Thursday, 31 January 2008


Hehe, in the last post I wanted to write "THEN proper climbing" instead of "the proper climbing" but it's nice to read "tests on the fingerboard, the proper climbing".


So, I am quite sad lately, mostly because I can't stand the job any more. The shop is more and more empty, it's always difficult to find the stuff customers want, and, basically, I'd like to smash every face that asks me "excuse me is there any discount on the backpacks?" under a massive sign reading "50% off on everything".
Stupid, depressed idiots that prefer to stay an entire evening in a shop, buying every kind of thing to be used in the mountains, except climbing shoes. Fucking hell, get a life, start climbing.
I have been very tired in the last days, and wasn't feeling good at all before going to the gym, but when I got in, the magic energy of a climbing group invaded me, and I had a very very good session: warm up on things I couldn't do a few weeks ago, then tests on the fingerboard, the proper climbing. I was on.
So now I'm happy, not as happy as Dobbin up there, but happy nontheless.
Shower, bed.
Terrible weather coming, no OOS. Will I ever do it?

Monday, 28 January 2008


... no wonder I was tired during this weekend, I have climbed or trained on seven of the last nine days.


This has been a hard week end for me. I must thank my humble soul - yes, you're reading right, I said humble - that suggested me to take it easy and top rope even the first route, because from that first route yesterday until the last one today, I was just terrified by sport climbing. After five or six years of bouldering, I thought many times that perhaps it's time to hang the harness, and just say it's over.
I was afraid of the rope getting cut by the rock, of dangling in the air while lowering, of everything.
I don't know if I'll be able to do classic routes in the Dolomites this summer. I will try for sure, but I'll choose a clever partner (Andrea) and will tell him "listen, if I get scared we go down with no discussion, right away".
Anyway, I didn't free climb one single pitch. The only good feelings I got were on "Bird", and that's the only route I could try to toprope again.
The Guru, obviously, crushed.

Saturday, 26 January 2008


Tomorrow I'm going sport climbing for a couple of days with the Guru.
This past week has been quite strange: I was very psyched from the roof, or should I say from "Il primo dei Mohicani", but I was also spent. Beside the phisical energies, the mental effort of these last weeks (months?) is very challenging. Keeping focused, training, with no climbing trip in sight, with a horrible weather here, has been very hard. Clearly I got a reward, a very very precious reward. So I stuck to the program and trained for the last week of this load cycle, but yesterday couldn't. Just couldn't. So I rested, and waited for today's lunch break session, and I was right, because today I climbed well and with (some) power.
Anyway, tomorrow I'm on a holiday. Going two days sport climbing with the Guru means no problems to get the chains, it will be his task, mine will be giving slack and paying attention. I will try to top rope something, maybe one of the routes my friend Luca suggested me. It could be "Bird", otherwise I'll just rest my body and mind.
Weather is gorgeous, Sasso will be in top conditions, but c'mon, it's just fun. I bought a new harness, chalkbag, and pants.
For all of you Brits in Swiss, be stong, climb well and have fun, I'm with you all, full throttle.

Monday, 21 January 2008


My body is a spring that extends and tightens back, to keep me on the hold. I feel my spine flexing and getting straight again, and the pressure on the foot. For one moment I think about this. Then I move, I hold the swing, and it's a big swing. For one moment I think about this too. Then I feel the greasy edge, and just go on. I grunt as I get the top and it's done.
I had written "I'll be the closest when I do it". Now I'm the closest, and immediately the most far away. It's done, it's gone, it's in the past. It's far, far away. My thoughts go to the ones I love, and then to the hard line under the roof, the truest, purest one. This moment is eternal yet already no more existant. It's eternal in me, and it's already gone forever.
I lack words now.

Sunday, 20 January 2008


Midway through my "weekend", I have mixed feelings: I am very disappointed because the boulders were soaked, literally drowning. I am pleased because I manage to crank with a happy bunch of people, finally. Spirits were high, there were the usual good vibes, probably because the horrible conditions didn't let anyone take himself too seriously.

I went to try Out of Service anyway, but I couldn't even start, and my idea of putting a rag on the starting holds was not very good for the following heel hook move on said holds. In one word: disaster.

But friends are made to change your mood from bad to good, and as I walking down thinking about going home, I met the others down at the Spigolo Calibani. It was quite dry, apart from the topout, and we all were keen to have a few goes. I needed two. It was a very long time since when I did it, and in all these years I could never repeat it. The best thing, ok the other best thing apart from doing it again, is that my fingers weren't hurting from the bad left hand pinch. Result.

My friend Tommy did it first go like if it was 6a. I am still in shock.

Then we hiked our fat asses up the hill, and cranked until dark. I nearly repeated one other 7c that I did a few years ago. Wonderful problem: Eric, do you remember that freezing day in june, when I did it? We hadn't climbed together many times, had we?, and still I can't remember how we managed to fix and go climbing, but... who cares now? I can still feel the rush of adrenalin as I latched the top. Ahh, that's life. And now where the fuck are you bastard? I'm tired about waiting for you to come here in order to start sending as I deserve.

So, I think I have to be happy. Also because on friday night I went to the gym and wiped a few problems that I couldn't even come close to start the night before.

Tomorrow. Tomorrow there's the roof. I need not to think about it, I want to sleep tonight. In my foolish mind I think I'm closer to it than to OOS, but who knows, I'll be the closest when I do it.

Do it. Do it. Luca is talking me into tieing again into a rope for some bolt clippin' down south. He says that now that I have some power I could score some hard routes on short, steep ground. Four clips, basically long boulder problems, and he wants me to try "Do it", a famous 8a+ not too far from here.

I am tempted...

Thursday, 17 January 2008


I was chatting with Tom, right now.
He's going to have a campus session at home, while some friends are going to train at The Dispensary.
Dobbin and Keith are at The School, in the cold.
Probably someone is at The Den, someone else at The Works, or The Foundry, or in obscure cellars.
I am going to test myself at the comp.

Everywhere around, sessions are going down.
I feel you guys, let's stay strong.

Wednesday, 16 January 2008


Pascal is right.

I don't have to have tunnel vision, or at least I have to know that this tunnel ends.

I am a simple minded person, I am not capable of solving big problems and looking too far in front of me. I see short. I want to see short, it helps me.

I will go on, regardless if I will crush outside or not, if I will suck at the competition tomorrow, if I will have time to climb more.

All I can see now is:

- have a good lunch;

- go to the gym and train;

- get back home.

Having planned the next four hours of my life should already make me happy.

EDIT: it's 7 pm, I had a good lunch but didn't train, due to this horrible cold that I brought back from Elba. Remember, never train when ill.
Now, I think I have to clear the post title. It's from Dante's Commedia, Inferno, XIII, 126. In Longfellow translation it is "As greyhounds, who are issuing from the chain". They are ferocious beasts that chase the souls of two violent hunters, one of which is Lano: Longfellow (1867), Inf. 13.120 "Lano," says Boccaccio, Comento, "was young gentleman of Siena, who had a large patrimony, and associating himself with a club of other young Sienese, called the Spendthrift Club, they also being all rich, together with them, not spending but squandering, in a short time he consumed all that he had and became very poor." Joining some Florentine troops sent out against the Aretines, he was in a skirmish at the parish of Toppo, which Dante calls a joust; "and notwithstanding he might have saved himself," continues Boccaccio, "remembering his wretched condition, and it seeming to him a grievous thing to bear poverty, as he had been very rich, he rushed into the thick of the enemy and was slain, as perhaps he desired to be."
That served him right: he shouldn't have teamed with the Florentines, historical enemies.
Now, apart any resemblance, the expression just seemed to me the best one to explain how I go at things now: like beasts unleashed.

Tuesday, 15 January 2008


One very good friend of mine, Keith, recently climbed an 8b boulder problem. It's been funny when I knew, because I was browsing and saw he was online. He must have been adding this last, powerful tick.
Nice one, really.
Now, this effort shocked me a little bit. Not per se, because he is capable of even more, but because it made me think to what I lack to climb hard. I wonder how he trained to get 8b done, or even IF he trained at all. Ok, he is an extraordinary talented climber, especially on physical abilities, but then? Is there something more? I mean, it's not 8a. It's 8b. I think that many people could climb Fb 8a, with serious work and dedication, but 8b is alot, alot more difficult.
Moreover: I keep blogging bullshit about my training progresses, about how hard I can crank on a fingerboard, about how happy I am. Well, and so? When will I start (will I ever?) to blog about climbing hard? "More business, less party" I often read somewhere. It seems a good choice.
I think I should climb more, and more abroad, on differen problems and kinds of rock, but now I can't because I have to work, so I train.
Am I at another crossroad?
Should I really take the courage to drop everything to just climb?
Should I embrace every advantage life gave to me under form of a wealthy family, to live what I really would like to live?
Will this be enough to climb hard, or will it lead to the sad conclusion of just being unable to do certain things and getting back to the line?
I am full of envy for those who have many friends to climb with. I'm not prone to give myself excuses, but it's very strange to me that I'm always climbing alone, or maybe with just one random friend that was casually around. Since Magic Wood this past summer, I've climbed with someone else four times.
I was hoping to be climbing with more people now that I live in a big town, but seemingly here everyone prefers to sport climb, and even my old time partner Luca has embraced the dark side.
I am sad about this, because I think that now I'm being denied something. I'm being denied some reward for my efforts. It's simple: no outdoor bouldering=worthless.
I don't know if I can go on like this, putting alot of time, money and effort into something without having anything back.
I want to be very clear: I'm not blaming anyone except me. I know that I may be living under some circumstances that may make some things harder for me to achieve, but I also think that we always have a choice, and nothing is already written on the wall.
Also, I know that I already have alot, under form of a girlfriend that is enthusiast about going on small, brief climbing trips, and doesn't care if I spend one entire weekend under a roof to nail just one move.
But sharing climbing with other climbers is different. Only climbers know how climbing is, how hard it can be, and how addictive, frustrating, psyching, wonderful.
One man on his own can do nothing. Nothing except dead hanging some crimps and blogging about that.
And being sad.

Monday, 14 January 2008


Driving three hours, taking a ferry and bouldering for just two hours in humid conditions before it starts raining again is bad.

Sending one new problem is good.

The place is amazing, we saw dozens of lines and every one was a good line. Gotta get back with good weather.

Sunday, 13 January 2008


I'm on the ferry. I'm closer to the boulders, closer to granite. It's orange and pink granite, and I can't wait. I'm psyched and happy from past week's session. I'm improving. I can really take the tick for the one arm deadhang on 1 cm, right hand, obviously.
At the end of the week I was stronger than at the beginning.
Oh now I have to get down. I'm on an island of granite.


It stopped raining. The Sun still exists, and apparently can still shine. Will this last?
In a few hours I'll be taking the ferry for a nearby island, literally full of granite eggs. I don't feel very good, due to cycling more than one hour every day under alot of rain to go to work, but I want to climb outside just a little bit.
This place is being developed right now, so there are basically no established problems and the potential for first ascents is endless.

Wednesday, 9 January 2008


We have to live our lives like making art.

Monday, 7 January 2008


Mondays are nice days. I slept untill 11 this morning, then had breakfast without having to check the clock every minute, then did stuff. Basically I'm killing time before going to the gym.
I feel rested and good. I'm waiting for an e-mail from the Guru with the new homeworks. Back on the road.
Yesterday night, with girlfriend and friend Andrea, we were talking about work and serious things. He wants to quit his teacher job, we always talk about starting something together (you are in the plan as well, Eric!!!). On the matter, my girlfriend said that she finally understood that I'm not made to work, that I have to move closer to the mountains and climb, because that's what I love to do, and when I can't I'm sad the whole time. She said that if I want to move to Sheffield to work there and climb hard, she understands me, and we will work it out someway.
I like mondays.

Sunday, 6 January 2008


The return to work has been awful. I've never felt this tired in the last months. Maybe not getting enough sleep in the three days holiday I had, was the cause. But I had to go bouldering, so... You can't have everything.
Anyway the Guru suggested to take the entire week off to start again next week, and I reluctantly decided to do so. On friday, though, I woke up psyched for some evening action, and my motivation stayed strong, so I went to the gym with the idea of having a very short and strong session, because in my naive mind, I was going to be rewarded with at least one day of climbing on the weekend, instead of buckets of rain.
I wasn't feeling very strong, or at least not as physically strong as mentally, so I chose to have a long and easy warmup, then proceeded to climb. I managed to flash one new problem that I had to flash, and finally made the "one move problem" that the Guru set for me a couple of weeks ago: you have a very low foot, a low left hand on a pinch at waist height, a good hold for right hand at eye level. Then you dyno up and left to a good crimp that's hard to stick because you flag out and right alot. I had also tried it static but to no avail.
This effort made me confident and I finally decided to have a go to the red problem that had been in my mind since the morning. I cleaned the holds, the shoes, took chalk and breathed loudly in order to let everyone know I was going on something hard, like "yo look at me everyone so I can try to impress you all, but don't put pressure on me by looking too much and don't yell beta at me I know my stuff, and don't say - oh you nearly did it - if I fall 'cos I'll be pissed and I should have done it and I should have done one week ago".
This is what i thought:
"ok squeeze the pinch, right, it feels sticky, right hand there as usual, good, now match, ok left bicep doesn't hurt, now should I jump? no, let left foot down, climb smoothly, right hand there, NOW let go, heel hook and try to break the hold, fucking lock off, ahh that's nice, I can lock off, reverse the hold, right foot up, heel hook again try to break the hold again, quick match on the sloper and go to the pinch, wow easy, good heel Lore, adjust left hand, go to the other sloper, c'mon steady, NOW don't screw it, stay on feet, match, left foot up, press it, Goddammit the I'm losing the sloper, not now, NOT FUCKING NOW, stay on left foot, c'mon do it Goddammit do it don't you dare Goddammit let go, fucking do it, go for it, feet in the air, body swinging out, left hand on the top hold, it fucking sticks, I'm still on the wall, match, fucking yes, let out one yell Goddammit yes. Thankyou guys."
Was I stronger than last time I tried it? Who knows, but I think I wasn't.
Did I climb better? You can bet your fat ass on it.
Was I more motivated? I don't know.
Was I feeling something different? Yes, right from the morning. I was feeling I had to go to the gym and do that problem because I was going to do it, instead of tentatively try it.
Something like a predator knowing it has to kill to survive.
With less drama and killing, of course.

Wednesday, 2 January 2008


2008 started just as 2007 finished: bouldering and falling from one of my many projects, in this case "Il Signore degli Anelli". Is there something to learn from this? No. Must try harder.

Fastastic night with friends on new year's eve. Lots of raw fish, then lots of fish, lots of wine and Prosecco.

Very tired. Will have very short, powerful sessions this week. Or maybe not, given it's going to rain every day for the rest of the week. I don't care, it doesn't rain under roofs.