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Video: The Search for the Best (and Hardest) Boulders in Italy

According to Niky Ceria, “The ideal line [is located] not too far from the water but also not too close to it.”

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After graduating from high school in 2012, Niky Ceria travelled extensively for many years, repeating some of the world’s hardest classics, including numerous V15s, while also putting up tall first ascents in West Virginia and Australia and many places in between. Lately, however, he’s been focusing on undeveloped boulders near his home in Northwest Italy, many of which are found in the narrow river valleys of the foothills of the Alps and are featured in his new short film, The Riversider, which you can find below.

Climbing tall new lines takes work. Ceria often carries numerous pads, a rope, and a ladder out to the boulders, sometimes making multiple trips between the car and the climbing. (Photo: Andrea Cossu)

“I had the luck to live the entire process from A to Z on these boulders,” he told Climbing, first “visualizing the moves, the falls, the holds,” and finally, “after many sessions and lots of doubt,” climbing them clean.

Niky Ceria on the First Ascent of Il Serpente Piumato (Photo: Andrea Cossu)

One of the most fascinating facts about the particular boulders featured in the film, Ceria said, is that both their quality and difficulty is influenced by their distance from the river.

“The ideal line [is located] not too far from the water but also not too close to it,” he told Climbing. The rock should get “enough water to be smooth and solid, but not so much that it’s polished.”

When you’re looking only for boulders in this sweet spot, he adds, it reduces your chances of finding a king line. “But when it does happen, everything is magical. The rock has a very good and balanced texture.”

Naturally “The Riversider” is full of king lines.