First of all, the news.
One year has passed since my last post, that was about my elbow injury, and my toe injury, but also about The Iron, The System, The One Arm Hangs.
Things more or less kept going that way for months and months, with the joyous monotony - or monotonous joy - of constant progress through The Grind.
A sudden change happened under the form of a message from no other than Keith, Unclesomebody himself, announcing his months-long roadtrip with wife, 3 years old daughter, and 4 months old daughter. Priorities, you know. We agreed to meet in Val Daone.
With my medial epicondilitis giving small signs of capitulation, I thought I'd better pull my finger out, if I wanted to keep the slightest form of climbing dignity in front of Keith. The thought that I had been out of the game for almost one year, injured, and with a total of four climbing days in more than two years, remained confined to the deepest recesses of my mind.
Dedicating myself to front-on lock offs on the system, one day, I felt a sudden blade through the medial side of my right knee.
I quickly stopped the session. Well I didn't, but I switched to side-on lock offs. My knee swelled a little, and four days later I was climbing - or at least trying to - in Val Daone with Keith.
I managed to climb something, but the real joy was being in a beautiful place, with beautiful rock, with beautiful people.
Of course I am kidding.
It was a nightmare.
Of course I am kidding again.
It felt really good to be moving on rock again, despite being taped up and clad in neoprene supports as if we were in one of those XXX movies.
Keith showed no sign of the 10 years passed since the last time we met, in the Dolomites, with James.
He flashed everything up to 7c and made well clear that some things and some people never change.
I came back home to The Iron and The Edges, and my knee started improving.
On an unforgettable day, months after, I realized that I had started forgetting about my right elbow. Fucking bingo. It was over. For almost one year, every fucking morning, upon washing my face, I would feel a sharp pain going from my elbow down through my forearm. Every fucking morning, as the very first fucking thing in the fucking day. A fucking reminder. Now I could start forgetting.
I could finally answer the board call with a light spirit. And a heavy body...
Fast forward a few weeks and I am at some friends' house, playing on the ground with my girlfriend's niece, Caterina. After kneeling down for a few minutes I stood up, and immediately felt something wrong. The following morning it was still there, that ugly sensation of having a tender, swollen and injured knee.
You guessed it: I had broken my right medial meniscus.
This story is quite short, I sacked completely the board (I can't pull with my right leg) and kept ironing things out, with some deadhanging and some system boarding using just my left leg. You gotta do what you gotta do.
Now I've signed for the surgery and am waiting to be fixed.
All the above has nothing to do with the real reason of this entry, which is the following.
A few days ago I watched a video that made my eyes bleed.
It was about a young hotshot "repeating" one of my problems.
In order to do this, he used all the holds of my problem, and all the holds of the nearby problem. Then he obviously commented on the grade with smugness.
Leaving aside all the possible discussion about eliminates, one thing really bothers me. People aren't interested in knowing what happened before them. And they aren't interested in knowing if their opinion could be right or wrong.
Every problem I've put up in the last 26 years, have independent holds.
So, my proposed grades takes this factor into accout.
It's quite natural to me to act like this, because if you use the same holds of another problem, the second one ceases to be a different, independent problem.
Moreover, I love sequences.
I love to search the way of getting to the top of a small rock using independent holds, and as few of them as possible. I have applied this principle - of using only independent holds - not only to my first ascents, but to every problem I've ever climbed or tried to. Call me a fanatic bastard, an eliminate lover, call me what you like, because I don't care.
People are obviously free to use whatever they like, to get to the top. In the end, if they're weak it's not my problem.
But, since they like to comment about grades with the presumptuousness of having The Grading Truth, they should get some info beforehand.
Si parva licet componere magnis, I would like to tell a story that I think explains my thought.
Years ago, a young, strong climber, started repeating all the old, hidden problems in the 7c+/8a range, put up by Fred Nicole in his home areas decades before.
He then started commenting that the grades given by the man himself were soft. "How dare you?" surged a sudden protest from the climbing community.
Informed about the issue, Fred was interviewed about it. Being the person he is, he calmed the fuss and said: "Well it could easily be that my grades feel soft. That's probably because I'm not very good at finding sequences, and because, with those problems, I would simply see them and give them just a quick brush. Then I did them all flash or second go, so probably my sequences weren't very refined."
Now, I am not Fred. But the principle remains.
I think that when someone wants to make a statement, they should know what happened before them.
It's quite easy to find every possible information about everything on the interner nowadays, so the question is: do people really want to know what happened before them?