Monday, 30 November 2009


I wanted to go and support The Guru, saturday, at the Nationals for lead climbing. The plan was for him to destroy the qualifiers and then give his best in the finals; for me to transform the bouldering area of the gym in a sad desert of broken holds and crushed problems.
I couldn't go in the end, and that's a shame because during the whole week I've had excellent sensations. I did a brief one week campusing recruitment and to my surprise, despite not campusing seriously for ages now, I was still quite good. I would really like to build a new campus board with 22,5 cm intervals. The English way. The Strong Ones' way.
Well, having spent the saturday not crushing but couching (four movies: "The Boat that Rocked", "In the Valley of Elah", "Vincere" and "Survive with the Wolves" - the lady's choice), on sunday I was on fire for the gym. Unluckily, after not more than one hour I got a really bad strain at my lower back which refused to move from then on. I'm blocked. I've been very stupid, I had only a very warm thermal shirt that was too warm, so I was sweating, then climbing barechested, and thats why my back got hurt.
I am addressing some weaknesses, namely fingers. I started working on two fingers at a time. Front two are fine, middle are very very dangerous for me because of many ring finger injuries and back two are weak as a baby's. We will see.
Then: this week my students have their official Italian language exam and I'm nervous.
I have my eyes fixed on the prize: holidays.
Peace peace peace, destroy destroy destroy.

Friday, 27 November 2009


I feel and I know that my friendship with Keith is special, from when he dreamt about the two of us having a threesome with a girl, to when I got a private message on UKB saying “Yo! I want to come to Sassofortino”. We had never spoken before. And he came, he kindly accepted my hospitality, and he appreciated “my” boulders, giving them all himself and planting in me the seed of future hard ascents, one for all “Caminati’s Problem The English Way”. We didn’t meet for a bit then, but when it happened it was in Font. I kindly accepted his (and Neil’s) hospitality, having the best from Font. I had been in Font only in summer before, and finding myself there with temps below the 20’s was a big change for me. It was also the first time I really felt it very difficult to climb with Keith, because he’s so much stronger than myself. I got home from Font with a smashed ankle and a renewed love for the place. Now, writing this just after watching Keith’s “Between The Trees”, I feel both happy and sad. Happy because the film is a joy for the eyes and the soul. I won’t even spend a word about the technical details, neither will I talk about Tyler. I only want to join Keith in his final thanks to Tyler. But I feel also a bit sad because I’m here in Florence, because tomorrow I can’t drive to Font, and also because even if I could, I couldn’t climb like Keith or Ty. But if I could drive to Font, I would try to climb like Keith and Ty. So this is the gift of this film. Go to a place and give it everything. That’s why I feel and I know that my friendship with Keith is special, because he goes to places and he gives them everything, and that’s a thing I both like and do. He came to the Dolomites with maybe some prejudices about limestone bouldering, but for sure his heart was open, and when he felt in peace with the mountains he just crushed (I won’t talk about what James did). So that was a big sign of trust and respect to me, and I really appreciated it. I also appreciated when he got worried about me, and he sent me an email, that I read at 8 in the morning just before going to Sasso to climb OOS Assis, the past winter. A great day and another gift from Keith. I hope to climb soon again with Keith, I need to feel his energy propel me on top of problems. I also want to go back to Font soon, in winter this time, to give it my best and to take the best of it for me. Peace my friends, and destruction.

Tuesday, 24 November 2009


Just like when I leave the bar, with my dear Martini Cocktail (Montgomery, s'il vous plait) going down my body and soul, I got home from Chironico quite hungry.
I spent two days there, completely on my own again, thanks to my cell phone dying right after crossing the border. I had plans to meet a few friends there, but technology decided for me. Being alone gave me the good chance of trying stuff I've never tried before, with absolutely no pressure: I wanted to set some priorities, and that's something you can do if you're comfortable. I had a very long ticklist of possible problems, but still I didn't know whether they were worth the dedication. I mean, I know they are worth, but I also have to take well present in my mind that I live five hours south of those problems: this puts things into perspective.
So I've spent saturday and sunday morning trying to figure out sequences on two problems that I will probably drop: "Dr. Pinch" and "The Scent of Snow". Both sequences were wrong. I also tried "Blochx Addiction" and managed to do all the first bit bar the hard move right to the good edge. Did all the rest, excellent problem but needs really good friction or being really strong. I will need really good friction! Finally I fondled the holds of my main target of the season "The Great Shark Hunt". I've always loved that problem and I want to do it and I will do it. How can I tell? It's simple, I will try it until I do it.
I read the question in your mind: did I actually climb something? Yes, I did. I am very happy of two particular problems, that are "Power Ranger" and "Autopilot" that I both destroyed in two tries and flash. I also got involved into some traverses (the horror... the horror...) that were really nice but really long. One is just under "Dr. Multifit" and features one thousand moves on sharp crimps, it's been a very clever idea of mine to try it as the warm up of the first day. After that I could have easily left and gone home hadn't I been in Ticino. An idiot in Ticino. Then at the end of that day I also tried "Bella Gnocca" (unsure of the name), the traverse just behind the "Komilator" boulder. I feel at the last hard move on the flash and then my power was gone, I was pumped and got worse every subsequent try. I will do it, and I will also put into the ticklist "Komilator" if the first move isn't too reachy.
I also decided to quit "Les Vent Nous Portera" because it's too damn reachy. Pity because it's a wonderful problem and I did it three years ago starting from the span. Oh well...
So all in all I think I have to be very happy, and I am. Doing those problems quickly is well encouraging. I was comfortable.
Finally some thoughts.
Being alone at the boulders gave me also time to think and to focus on small details. I noticed that it's quite easy to find genuine assholes at big boulders with many hard lines on, and that are in very accessible areas. People that do not respond to your salute, that give you the eye when you get there, but they are not shy to cheat in the most shameless ways to get a problem done. Like skipping the mono on "Souvenir", which is an eliminate, i.e. you have to use the mono with your right hand. Hey, you do what you like, but if you act like that, you make me want to put my shoes on and start working "Souvenir" properly. I just went away a bit sad.
Other detail: I get loads of energy from friendly people. I met a big group of guys at a problem, and at first I was shy to ask them the permission to try the problem with them, but I did and they replied in a very gentle way "Yes, come on, maybe you can help us!". Well, I did. I managed to find a good sequence and we all fired the problem. Happiness. One good moment was when they moved to try a highball and I obviously bailed, saying that I wanted to try "Blochx Addiction", and one guy looked very puzzled and said "...but it's 8a...". Clearly he hadn't been very impressed by my climbing!!!
One other detail is that I felt very very dedicated and pure and focused by doing all this on my own, but I missed my best friends and my girlfriend alot. After doing a problem that had made me happy all I could do was silently compliment myself, but I missed the joy in my girlfriend eyes that make me feel very macho and the beers with my friends before dinner. That's all for now. Thanks for sharing.

Tuesday, 17 November 2009


The plan is to go North and destroy Chironico. As simple as that.
87.01 EUR
Pedaggio 21.50 EUR | Carburante 38.51 EUR | Bollino autostradale 27.00 EUR
03h55 di cui 03h34 su strade a scorrimento veloce
396 km di cui 384 km su strade a scorrimento veloce
I must be fucking nuts. As simple as that.

Sunday, 15 November 2009


Today I stole a few hours on rock. Despite the cloudy sky, I drove and got the reward, in terms of a very good afternoon of pulling on small, nasty holds at a small area in the Amiata range.
I only did traverses!
After a brief warmup that involved two problems that I seriously doubt pass the 6a mark, I saw a couple of holds under the moss, that could have been a nice exit for an already existing traverse. After some dirt scrubbing, other two holds appeared and I was ready for a go. One go was all I needed: I got to the mantle pumped (25 ish moves...) but I topped out, happy to be alone again in a red, yellow, green, brown wood. It's incredible how noisy can the falling leaves be. It's incredible how little I need to feel happy.
Full of glory for this new link, that I have obviously dubbed "The Full Monty", I decided I would give a go to a problem I did many years ago. Well, I didn't leave the ground. Given that the problem involves just one move, I failed miserably. Ah! I wonder how I managed to do it that day! That's brilliant and one of the hardest moves I've ever done. Maybe I failed because it wasn't a traverse.
Last but not least I worked the hard hard exit of yet another traverse that I have sent during the summer on holds that would make Keith scream in terror just by looking at them: edges that we call "dog's teeth". 'nuff said.
Anyway this traverse is BRILLIANT. There is a very very hard move, to get a poor edge far right, then somehow you have to stay there, bring the left foot high up and then somehow gain the lip. It's amazing. I am so happy. I still haven't done the last two moves, but I have done all the rest and am confident to do it in the next ten years ;-).
My fingers are eaten, my body is worked and my mind is free.
Beastie Boys live.

Tuesday, 10 November 2009


The only holidays I've had this year, are represented by these last four months, in which I didn't do any specifically climbing related training. During the summer, as you may remember, I just moved iron around in a boiling, sweaty, deserted gym. At mid august I hit my lowest by doing two hours long fingerboard sessions in a small, boiling, sweaty, deserted house. Every fucking day.
Then, came september, and finally temps dropped below the 35° mark. It was time to hit the gym again, but my mental energy levels were at around minus 273° so I decided to just let it go and simply boulder without any plan.
It's been fun, but as usual I didn't realize that pulling on plastic four days a week as hard as I could, would have led me to overtraining...
Anyway, after almost one week off (just two sessions), school is on again. The Guru's mind gave birth to another training plan, aimed to mutation. I already feel my DNA changing, it started from the haircut.

Friday, 6 November 2009


One week ago, at this exact time, I was again driving on my own to the Dolomites to climb a small boulder before the snow covers it for months. So many things has changed from that lonely drive north, and I don't want to get into the details, I think my previous post gives a clear idea of what happened, the rest is not important.
So now I would like to look back at that days and understand them. Why in a matter of seconds everything seemed different from before, I don't know. Maybe we are truly incomplete without others. Maybe we are really not made to be on our own, but to always share. Sharing is everything. There are many ways of sharing, and not all of them mean being with someone else in the same place at the same moment, even if it's the most common way of sharing. But it's not enough, because I know that we can be with someone else in the same place at the same moment and nonetheless feeling alone.
One thing that I really want to make public is my thanks to the two beasts who came north. I think they come to share something and I'm sure we did. For sure they shared with me their joy of living the dream, and that's priceless for me. They turned a lonely weekend into a mini super holiday, in which there were no responsibilities, no work, no troubles, no bills to pay and no rent. Just climbing, eating and laughing.
Now tell me if this isn't the biggest of gifts.

Monday, 2 November 2009