domenica 23 febbraio 2014

Bishop, second part

I have Just got home after a long and weary journey from Bishop. The Us trip is now finished and the sweet memories are starting to fill my mind. There have been so many good moments, awesome pieces of rock, good bouldering in new places and different climbing every day. The time always ran really fast, but six weeks have been sufficient to have a lot of fun in the two spots we decided to visit i.e. Red Rocks and Bishop. As I wrote, the Buttermilks county deluded my expectations and until the end of the stay I was not able to get a perfect feeling with this famous spot.

Some of the problems have been anyway capable of surprising me, like the pure overhang of "The Spectre", one of the most incredible granite boulder you can image. The first session on it went pretty good, climbing it in two sequences except for the final slab which looked to be an important crux section for my poor slab skills. The same day, with a mix of light rain and dry conditions I got the ascent of Tony Lamiche's "Manadala sit start" V13, the super mega classic showed on the first dosages in 2000's. It was a good moment being at the top of such an important historic line despite I didn't like its holds and its excessive fame.

The last week started with a good skin but the temperature grew up really high as well as the drop of my physical shape due to the tiredness of the weeks before. On the second session on "The Spectre" I finally figured out the slab but the problem looked to be at the bottom, where my abdominals weren't strong enough to repeat the moves of the previous day. After half an hour came a strong sand storm and the air got up the pads. We had to go back home. After that day I quitted that problem, despite its beauty. I knew it would have been too hard for my tiredness so I started to focus on easier problems that I was interested in. The problems I was looking for were a bit high for the standard size I was used to, but trying them with the rope everything became more safe and more quiet for my fear. I was so impressed by many locals that are used to put up highballs that seemed as giant as a cliff. I decided to attempt some of them in the medium-high size, first of all the beautiful arête of “This side of paradise” aka “Bardini’s Arete” V10. At the first sight I was amazed by this: tall, huge, pure, beautiful climbing, yellow and a scary easy slab to top out.With the rope, I began to get a positive confidence on the slab and also on the upper moves on the prow which looked to be the hardest. My goal was to figure out a fast beta for all the arête to skip some movements in order to not get pumpy before the easy and delicate exit. The second day I went there with Robert, a Swedish guy, and under the hot spring sun my positive sensations turned into negative ones. I was not able to repeat the sequence and I felt really weak. The quick change of temperature usually gives me some hard time, in fact when the shade came my energies went up and I felt like another climber. Every moves went perfectly with the rope and the level of consciousness in the final slab was positive enough to try it ground up. I was anyway a bit tense. I knew it would have been great to climb a perfect problem like this, but I also knew that I had to do everything really well knowing my lacks on slabs. I turned the mind off and I rested. Robert started, he reached the good last hold before the easy top out and he felt too pumpy to continue. Giulia and I spotted him on the drop off and I thought that I would have been the next. I focused more and then I put the portable chalk bag, rarely used. I felt my mind ready and I got the slab, I breath as much as I can and I won the awesome problem. For an historical notion, the problem has been put up by Matt Wilder in 2005 and repeated by two courageous girls.

After that the other lines I wanted to try were always tall for my habits, but easier under the mental aspect. My aim was to climb something on the giant classic Grandma boulder, the biggest egg of rock I have ever seen. The first one was “foot prints” V9 with a really athletic intro that ends in a really long 5.10 slab until the top that I climbed focused but without big problems. Instead the second is the good boulder of “Evilution direct” V11 that gave me more troubles in the higher part. That evening was getting colder and with five pads the occasion to try this rig seemed appropriated. The first part to the lip was climbed well but at the jug top I started to feel my hands cold. I anyway tried to do the second part of the problem and in two more moves the left hand was totally numb. I stopped, I was confused and I looked down to jump, but maybe it was too late to choose the dropping off. I had no idea what I was grabbing with the hands. I was too scared to jump so I tried to go on, thinking about a possible and sudden snap from there. Fortunately the hand stayed and I could reach the good crimp and top it out. I want to say thanks to my buddies on the ground that push me up despite the little trouble.

After that day, the time was really ending and the melancholy grew up. Besides “Spectre”, there was “direction” at the top of the list, a boulder I really like for its movements and I wanted to finish it. I tried this line until the last day, but it seemed I should come back stronger on this kind of moves like jump and tiny crimps. I was anyway happy to see some progress on it during my long 6 sessions of work. Hope to finish it one day in the future.

The trip is over and I really have good memories about the first travel to US. I wasn’t not able to complete all of my bouldering wishes, but being there was definitely a great satisfaction.

Now it is time to go back training, thinking about some projects close to home and planning the next trip in another area to enjoy other kind of rock, different boulders and new landscapes.

Mandala sds V13, Bishop. Photo Giulia Paoletti

Arete on Grandma 5.10, Bishop. Photo Giulia Paoletti

The Mystery V11, Bishop. Photo Giulia Paoletti

Buttermilks main sector, Bishop. Photo Giulia Paoletti

Buttermilks, Bishop. Photo Giulia Paoletti

venerdì 7 febbraio 2014

US trip, Bishop Chapter 1

Buttermilk road, Bishop

You hear Bishop and you immediately think about an amazing bouldering paradise, as the best spot of the world. This is probably due to the commonly positive and flatterer comments by the most part of the climbers that visited this area. Its fame is also made by the scenes of the famous American climbing films like Dosage 1, with the first ascents of Mandala, King lines and many other good videos about Bishop. Even for me was the same. I saw a pictures of "Mandala" in 2004 and after that I always heard speaking really well about the place. Probably I could be the unique, or maybe one of the few, but Bishop is definitely disappointing my expectations. We came here on the 28th of January and immediately got delusions from the Buttermilks sector, known as the best zone. We walk in the famous paths, we checked all the problems and the rock seemed to be one of the worst I have ever seen: sharp, with big grain and it makes painful and bad holds. Something looked cool, especially in the highest grade of difficulty, but not as good as I expected. Moreover the sector is close to the parking, where for all the day long there is an intensive comings and goings of climbers and so it seems to be in a seaside resort. The only few things that gave the impression to be nice were the place around the problems and the some shapes of the boulders. When the second day was over, after dinner we were already looking for another place to go, escaping by this. Joe's valley came in my mind, but it was too cold and a bit hard under the logistic aspect. We decided to stay here for all the 3 planned weeks. Now the sensations are going better, but for sure Bishop is out of the top 15 places where I have climbed. My negative opinions are certainly personal, in fact I usually search to describe what I saw with a subjective vision: from the point of view of the natural places, of the kind of rock where I climb, of the quality of the problems, its shapes, holds, suggestions about difficulty and so on. Buttermilks offers also other secondary sectors, with different landscapes and good lines to climb, even though the rock is still one of the worst.

The first ten days are over and I managed to climb some lines, but without sending the main desired boulders. The first day I took down "Buttermilker" V12/V13, maybe one of the best in Bishop. It has been put up by the American pioneer Chris Sharma in 1999. The problem is certainly good, but is not to be compared with the quality of Red Rocks. I had fun on it and the movements are pleasant. The other goods lines I was able to send are "Haroun the sea of stories", which personally deserves a full V12 and "Xavier’s roof" V11 in Dale’s camp sector. The first one is huge, with huecos in the first part and a long crimpy pumpy wall to reach at the end. It was nice to send it and thanks to the push of Alex and Mat (two guys we met and we are climbing with), I did the mantle after few goes. Also "Xavier's roof" has been cool, maybe my favorite one so far, with an incredible last move to a giant hueco.

A bit disappointed by the Buttermilks, we often went to the other sector, "happy boulders". it is in another direction from the Buttermilks but not so far from this. Here, it is really curious to see how the rock formations change as well as the place, despite the distance is not so big. The rock is volcanic, so from the tiny granite crimps, you can pass to walls full of pockets, big crimps and some slopers which weirdly seemed to be not painful. It is situated in a sienna painted canyon that splits in two a perfect plateau, this last flat like a table. You climb in the canyon where every rock looked broken and holey, but in some points you can see a perfect, clear, smooth and flat piece of earth up to the bouldering sector. The problems appeared better for my tastes and for Giulia's ones, who hates the granite we found. The easy-medium boulders are really much better and also in some harder lines the rock is softer and it makes cool conformations. The best problems I have done here are the traverse of "Bubba Lobotomy" V12 and "Kill on sight" V11. Bubba is a line of few days ago and its climbing is funny. The traverse has a big quantity of pockets that finishes on a good rail to make a big double dyno at the edge. After this awesome move, you top the boulder out on the infinite desert table , watching the canyon below your feet with the pumpy arms. Really nice moment.

Now we had still 14 days, in which I hope to finish some projects in the buttermilks sector like "Mandala sds"  first and then many others. I am feeling that it still too early to try hard crimpy stuff with the skin I have at the moment. It is now quite soft and I hope to get the stronger skin I have ever had soon, in order to push hard on the tiny sharp crimps. I had also some good lines I have still to attempt like the beautiful "The Spectre" that  might be the best here, together with "This side of Paradise" and "Jedi Mind tricks". For the moment, some shoots taken by Giulia and I, about our first part of the trip in California and some problems done.

Xavier's Roof V11, Bishop. Photo Giulia Paoletti

Harun and the sea of story V12, Bishop. Photo Giulia Paoletti

Evolution (to the lip) V10, Bishop. Photo Giulia Paoletti

Giuly on Pirate booty V3, Bishop.

Bishop, Photo Giulia Paoletti

Bubba Lobotomy V12, Bishop. Photo Giulia Paoletti