Gioia Fb8c at Varazze by Christian Core
Christian Core has freed his hardest problem ever, Gioia Fb8c at the Antro dei Druidi, Potala di Varazze (Italy).
Everyone knows that Christian Core enjoys bouldering outdoors. The former World Champion has a predilection for losing himself between one boulder and the next, for attempting to solve moves and problems of all shapes, sizes and intensity. And his quest for perfection has often led him to explore the most famous boulder problems in to world.
Now though, thanks to his friend Marco Bagnasco, Core's latest "perfect" boulder problem has sprung to life in Varazze, right in Core's home stomping gound. 14 moves inspired by none other than Dreamtime, the famous problem at Cresciano. 14 moves which are are continuation of the magnificent boulder which all climbers dream of. Dreams set in stone, scattered in forests, which render people happy, are a source of pure joy. Just like this latest, extremely difficult and perfect problem which, almost by chance, is 8c.
Gioia, the joy of a perfect problem
by Christian Core
Discovering new boulders, cleaning them and exploring new lines is always exciting. This is an important aspect of bouldering, without it I feel this sport is incomplete. After seeing Dreamtime for the first time at Cresciano our most active Varazze local Marco Bagnasco was struck by the sheer perfection of the line. On our return he exclaimed: "I'm not sure exactly when, but some day I'll find another difficult problem, perhaps not as hard as Dreamtime, but just as beautiful."
His search for new problems progressed incessantly and, by now a true Varazze local, he mananged to unearth numerous worthwhile problems. One day though I received an excited phone call: he had finally discovered the line he'd been looking for. Standing beneath the boulder for the first time was an incredible joy: a small cave with lots of small edges, hardly any footholds and an exit to the right on small holds. Simply perfect. I got to work freeing different lines and variations, but above all I sent a standing start to "Gioia". This begins in the middle of the cave from an obvious edge and then continues to exit diagonally right.
The line was splendid but, without the first half, incomplete. I started to try this, worried that I'd perhaps discover an edge or crux foothold was missing, but I soon realised that I had exactly what I needed. So I set to work on the problem and as soon as I had a couple of hours off I went to Varazze to try the single moves. Then the rains set in and it even started snowing. The cave seeped for days on end and working the line became a difficult undertaking.
While trying the hardest section I broke a small edge due to the dampness and, worried that I might lose this perfect line, I decided to wait for better conditions. The weather soon improved and perfect stable conditions set in. My sessions on the problem intensified despite broken skin until, one day, I managed to free the problem. I was overjoyed. I think it's the hardest problem I've ever climbed, and I reckon it's Fb 8c.
Here's a brief "portrait" of Gioia:
- 14 holds plus poor intermediates, all small crimps and poor footholds. The problem is located in the cave to the right of the famous “Chiavi del regno” on the first big boulder in the sector Antro dei druidi, at Potala.
- Start sitting down on the right and follow the diagonal line on small edges to exit up right. The first official guide to Varazze comes out at the end of April and this details all sectors and boulders, including this beautiful problem.
Once again I'd like to thank my great friend Marco Bagnasco. Thanks to his ceaseless desire to discover new boulders and his generosity in preparing lines for others, for all, he has given us these "playgrounds" where everyone can find their ideal boulder problem.