In January, Italian boulderer Niccolò Ceria, traveled to western America to sample some world-renowned climbing around Red Rocks, Nevada and Bishop, California for six weeks. The 20 year-old, who has only been climbing outside since 2008, has traveled to Rocklands in South Africa, where during a five week trip he repeated hard routes such as Sitting in a Corner with Depression
(V14), and Golden Shadow
(V14). In the snowy regions of Västervik in Sweden, Ceria, among other ascents, flashed the V13, Hourglass
. When Ceria visited Prilep, Republic of Macedonia he added a few first ascents to the rarely visited area like The Chicken’s Academy
(V11), and flashed Kula Sheika Bula
(V12). Of course, he has explored around the Alps doing hard repeats such as Entlinge
(V14) and The Never Ending Story
(V14), which was his first climb of that grade at age 17.
During his time in the U.S, Ceria made repeats of some classic hard lines including Paul Robinson’s Meadowlark Lemon (V14/15). However, his trip to Bishop fell short of his expectations. After watching numerous videos of climbers like Chris Sharma and Lisa Rands crush hard problems in Bishop, Ceria was “disappointed” by the area’s the granite giants. Below are his comments on his climbing experience in Bishop.
By Niccolò Ceria
Bishop had been on my mind for a long time. I had built up what Bishop climbing would be like in my imagination, especially after the enormous attention that it got from Big Up Production’s Dosage and other videos.
In the morning light the Bishop landscape looked like a moonscape and all the boulders were so close together. My expectations for this place had been building for years and I hurried from one classic problem to another: From Mandala (V12) to Buttermilker (V13), from Evilution Direct (V11) to Saigon (V6) and so on. At first, everything looked great and amazing but after a few minutes of climbing I discovered how sharp the rock was, with low quality and painful holds.
My enthusiasm quickly faded. I climbed on famous problems for weeks, but I didn’t get the positive feelings I had hoped to have. The rock always looked bad to me and it was getting harder for my skin to bare the granite knives. Fortunately the shapes of the boulders are peculiar and interesting and this aspect gave me motivation to keep going.
Not all climbers love the same places, the same kinds of rock and the same holds. For this reason I always think it’s interesting to hear personal opinions about what other climbers really think concerning an area or a problem; in this way, you can really express what the climbing can offer to you.
Bishop had some positive aspects for me, and they could be enough for me to go back there in the future. The most impressive thing for me was the stateliness and the size that some lines had. This Side of Paradise
(V10) is one of the best problems out there. Its imposing nature, its marvelous shape and its gorgeous moves are simply amazing. I was also impressed by other problems like Evilution
and Jedi Mind Tricks
(V5). On these, the quality is top notch. I should also say that the area around Bishop is very clean and well cared for, an aspect that I really loved.
In conclusion, there were some aspects of Bishop that I was drawn to; on other hand the reality was vastly different from my expectations, especially since Bishop is considered one of the best bouldering areas in the world.
Ceria’s Ticklist of Notable Bishop Problems:
Mandala Sit Start V13/14
Buttermilker Sit V12/13
This Side of Paradise V10
Haroun and the Sea of Stories V11/12
Bubba Lobotomy V12
Kill On-sight V11/12
North of Center V11
He Got Game V11
Xavier’s Roof V11 (Flash)
Evilution Direct V11
Jedi Mind Tricks V5
Check out Ceria's video of his bouldering trip to Bishop.
GIANTS Bishop (CA) from niky_ceria on Vimeo.