Monday, 28 April 2008


I finally made it to the boulders on this past weekend.
Spirits were high, g/f was coming from a very successful exam and was keen to test her new skills on real rock after - STOP PRESS!!! - TWO sessions in the gym.
She clearly has something for bouldering, because she ticked her first Fb 6a+ with a nasty problem on a slightly overhanging diheadral with a lock off from a small two fingers pocket. Hurrah!!!
I wanted to try this:
and I did. It turns out it's Fb 8a+ and probably unrepeated. We tried the easier exit, without the horrible left hand vertical hold to dyno out and right for the mantle, and that's only FB 8a. I did all the moves on the very first tries and was very very confident.
Sadly, warm weather, and that place being the dampest hole of the entire woods, didn't give us many more chances. I also have to say that going there at the end of the day wasn't very clever of us as well. Defeat.
I'm happy, I did nothing mega hard, but did a couple of Fb 7a+ very quickly and not on my favourite playing ground: vertical prows!!! I also managed one Fb 7b very quickly, it's called Little Tony and resembles Tonino '78, the famous suggested Fb 8c+ from local strongman Mauro Calibani.
My friend Luca did these problems as well, and this lead me to thinking I've not really improved, because I couldn't burn him off, but this is clearly not true. I did those problems in perfect control, and was very very far away from my limit.
Maybe I was at my limit on that single moment of this trip (I wasn't really), but I'm starting to feel something about my climbing changing. Feet? Technique? Consciousness? I don't know.
I think that one's limits have to be searched on an overall scale that comprehends every aspect of climbing, from power, to weather conditions, to psyche. I tend to measure my limits just with one parameter or two: one armers, and dead hangs. That's why I'm sure I'm far from my limit on Fb 7b's because I never felt physically challenged at my overall limit. Maybe there was one tricky move, maybe one difficult foot placement, maybe one greasy hold; but my limit is where I do every move without knowing how I've done the previous one, and whether I'll be able to do the next one. In this case, my limit is also far from Out of Service and from The roof, because on those problems there are moves that I can do 100 times over 100 tries.
Right now probably the real limit, or at least the boulder problem closer to my limit is the direct line under the roof. I have done each single move, but I've done two moves only one time each. What sort of number and letter this will mean, on the almighty Font scale, it's something I will really never discover, in fact, I will only FEEL it.

Thursday, 24 April 2008


This shit about the new job is really pissing me off.
As if things weren't already complicated, now a new option came out just to make me more confused.
I had decided to go north, for the reason of it being the best option for work, place, and bouldering.
Now I have another option that is better for work, place, money. Much worse for bouldering. Much worse meaning that it's closer to Sasso and home areas, instead of being two hours from Ticino.
Another problem is that I can't really find out how it will be north. I will have to give an answer south after just a couple of days of my trial period up north: I don't think it will be a period long enough to figure out how a potential long stay could be. So it will be a big bet. I have to say that the interview north gave me really bad vibes about the boss. He asked far too much personal questions, talked far too much about politics and immigrants.
So, probably I will go south. Living close to the sea could also be nice. I will need to build a climbing wall and to renew all my fingerboard routines. Oh well at least I can build some serious power, and if I'm going to lose my technique, I'll lose it for good this time and screw it! When I'll be able to do one armers on pencil lines drawn on the fingerboard, even the Karma sloper will feel as a jug. Yes, for sure. Power is the mother of all success. Brutality is the father of all success.
Moreover, going south will work as the ultimate proof: if I will miss being closer to the mountains so much that it will make my stay there unbearable, I will be finally at the crucial turning point of my life, and I will have to decide, once and forever, whether I really want or not to build my life around bouldering. That will be a tough moment, if ever it will come.

Wednesday, 23 April 2008


They called.
They chose to have a go at this grey suited man.
They don't have any clue...
I have:

Monday, 21 April 2008


Since lately this blog is full of whining, let's try and be happy.


We went out sunday, and I should have stayed home. I was tired, very very tired. I think driving many hours and going around to to job interviews is not the best way to recover from a 20+ sessions month.
Plus, it was boiling. 24° at 8 30 pm, on the way home. I thought it could have been fine where we went, because I've climbed there very well in the summer as well, but I hadn't thought about one thing: trees don't have leaves yet. No shade at all, and boiling rock.
So, finally, I decided to take one week off at least, trying to climb outside as much as I can from now on.
I don't dare to think to how much this could really be.

Saturday, 19 April 2008


Today, don't know why, signing one comment on the mighty Dobbin's blog - question: are they on honeymoon? - in an uncommon way, it dawned to me that maybe my nickname could have or resemble some meaning in English.
I put that signature in an internet translator and... shazam!!! it does have many meanings, dealing with sharp things and biting. Cool.
In which way this could be connected with my real persona, I still don't know. If names correspond to things, maybe I am fine with that.
Since we are talking about names, I like to explain what I think is the meaning of the famous phrase that Umberto Eco put at the beginning of his masterpiece "The name of the Rose": right now I can't remember the author - too lazy to Google it - but it says "stat rosa pristina nomine, nomina nuda tenemus".
During the years I've wondered alot about the real, profund, not literal meaning of it. Literally it's very easy but has no clue. We have to put it in the context of the story. It's Adso, old and infirm, writing about his youth years, and his only love experience, that he chose not to continue to stay with his master Guglielmo. That's The Rose, whose name he will never know. So it all deals with love, one Rose and time.
In brief, I think it means: the Rose stays pure only in its name, and all what we're left are bare names. So, time changes everything, and we can only rely on our own mind to keep past things pure from decay, a decay that's sure in the material world, but not in "names' world", the world of the mind, where everything can stay forever pure, but pure and untouchable in reality.

Thursday, 17 April 2008


I've had a couple of good sessions at the gym, mainly based on a nice routine on the symmetric wall. It's nothing special, I mentioned it to The Guru months ago, after reading about symmetric walls on UKB, and he proceeded to prepare a mini version of it, it's more similar to a systemboard, with two parallel rows of identical holds and footholds.
I had used it before, but in a campusboard like way, doing long dynoes between the holds, while now I'm using it static, doing lockoffs as deep as I can, staying frontal, as Malc says in his pro tips, and - wohoooo - without cutting loose.
It's a good, good sensation to stay there, and prees your feet down and feeling them staying put.
I do 3 lockoffs, changing the starting arm, for 10 times in a row, for 3 sets. It's alot, and tonight I had to try just a few easy problems on the wall because I was thrashed, and then I did a hard 30 moves circuits in three parts.
Anyway, there are lots of girls now in the gym, and that's very good.
I hope the work stuff goes for the best.


Surprise! I've got some power left.
This is a bit of an obsession for me, if you still haven't gotten it.
Yesterday I did some tests in the gym, as I do every two weeks. It was quite cold outside, and rainy, with a fresh breeze, and after some rest I was feeling good. So I warmed up slowly, and then proceeded to test the 90° lock off on the usual slopers, and it was as usual, nothing more, nothing less. But there was one thing that had pissed me of recently, and it was that fucking couple of small, slopey edges, that I hadn't been able to decently hang on to in the last weeks. I don't like to give me excuses, and as the drawback I refuse to admit defeat when conditions are poor: in my mind strong climbers are always strong, in the rain, in the cold, in the mist. So when I couldn't hang those holds I thought I had lost my finger strength, and I could only rely on the glory of having the record of the gym on those holds: 30 seconds.
I approached the holds as if they were a final problem at the world cup. I cleaned them perfectly, I felt them (they were fresh), and then made my fingers comfortable on them, by doing one or two quick hangs. I rested, I chalked up, I refreshed my hands. Then I went under them, my stop watch dangling from the wall, already marking the seconds going. I put my fingers where I thought best, and I took off.
I felt the pressure on my fingers, and it was a light pressure, I was light, I was strong and I couldn't feel any effort.
I didn't want to look at the watch, not to be disappointed, but when I saw I was going well, I gave everything not to slide off.
It may seem a small increase, but it's a big gain: five seconds over thirty, is more than 15%, and I could have done a couple more, hadn't I greased off.
So, with some confidence left, I tested again the guns on the 2 cm edge. Two one armers went down, and even if I'm no more close to doing three, I was happy nonetheless. I am happy, also because I knew once more that I don't have to panic if I don't train power and strength for a few weeks.

Wednesday, 16 April 2008


That's what Churchill said in his famous war speech. I always listen to bits of it that I have on my Mp3 player, in the mighty combo with Aces High by Iron Maiden. It gives me power, it starts with the roar of the british Spitfire airplanes ready to take off to save one country by invasion. It's quite a dramatic moment of history, and when I am in London, every fucking time I've been in London, I always go to Westmister Abbey and stand for a while in the chapel behind the altar, that is dedicated to the Battle of England. Every hour, in case you don't know, they stop the organ music and there is one minute of silence. I always try to be there in that moment, and I ask myself "what would I do, should it happen again?" Would I escape? Would I object? Would I go? "Eddie would go" comes to my mind, but would I? I don't know, I hope I'll never know. They went, they died, they tried, they succeeded.

What this for?

In our life we should never surrender, from the things that could change the world's history, to the least significant things. You never know.

So go on, give it another go, do one move more, hang another second, give another kiss, love again, never surrender.

Sunday, 13 April 2008


Tonight I dreamt I climbed a Font 8b.
That's why now I know I will climb a Font 8b.
Because I dreamt it, and now I desire it.


Election day here, I went and put a cross, enabling once again some politician to fuck us.
Rest day as well. I skipped friday session, and did absoutely nothing yesterday, apart abs and stretching. So two days in a row without training, it was ages, I can't remember the last time, and that's why I'd like to do something today, maybe just a quick power recruitment session, a few deadhangs and some campusing. We will see, I don't want to rush things now that I'm starting feeling better and recovering.
It's hard to resist the desire to go climbing, especially given that the very bad forecast for these days wasn't true, and we had also a little bit of sunshine today. I often read climbing magazines while taking a poo, but lately my porn is bouldering guidebooks, and while they give me alot of motivation, they also make want to take the van and leave. Resist.
Why do I have to resist?
Because I can't afford to go away now, not in terms of money, but for all the stuff that I've got to do. I'm taking classes to become an italian teacher for foreign students, and I also have to do two job interviews, one tomorrow, in the South, one friday in the North. One is a very small town, close to the sea and to hot water springs, a very quiet place, from what I can tell now. The other one is a bigger town, much closer to the mountains and to world class bouldering. It seems to me I'm on the road again, and I have to say I'm quite excited, even if I'm pissed because I was enjoying very much my teaching classes.
So I have to keep my calm and spend time on the net.

Thursday, 10 April 2008


I feel a bit depressed lately by my climbing. Mainly because I can't climb outside that much (c'mon, once a week isn't really climbing), and this leads to a lack of motivation for training, and then because I tend to think that for me training is a straight line going upwards endlessly. It obviusly isn't neither for me nor for anyone in the world, it goes up and down, where each down is a bit higher than previous one. But you know this. So now, that I can't pull as hard on the figerboard as one month ago, I always remind me the words of the late Gullich hero "only mediocre atheletes are always at top form", and try not to panic and go back to power training.
I am obsessed by power.
Anyway I'm keeping the faith in The Guru's mighty knowledge and therefore sticking to the program.
In these days I surprised myself by onsighting (really it should be "flashing" since the holds are marked but who cares) a few intense circuits in the gym, 25+ moves on different angles, and also on vertical ground. Could it be that things are coming together?
This post has poorly reflected the title until now. Why joy?
Because sometimes I think that I'm losing joy in what I'm doing for my climbing. When I did my projects I was full of joy, but now? How can I go on? Could always thinking about doing 8a's bring me joy, or just despair? I tend to think it's just the lack of time on the rock, but I think this may turn into an issue, especially if I go on receiving phone calls fixing job interviews.
A few months ago I read this interview that taught me alot about motivation and joy:
Then again, I worked like a madman this winter and ticked two of the hardes lines around, so maybe we just have to keep our faith and go on, like dogs released from the chain.
One last note: while doing tests on the fingerboard tuesday night, I fondled a new slopey edge and tried to one arm on to it. I didn't really one armed it, I pulled it down so hard it disappeared under the gym's floor. Yesterday they were still trying to dig it out.

Tuesday, 8 April 2008


Until now, this has been a rather strange day, in which many important events popped up to awake me from last days' dizziness and boredom.
Early this morning I received a phone call from one of the Notary firms I sent my CV to, and they fixed an interview for next monday.
Then my father called me, saying that finally had arrived the much awaited and feared from my internet provider (you remember?): they charged 79 Euros instead of the requested 1600... with apologies.
And minutes ago I read that a new important exam is going to take place soon this year, that I may try.
Obviously, these are just coincidences, but I've already said what I think about coincidences ( ), and knowing that still nothing means anything (I still can blow the interview, be charged of alot of money, not try the exam) I stay calm and ask myself: on a day like today, should I go to the gym and try the red problem?


No wonder I was feeling tired last week. I have been climbing or training for 6 days in a row. Smart, very smart.

Monday, 7 April 2008


Dammit I am tired.
Tired of going to the gym, with its filthy, rubber covered, glassy holds.
Tired of training. Oh, no, sorry. I should say tired from training.
The last two weeks have been very very hard. Even if I'm working on technique, this doesn't mean I don't pull with my arms. So after two four sessions weeks, I am definitely tired.
Anyway, I will take this week a bit easier, given also yesterday's climbing. It was ok, nothing really great, but ok. I nearly repeated Lourdes, 7c+, second try after one year and half without touching it. Being tired, it's not that bad. Then I did some 7a's and 7a+'s including Mandorla, a solid 7a+ put up years ago by Tino, fellow american climber with a wingspan like a motorway.
I wanted to go to Out of Service to clean the low right start that will mean my next nightmare. It's a couple of moves that go round a small bulge to the original starting holds, that rwequire serious lock offs with your shoulders broadly open. We will see, I'm confident.
Anyway we didn't go, mainly because we were a happy bunch, and I wouldn't have let that happiness for anything in the world, it's just to good to climb with your friends, pushing limits.
We were sucked by one old project of mine, that's the right exit of said Mandorla, along a slopey ramp over one big boulder. I hope we have some footage, because it will be very good and very funny, including climbers falling on to the boulder and sliding down to the ground on the pads. The project is hard and committing.
One last thought: I really climb differently on rock. I transform myself, from a whiny bastard that is always complaining about greasy holds of the gym, to a real climber who doesn't give up.
And to finish: PAUL B, if you read this, don't let go. I really feel your anger, but it will come to an end. C'mon!!!

Friday, 4 April 2008


He, the sponsor put up a Myspace profile, and many many faces popped out to say hello. Amongst them, a few scary and pretty famous ones, including "c'mon Obe don't let go" and Cryptochild Kehl...
There are also a few nice slideshows with yours truly.
Check it out.

Wednesday, 2 April 2008


Yesterday night two guys showed up at the gym, asking for the owners. At first glance I thought they were two weightlifting beefcakes wanting a go at climbing, but one of them pulled out his Mac and started drawing. I thought they were there to do some graphics or for the website, but again I was wrong, because later Gianni, one of the owners, asked me I had finished training for the night, and as I said yes, he told me that the two guys are two students at the school for professional massage therapists, sport massaging etc., and they were there to practice. So, if I liked, being one of the few that trains very often and very regularly, I could give them my training schedule and they would practice various massaging techniques on me and on other climbers, to see the benefits of every different technique after the training session. Bingo.
While I was being massaged I obviously started talking with the guy, and he explained alot of things, talking about this school that is specifically aimed to people with chronic eyesight deficit. He told me that both he and his friend are affected by a chronic disease that will lead to being blind. "We want to practice now - he said - we want to invest in the future."
I was speachless.
I got home very happy, because I had found out that in this fucking world there are at least two people to admire, respect and to lift your hat off for.
Thank you, Enrico and Iuri.