side of my project, around 7A/+ which were quite good to get ready. I attempted the top out previously brushed and I found a easy way to do it. Only one move missed and I was almost sure that it wouldn't have been so hard. I was completely wrong.

The session before I completed every move except the last one, where I had a good hold but I was totally open with my arms. I should have know that it was still a hard move, in fact from that open position I should have kept the swing with only one arm using the good hold, and then linking to top out. I tried this powerful move and I did it after some goes. thinking about the whole line, last move looked too aleatory and I knew it would have been too hard from the bottom. I started to work out the first part, trying to do some links.

The evening session was positive since I fell down on last move but at the same time I had the confirmation that it was too hard for the link. I made good progresses on the lower part but the final was still enigma. Thanks to pushing of my friend Gabri, I tried more times this last doubtful  sequence and I wasn't able of repeating  one arm action. I left the place conscious about my doubts and I knew that the next session would have been dedicated to figure out a different beta for the last piece of my puzzle.

Friday 24th. Rudy was off as every Friday and he was motivated to come with me up there. The evening before, we checked the weather web site and it promised a max of 8 degrees, sunny and dry. Once we arrived in the parking, the day seemed perfect as we expected. Blue sky, dry air and cold were really motivating  factors for both. Few things started to be really household, as the strong sound of the river and the moans of the cows on the background. After the usual warm up, Rudy climbed "antrace" a 7A on the same boulder and I started my session. After some work I understood a good way to replace that incredible last move with a low per cent of success. This was merit of a pair of old jet7, a kind of shoes whit a great toe hook which suited to my foot really well. The new way was a double toe hooks which permitted me to do the last swing with two hands and not with only one, basically a totally different foot sequence than the first one thought days before. I repeated the last part two times then I started to try it from the bottom and I failed high enough since my foot slipped on the first slopy crimp. I took a rest for all afternoon long.

Rudy tried "cochese night" a nice crimpy traverse situated on the right side of a grassed trail and engulfed by trees, which make this boulder completely in shadow. He liked it and he wants to come back soon. In the evening I had another valid tentative but I made a mistake and I failed before last move. I had to quit since my skin was a bit hurt and I couldn't feel the first crimp.

Two days later, on Sunday 26th I went there with Marco and I felt quite good since I rested well. We planned a halt in a little food shop before going up in the valley. This one was close and we went in a bar where we met a friend of us, Pero. His programs were to go to a cliff for rope climbing, but when he knew our destinations he changed his mind joining with us for a bouldering day. Same warm up of the previous three sessions and I put eight pads under the big wall. Some of them were left in a cave during this period of attempts.

Marco set the camera and I started. Everything went perfect until the last swing where I kept the body on and I did the exit. I was really glad, finally my vision of years before was done and this First ascent made me really joy for few minutes.  I loved this kind of experience and its climbing. My beta used every holds on that overhang and without one of them I wouldn't  have been able of doing. For this reason, I consider this sequence as one of the purest I have ever done. The name choosen was "The ghost Ship" and it might be a possibile 8B+ since I felt it harder than my previous boulders.

In the afternoon we moved again towards "cochese night", where Marco did fastly every move.  He started from the bottom and he missed the ascent on the mantle since the crimp was full of pine needles, postponing  the sure ascent on next time. Meanwhile I did the first ascend of another project which I called "calicot". It deals of a line brushed last year with Max, but really hard to attempt because temperature was too high. That day the conditions were quite good and my shape too and I took advantage by these facts. 

Champorcher starts to be an important bouldering spot of North west. The quality of rock is better than other places of the valley and there are almost 100 lines from 3th grade. Now other projects are waiting for a first ascent up there, but I would also like to go in other place like Fionnay or Barbara Refuge to change rock and environments.

The Ghost Ship FA, Champorcher. Photo Marco Pelle

The Ghost Ship FA, Champorcher. Photo Marco Pelle

Il Salto del Corazza FA, Champorcher. Photo Rudy Ceria

giovedì 2 maggio 2013

Training for summer

The first three months of this year have been set for training to get in a fine shape before my ten days in Sweden. The period of training worked well and in the middle of march I felt stronger than Dicember or January. I started to get in shape in the period of Gandalf il grigio and this feeling accompained me until the end of april. In Sweden, and during the few weeks later too, I felt good and agile as I wanted, in fact I was really glad for having climbed high quality stuff since this was my goal.

After april the 6th I decided to take a month of rest or just climbing outdoor when it was possible. Rarely I had some fingerboard hangs.

The weather in the last weeks wasn’t so good. The first touch of spring seemed more like summer, in fact the medium season area in Aosta Valley were too hot, while the summer spots were still covered of snow.
I went once in Gaby with Rudy where we finished to brush a river arete.
I climbed it from the sit and he was close in the stand version. From the stand it has two moves on slopers which could be equal to 7A I though, while the sit adds two harder singles, really fun to do. The line remains on river sector, on the left of “Big Courier”.
Another time I was in Brione where Me,Marco and Aly tried to take the last freshness of the winter to grab the lovely Verzasca’s granite. In the morning I managed to do “the guilty of the hilti”, a Gaston line put up by Bernd Zangler. While in the afternoon I did the third ascent of “flash flood” on the river, just on the right of “ fake pamplemouse”. I climbed them both on second go from start, but in the first one I had to fight hard some tries to win the hard gaston move, which makes the hard part of the line. My back was destroyed the day after.
Marco showed me “Ballermaan” too, a stunning line with great rock. It deals of a compression boulder with a jump at the end where it is hard to keep the other hand on the slopy pinch. A really good line, probably one of the best in Brione around these grades, 7B/+.

Beyond these rock sessions, I climbed seldom until this week when I restarted training.
My next adventure will be in Rocklands this summer, from july the 7th until August the 11th.
My current aim is to get in a good shape before leaving, although I have just two month.
I have set a period of training where I would like to test some new stuff.
The first new thing in my program is Chris Webb Parsons hang advice, since his videos was on the web some weeks ago and it seemed really fun and useful. I think it could be worthy to try.
The second thing deals new exercises on PG, like some crossing moves or some changes on the previous exercises. As in the previous program, the first part will be all set in fingerboard, with three sessions per week (2 with hangs and one of Enchores). Over this, I will climb in the gym and on rock when it will be possible. While the second run the fingerboard will be linked on PG sessions. During All two months I also hope to get some rock climbing in Aosta valley and around, to climb new stuff for me and also to check how training works before SouthAfrica.

Flash Flood 8B, Brione. Photo: Alice Gariazzo