Niccolò “Niky” Ceria made the first repeat of Voyager sit start (V14) in Burbage North, Peak District, this Sunday—considered one of the hardest gritstone boulder problems in the U.K. The sit start hasn’t seen an ascent since Ben Moon claimed the FA in 2006.
“It has been a really significant moment of my climbing life,” Ceria tells Rock and Ice. “Voyager has been on my wish-list for many years.”
Ceria attempted the V13 stand start to Voyager—also established by Moon, in 2005—on his first trip to the Peak District in 2010. He made good progress at first, but after repeated attempts in the days following, he was never able to reach his high point again. “I was quite disappointed,” he says. “I left the Peak District conscious that one day I would be back to try that awesome piece of gritstone.”
Ceria’s determination didn’t falter over the years and he was finally able to return to the Peak District this October. He trained hard, “trying to reach a good shape both physically and mentally,” he says. “I knew the English weather was bizarre, so I would only have a few good days and I had to be ready.”
His first goal was to complete the stand start, to put “an end to the chapter I began in 2010.” Ceria says. “Subsequently, my second goal was the unrepeated sit.”
Ceria says conditions “weren’t so bad” that Sunday. “I pulled on the stand start and I reached [my] high point of five years ago. I felt stronger than before so stayed positive.” Ceria took down the stand start on his second go and wasted no time getting after the sit.
“I tried the moves [of the sit start] and [found] nice beta, which flowed into the upper part,” he says. “I rested for a while and I opted to give it a first good go from the bottom.” Ceria climbed past the stand start and into the boulder problem’s crux. He split a fingertip somewhere in there, but that didn’t stop him.
“I felt I was quite on the limit since I didn't have a lot of confidence with the moves,” he says. “I went ahead and I reached the last move, where I missed the problem years ago. I stuck the last hold and I got [to] the top.
“I was so happy to have completed it. It was one of the things I really cared about. Everything is now fine that this gem is in the pocket :).”
Find Niky Ceria on Instagram @nk_ceria
Watch Ben Moon on the FA of Voyager Sit (V14):