Tuesday, 24 February 2009


I keep thinking about OOS Assis. At night especially, while waiting for a good sleep, I keep picturing myself at the last hard move, the slap to the arete, feeling and feeling that move again and again. Usually, these images are mixed with the memories of the failed attempts. I keep feeling also my hand not catching the arete, and I think "What if I hadn't caught it, that day?". Well, obviously I'd been disappointed and I'd have gotten back on the problem until success. It's so strange. The memory of a failure that's not possible anymore, because I have actually done the problem, keeps me awake at night. This really gives me the idea of the achievement.
I don't know. I was thinking, lately: well I almost did OOS Assis in late november. I trained three months to just do one move more? What would it have meant if I'd done it before training? Well, these questions will remain unanswered. What I really understand now is the effort this problem took from me. Could it be the overall most difficult thing I've ever done? Well, it could, because of many reasons: the setting and the rarity of good conditions there; the 15+ moves; the span between the holds and, finally the technical difficulty.
Suffice to say that doing OOS Assis gave me so much confidence about the roof direct. After trying it ten days ago, and sticking the move that seemed impossible four times in a row at the end of the day, everything changed perspective.
This does not mean that I will soon do the roof direct (I will, by the way), it just tells me that I have to keep the faith and the path.

Monday, 23 February 2009


Sunday I went to touch some sandstone. The weather was far from good, with grey skies covering a pale sun, but it wasn't too cold, and that was good because I wasn't feeling physically fine. As often happens, when temps rise after some proper cold, I get some kind of flu or cold. I wanted to try "Il Signore degli Anelli" but on sunday it really was beyond me: I have to be at full power for that, and I clearly wasn't. Next time.
Some of you may remember an entry of a few months ago (november the 2nd, 2008), about the strange grading policy they have, in the very same place where I have been on sunday. Some of you may remember that, that day I discovere that idiotic behaviour while trying a hard problem, a traverse with a very strange and hard move, a match on a vertical crimp with very bad feet.
Anyway, the problem and its grade can't bother me less right now, because yesterday I basically warmed up onto it, and after sussing out the moves I delivered it right in front of its first ascender house, with "YYFY YOU BASTARD" carved into its poor, crumbly rock with my own fingers.
Then, my life as a teacher: this morning I got to school with absolutely no voice; having to do four hours of teaching that was not a small problem, and I was especially worried about the two hours of the conversation class. I managed to do the job, but wasn't very satisfied at the end of the lesson. Luckily, when I came out of the class, Danielle, whos secretary desk is right in front of the class, so that she always hears my lessons, told me: "Hey, you're brilliant even with no voice!"
YYFY my friends.

Wednesday, 18 February 2009


We are having a very cold winter so far, and we live in one of the most famous towns in the world for art and culture. These two things, apparently not related, bring to our attention two very important aspects of modern life: how to keep yourself warm, and the presence of tourists.
As many of you may have noticed, these two things are common in female tourists: most women nowadays wear big, fluffy boots called "UGG" to keep their small feet warm, then they go around the world into them boots.
Well, my ladies, I would like to give you a few tips about wearing "UGG": the word is very similar to "HUGGS" and this is fine, I want to hug you all, but the world is also dangerously similar to "UGLY". The "UGG" boots are ugly, and deserve to stay in this world for only one reason, that I will explain.
"UGG" boots have to be worn with loose pants, so that said pants can be pulled off with the boots staying on, enabling the lady to be loved naked but with the boots on.
This is the only reason that will allow "UGG" boots to remain on Planet Earth: to be worn by a completely naked girl, in a perfect Playboy Special Christmas Issue centerfold stereotype.
And, as you all know, nothing is sexier than a sexy stereotype.
Now go and reveal this truth. Amen.

Monday, 16 February 2009


In the past weekend, I lived a life that was not mine. I lived in the life of a crusher, that clearly I'm not.
How is the life of a crusher?
The crusher wakes up in a cold, clear morning, and while he is shaving, he feels his heartbeat raging: he knows he's going to crush. He feels it. When he drives to the boulders, the crusher is relaxed, and every second is spent visualizing the image of himself topping out, feeling that moment and living it in anticipation.
Then he crushes.
Well, I experienced a bit of these feelings in the last two days. I had been gifted with a weekend of perfect conditions, so perfect that a failure would have been a serious problem for the future efforts. Well, for once I didn't fail. Despite everything, I succeded. I had to fight so hard, though. The first problem I faced was arriving at a deserted parking lot. Not a friendly car in sight, only a van. I looked and I found out that it was Mauro Calibani's van. The former world champ was there having breakfast, and we chatted for a while, but I understood that he wanted to climb in the sun (clever choice), so when he, very very kindly, asked me if I needed a spot, I told hime that I was fine with three pads and proceeded. I was furious, I had never tried OOS without a spot, but I was so determined that it didn't care anymore, I would have not permitted to anyone or anything to hinder my performance, to step into my way. I was going to run over anyone and anything I would find on my way. After the warm up I went to the problem, chalked the holds, and finally boosted my ego by dead hanging one armed the two crimps in the middle. I placed the small camera and off I went.
I found myself at the last move for the 10th time. I had found some crucial micro beta that saved a move, turning a 16 moves marathon in a miserable 15 moves stroll. With my left hand in the vertical break, the right heel high and pulling, the right hand on the non existing hold, for one second I took conscience again of what I was doing, and instead of destroying the move I just attempted it. And I fell. My heel popped, and I fell backwards on the pad, then I rolled back on my ass and hit a rock with my elbow. The sensation of hitting the ground with my feet and not being able to stop has been very very scary.
I checked for any damage, and I was fine. Physically at least. I knew I had to find a spot. There still wasn't any, so I went back to my van, took the fourth pad and made some coffee. When I was going back to the problem, I met Mauro and his girlfriend again, we spoke a little bit and he made me very happy by doing one of my problems, and confirming the proposed grade. It's always nice to find out that you feel things right. Mauro is a great climber and a friendly, good person. When I went away he looked at me and told me "Lore, go strong" with a big big smile on his face.
So I placed the pad and went again. Something felt very different, the holds seemed greasy, or my hands had gotten too cold, but the magic was lost, and I had a very very bad go, falling on a easy move, and felt every gram of tons and tons of pressure on myself. I tried not to panic and cleaned again the holds. Did the move again, then I finally heard steps crushing the leaves. Friend Fabio and his wife Francesca were arrived. They were arrived with alot of clouds, though. The wind was still blowing, and I asked Fabio to watch me really close on the last move. What I was thinking in that moment I don't know. I had been telling to myself that a spot was everything I needed to do the problem, and with a surging ocean inside me I took off again. I got to the last move feeling a beast, still I knew that the last move is also very precarious. So, with my body just a few millimeters, or miles, higher, I took the non existing hold with my right hand, and crushed it to atoms. I crimped it so fucking hard and the next thing I can recall is the feeling and the sound of my left hand hitting the arete and the tension of my body. I kept the concentration, because I needed my heel to still stay on, and squeezed every muscular fiber I have and matched the arete. I swapped heel for toe and went up along the arete. Only at that moment I realized that my hands were numb, I couldn't feel anything anymore. I went a bit further up, got established on the moss covered slab, then escaped the mossy death jumping off.
I started screaming with joy, I was shaking, my hands were hurting and I was shocked. It was finally over. I had done it, and I had done it exactly when I was supposed to do it. Had it been a movie screenplay, the audience would have said "Well, this is not realisitc". Well, sometimes reality is stranger than fiction. I had done OOS Assis. I gave Fabio and Francesca big hugs and realized I had lost my voice. At home I celebrated with my girlfriend both Valentine's Day and the send, which I dedicated to her, with a gorgeous dinner with Kebab and Moet & Chandon.
Sunday we went to Amiata, and after a long time I felt again the joy of climbing without pressure. I chilled out, I sent a new problem that I named "Happy Days" at around 7a+, and at the end of the day I did the crux move of the roof direct four times in a row. I dare to say that with some dedication and a healed shoulder I could have sent also the roof.
But I wanted the joy for OOS Assis to remain pure and singular. Next time the roof.
I hope to soon be living more days in the life of a crusher.

Sunday, 8 February 2009


Well, as many of you may have understood, I use this blog as a precious exhaust valve, to say things that often I can't say to anyone, yet are too bitter to swallow.
I was talking about daring to be happy lately. How foolish can this bet be, for me, climbing wise? How fool am I, trying to achieve some (very relative) climbing excellence, some climbing improvement, some goals? How stupid am I, in setting myself goals that not only are objectively difficult, but more over also far away? Is this a quick excuse I give myself for not achieving them? Is this something the likes of a Linus blanket? How hard could reality hit me, should I really invest my all self to climb the problems I want to climb?
One quick example: the long periods that Keith spends in Font, don't add anything to his ability to crush hard problems. When he gets to a boulder problem, it doesn't matter how long he's been in Font, he actually has to CLIMB the problem. It's not that because he's been there for one period of time that he gets some kind of bonus, like starting one move into it, or a power spot.
What I want to say is that, maybe, for my mental sanity, it's far better for me not having the chances to seriously try many of my projects, because serious dedication could lead to serious failure, while moderate, dream-like dedication always leaves a door open for dreaming about succeeding.
Is this really important? Oh, yes, it is.
All these ramblings, to be very honest, arent' what I initially wanted to say. Anyway, they have been fueled by Dobbin's post on UKB about his (excellent) send of "The Joker". I won't spend words to talk about this problem and its implications, if you don't know it, well I pity you.
Reading his post made me happy for him, and, I'm sorry Dobbo, a bit sad for myself. "Oh, not again! Stop this!" I hear you saying. Well, you're right. I'll stop it here.
What I really miss are the chances. Why I prefer to climb Rock Atrocity, or Brad Pit, or Frank's Wild Years, or Fata Morgana, rather than any other boulder problem closer to home, I don't know. Oh, that's not true. I know why. Because they are better boulder problems than anything that I have close. Anyway, right now I can't anymore bear the pressure of not being sure whether I can or can't climb these problems. Right now I want to discover. I could discover that I can't do them, but I could also discover that I can, or I could also actually do them. Anyway, I would finally earn some objective knowledge that I could begin something new on: I can't climb them? Well, get back to training. I can? Well, try to climb them. I climbed them? Well, be happy and move on to something new.
This perennial state of doubt, of unsureness is really stressing me. I want to know, I'm bored about guessing.
Finally, probably the hardest thing to admit. Why is this moment of doubt so hard to bear now? Well, to be very honest, and to probably contradict everything I've written, it's so hard now because there's no real doubt: I'm fairly sure that I can crush those problems. Maybe not all of them, maybe not without effort (and luckily so) but, right now, I am fairly positive that they are within my general ability.
Does this help? At all, my friends, at all. It just makes everything harder. Finally, just as I'm writing these lines, I discovered that being doubtful about my chances to climb those problems is my REAL EXHAUST VALVE. If I keep thinking that maybe I can't do them, I can keep part of my sanity and stick to going to the gym and to prepare myself for the one day when...; but if, for one second, I stop, and I reflect, and I know that I feel that I can climb those problems, oh, everything becomes really really hard to bear.
Harder than the doubt.

Friday, 6 February 2009


Yesterday I got home very happy after a glorious session, in which I didn't climb anything hard in particular, but I had noticed great changes in my moving.
I was reflecting over this happiness later, and I understood why I was happy: because I dared to be happy.
I, sometimes, don't dare to be happy, for fear of failing. I choose the sureness of the "not being unhappy" rather than the chance of "being happy".
That's the same reason why sometimes I don't give myself 100% to a boulder problem: if I quit without having given my whole self to it, I can always think that I haven't done it just because I still could have given more. I can think "Oh, well, if I'd given everything I'd have climbed it". It's a bastard way of thinking, it steals my happiness.
So, I think I always have to give my entire self into the quest for happiness, for the most complete and full happiness, because, when I succeed in it, the reward goes beyond any imagination.

Sunday, 1 February 2009


The complete mess that is my life in this moment cannot be descibed here. I read what I wrote past saturday and can't help but ask myself questions.
How do the recent happenings relate one another? Why so much shit hits the fan right now? How can I protect myself and my love from the enemies?
I feel attacked. I feel that I have to protect my life from these attacks. My family is playing a really heavy role in this moment, and while our love is solid, everything else seems to fall apart. I will cling onto my love, I will cling onto my work, that, for the first time in my life, is giving me happiness and satisfaction. Maybe that's why I am so threatened now, maybe others can feel that I found a way to live my life in a different way, maybe they don't want to allow me to live happily. I don't know, I'm trying hard to understand.
The future revolvs aroun few things that have to fit into place very soon: when they will, my girl and I will cast off, without saying goodbye, and without turning back.
Climbing wise, yesterday I put again my left hand around the arete of OOS sit start, but I wasn't as concentrated as I should have been, I wasn't desiring it hard enough, and I lost my heel hook and fell. Fatigue, cold and humidity didn't allow me to perform better.
The very important thing is that my shoulder is getting much better. I wish my mindset will do the same, against everything and everyone.
Thank you for reading this and for sharing my troubles.