Core gives us the Gioia 8C+ history

EDITORIAL

Saturday, 19 December

Christian Core, the world champion who twice has won the Boulder WC, has given some insight of his masterpiece from 2008 that Adam Ondra in 2011 upgraded it to 8C+ and commented.

"A fairy-tale end of a physical and mental battle, spent 11 days in total on this problem, the same as on Terranova, therefore I go for 8C+ from the same reasons. Thumbs up Christian for the vision and excitement to keep trying over and over again, I knew it is possible, Christian saw just a piece of incredible impossible-looking rock."

Gioia is part of the bouldering history as it was probably the first 8C+ in the world. Nalle Hukkataival, known for his hard grades and who did the first 9A in 2016, repeated it in 2014. "One of the very hardest boulders in the world. Let's remember that the name of the boulder is "Joy" and for me, it stands out more than just a grade." At that time there existed some 30 8C's out of which Nalle had done 10-ish.

Since five years, there exists a new sharp crimp on Gioia that makes it probably one grade easier. Even so, the fourth ascent was just done by Niky Ceria, avoiding the new sharp crimp that appeared some five years ago. "The method I used doesn't hold the sharp crimp and make a wide reach to the decent edge. So you make the come-in from a better hold and it's quite powerful. It makes the boulder longer so you basically you have no chalk for the upper part. I think it looks very wide from the bottom, but way less when you are pulled into the wall."

We asked Core if he could give us the history of Gioia also including some of the controversies in regards the new holds and the use of glue?

I would like to begin by congratulating my friend Niccolò Ceria, a very strong and humble climber who, climbing Gioia, not only climbed another beautiful line, but also one of the benchmarks of Varazze. A lot has been said on various websites about this boulder, even recently about holds on this boulder not being natural. I understand that web sites publish what others write, but it’s important that the author has a complete understanding of what they write, so I would like to clarify some details. The boulder was originally discovered by the tireless local Marco Bagnasco, who cleaned up entire cave and found this logical line made up of small crimps. The rock was solid but deep inside some crimps in the second section there were thin slits. So to protect these holds from water and winter ice, I decided to put transparent glue in these little cracks so they could not be seen outside the crack. (It’s called super glue). I would like it to be clear that other than this, nothing else was done. All the holds of Gioia are natural.

I climbed this boulder in 2008, calling it "Gioia", (in english “Joy”) a simple name, given by the emotion of discovering, working and being able to climb such a beautiful line after so much dedication. Some years after my accent it was repeated by two very strong climbers, Adam Ondra in 2011 and then Nalle Hukkataival in 2014. About a year after Nalle’s ascent, we found two important changes. A new good crimp appeared in the first section, where nothing had existed before, and also a new foothold appeared in the second section. So the Gioia line had been changed, and as I wrote at that time, I closed the foothold, which I assure you that I did not like doing. The new crimp, because too big, I however left (and can be seen in the attached photos) and if used, does change the grade of this first section. It’s worth noting that at the same time as the holds appeared on Gioia, we also found new holds on another boulder in the same area named. “Raptor Survives”, the last section has “new holds”, avoiding the hardest part, making the line easier and different. I’d like to again congratulate Niccolò for his repetition and importantly demonstrating a strong ethic by climbing it using the original holds. I hope others can have the joy of climbing it in this way.”

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