The perfect line
The perfect line… it does not exist because perfection does not exist. You can get very close, but never 100% perfect. The (almost) perfect line would have to be something like this – You walk into the most beautiful landscape you have ever seen, holding the hand of the most beautiful girl you have ever seen. Ahead of you stands a single boulder, with a single line so obvious that everything else fades into the background (yes, that’s right, even the girl!). It’s obvious from 100m away, and with each step forwards it becomes more and more beautiful until you are standing underneath it and can think of nothing but touching the first holds. The rock is perfect, smooth to the touch, but with enough texture to provide velcro-like friction under your skin, and each hold is a pleasure to take, seemingly carved by a master sculptor. The movements are bliss, you are not sure if you control the rock or the rock controls you, but whatever it is, it just makes sense. Each second is a joy, and as you arrive on the summit, you turn to witness the final moments of an incredible sunset.
Competition is not an important part of my life. I am beginning to understand and appreciate its elements, but that is as far as it goes – for me there is no drive in fighting out week after week for who is the best/strongest/most prepared/luckiest.
Most of the best boulders in the world are on granite, of one form or another – that says almost everything! For (almost) perfect granite, visit Brione, in Switzerland!
Fantastic routes, ugly boulders! I don’t know why, but something just doesn’t work!
Sandstone is amazing! No matter how many times you have been, or for how long you have climbed, go to Font and you smile when you first touch the rock. Great holds, great lines, great friction. Sometimes the conditions can be a little frustrating. Grit is also great, but has less of the good qualities of sandstone and more of the bad! Still it is quite unique and for this point alone it scores highly.
If a sit start adds something great to an already great problem, then I am happy. It’s all about feeling natural! Just like it feels natural to run naked through a sunny alpine meadow, it feels natural to climb some boulders from a sit.
Is bouldering an art form?
No: Art is about creation, bouldering is interpretation. It’s close, and linked, but not the same…
As humans, we like to make up rules that add or take value from an otherwise inert situation. This is Flash – we take something simple like climbing to the top of a rock, and then make a rule to make climbing in a certain way more valuable. It makes sense, its logical, but is there much point? Is there much point to Bouldering, what about Climbing, and if were are on this road… what is the point of life in general?
Pfffff! I’m really not a fan, and would not do it myself. Different times, different ideas and different mentalities have made it a part of our world, a part that I wish would be left in history, but will realistically continue in certain places, from time to time.
It’s strange how some sports seem to be completely ruled by this, and others seem to be passed by. I don’t know anything about doping in bouldering, perhaps it doesn’t work, perhaps the people are good at hiding. Either way, it’s not something that concerns me so much.
Cresciano or buttermilks?
It depends on weather; we are talking about the general areas of Bishop and Ticino, or the specific parts of the Buttermilks and Cresciano. The Buttermilks is gorgeous, blue skies and snow covered mountains most days of the year, but the rock is a little sharp for my taste. Cresciano has great rock, but the scenery, whilst great, is not quite picture perfect. The deciding factor is probably the chocolate… Lindt or Hersheys? No contest really!
10°C, 0°C or -5°C with snow?
Around 5 works well for me. Any colder and it is hard to warm up – but I feel the conditions are more dependent on humidity and rock type than temperature alone. If I am just out for a nice day with friends, I prefer things a little warmer.
Alone in Joshua or partying at Melloblocco?
There is a time and a place for both. Feelings and motivations change, so change your surroundings to compliment them.
Which has been your hardest problem? Describe it:
The longest battle I ever had was on The Buttermilker, an 8a+ I climbed in the Buttermilks, Bishop, when I was 18. I invested around 10 or 12 days in the problem, beginning by climbing one or two moves, gradually breaking it down until I could link the entire thing. Since then, I have not had many long term projects, I usually get bored after a few tries and loose motivation. I would quite like to find a hard boulder that really speaks to me, something where I could really test myself again.
Give me 3 blocs you would really like to do
Hmm, three nice boulders from the top of my head are Dreamtime, Practice of the Wild, and Kheops. But I can’t be that motivated to do them or I would have gone there to try more often. Perhaps one day in the future, I will start to hear them call?
Athletes: James Pearson
Photographer: Damiano Levati