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.


Pellet said...

Solid mate! I think this weekend has been a "crushing one" for a lot of people... Prime conditions everywhere... Very well done!!

Richie Crouch said...

Bravo Lore!

That big overhanging wall with giant flakes needs climbing next at Sasso (the one where you showed us the giant porcupine needles!) said...

Excellent, I have been reading about your battle with OOS for awhile now and it has been epic. Really pleased for you.