Thursday, 6 December 2012


Pictures courtesy of Filo. 

I went back to Chironico during the past weekend, with my friend Filo. It's been good, finally with cool weather for a change!!! 
One of the sectors I always go back to is "Paese", with the "Souvenir" boulder always in my sights. 
This time, though, despite quickly doing "Souvenir" in two halves with the new sequence, I found myself under a nearby problem that I had always looked with reverence and never tried: "Komilator". 
It's amazing, why did I wait so long to try it? 
It's very simple: because it's hard, it's very crimpy, it's not exactly a short man's problem and finally because of its final dyno with the incredible swing out from the pads and down in the wood (if you don't slam into the tree). 
Moreover, to try hard things on my own while with other climbers is not something that I love to do, so when Filo showed interest for this five moves beauty, I quickly forgot about the other problem and was more than happy to try this other Fred Nicole's testpiece. 
The moves went without too hassle, but not without some good commitment. The second move, the one to the left hand crimp, is long for someone like me, and it took me a few goes to sort out a good sequence after trying matching on the rail and various feet placements. The heel hook sequence was immediately fine, and even better when I found a small but higher placement for my left foot. Then I didn't know what to do. The jump to the jug was out of question for me, too scary and too dynamic for my ability. I tried to squeeze harder - something that often pays dividends - and get the good hold further left; but then what? Still the jump? Right hand to the gaston arete? 
Finally, I don't even remember how, I found myself cutting loose on those two holds, holding the swing, placing the left heel next to the left hand, and getting easily the top. Success. Now it was only time to put it together, but the second move was still a very low percentage one, like a 0% one. 
The snow was falling, we were trying hard and everything was fine, apart from not climbing the problem. Filo, despite having spent the last months climbing 8a and 8b routes from Spain to Italy, left me completely speechless by getting immediately close to this boulder problem. Really really impressive, I got scared thinking about him climbing the problem and leaving me all alone there, thinking that I was the boulderer!!! Anyway we (he) got close, but we also got tired, cold and had to walk back to the car by headlamps. 
Great day. 
The following morning, despite some good sleep preceded by a ton of food in a Sicilian fast food/take away in Biasca, we were thrashed. Aching aching aching. That's what boudering in good, cold conditions does to you! 
We warmed up with therabands in the sun at the campsite, then we set off. I was tired and insecure about what I should do. We weren't even sure if we were going to try again the problem, despite Antihydral our fingers were very worked! 
With a relaxed athmosphere we warmed up gently, then we moved to "Komilator": at that point, while going for a pee, I suddenly felt different. My hands were warm, my skin was hard and dry, and my body felt powerful and ready. It was time. I was sure I was going to do it. 
I sat down and I rehearsed. I climbed it in my mind and then moved. I fell on the second move. Damn. I didn't get distracted by this fact, and I forgot about it in a second. I went again. 
The right hand hold, the good rail, was still a bit black and didn't feel good, but I did not care. Left heel, then fire to the crimp. I got it not perfectly, but I kept moving on. Right toe, left toe, squeeze, right heel. I was bolted to the holds. The right had crimp seemed a lot closer than the previous day and I was super solid. I heard Filo saying something like "Forte, forte!" and I got the left hand hold on the left, then I cut loose. "Merda!" I shouted, when my right foot brushed the pad, because it distracted me and I thought I was going to fall. Nope. I stayed there, Filo said something that I did not understand nor hear, then I heel hooked and toped out. I watched down, and Filo smiled. Then I stood there for a while, with my legs trembling. I could barely walk down. It was done. Despite the brushed pad, I had no doubts about my ascent. I really have to thank my friend Filo. I could climb the problem because he was firstly super psyched to go to Chironico, and secondly super psyched to try it and to give everything in order to do it
For many, this problem could be something trivial. Something just worth a flash go. For me it was not. 
It was a change, for a start. A change from plastic pulling and for the usual style of problems that I climb or try. A surprise. 
Now I feel that I need to have more of these surprises in my life. Surprises in my climbing and surprises in the rest of my life, a big part that has been overlooked for too long. 
I need to focus on my profession, to make it better; I need to focus on relationships, because the solitary life isn't fun; I need to be complete again.     

Monday, 26 November 2012


Some good moments with good friends, for once no need to use a timer on the camera. 
Pictures courtesy of James Pearson, Caroline Ciavaldini, Tommy Ferri. 

I don't want that last post to stay there, on the front spot for too long, so I'll tell you something new. 
I decided to go back to school. 
Recently I've been a bit disappointed by the teaching, not in terms of human relationships or students' results (I know that by teaching to students now I pay the price of my past being a terrible student and making teachers go mad... talk about Karma...), but in terms of personal research. 
I am a bit stuck under that point of view. So, with the precious help of a few beloved ones, notably Valentina (always present despite our separation), Andrea (my brother, friend and first climbing teacher and mentor) and Domenico I found the mental energy to enter a Master in Research Techniques, Security and Criminology at one of Rome universities. 
It's a year long course, and I will follow it via e-learning, with a few seminars that I'll be more than happy to attend. Criminology was the subject of my second degree, Forensic Medicine being the subject of my first degree. 
I really want to give a push to my neurons, and to put the basis for something different in the future. I am not thinking to any kind of job in particular - it's not easy to work as a criminologist - but I'm sure that this new formation will open new possibilities; I would really like to collaborate with some specialized magazine, or maybe to get involved with some research institute that I've found out here in Siena. 
Still the last days, I thought about starting again, next year, my lawyer's practice period, this time completing it, unlike twelve years ago... The long term goal is to finally try and pass the exam that enables to the lawyer's profession. Penal law is what is in the target. 

Climbing wise, I also took a few important decisions. I realized that I went a little bit too far, things got complicated, and I lost some of the pleasure. I found again this pleasure in the company of good people, and I decided that I don't want to go anymore on my own. I will go climbing when I will find a good bunch of psyched people, or just a good friend. Gone will be the days of long drives on my own to go and train at the roof. I basically did everything I wanted to, close to here, and I can't try new things on my own because I need spotters and pads, so I will keep training here at home, driving only to go to new places or problems with someone I like to spend time with. 
I've been climbing a couple of times recently in a good company, and it's been simply great. I spent a very nice day in Amiata, still on problems that I've done many times, but this time having a lot more fun. Many of these problems are not very well known, so showing them to people and seeing their good reactions is a real gift to me; plus, I gather some magic energy from others, and I feel a beast. I probably just like to show off. 
I managed to steal a couple of days in Chironico, also. I went with a friend from Siena, and I really enjoyed myself. The last time I'd been there it was October 2011, my life was very different ant I got 34°... 
This time temps were much cooler and despite - again - mostly climbing at usual sectors and repeating old things, I managed to finally try "Souvenir", a problem that I've always liked. On my first go I found myself at the sloper under the pocket, not knowing what to do. With some other climbers I tried their sequence and quickly climbed it in two halves. Miracle. Then I didn't have enough left to put it together and on the second day we didn't go there. 
I will climb it next time. 
I also finally tried "Dr. Med Dent", another problem that I've been wanting to do for ages. I messed up the sequence a little bit, then with the help of a nice couple from Sheffield and my friend, a new foot placement came out and I quickly got to the left hand rail, the one that lies 30 cm under the top; there I got suddenly scared and bailed. Yes, I jumped down. Ahah, can you believe it? I can't believe it myself. I am happy because I felt I have a very big margin on the problem, but disappointed by the fear of falling and getting injured. These things are the result of a) past injuries and b) too much solitary climbing. I'll go there again to finish it. 
Later on the second day I climbed "The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner" falling on the last move on the flash and doing it second go, and then linked it starting from "Arabald" and moving right. It's a nice link and it adds a few burly moves, namely two very long, shoulder-wrenching lock offs to gain the big holds of the original problem. 
Back home now, back to work, with its bitter taste. I have many things to keep me busy and sometimes I feel recovered. 
I know that I am not alone. I keep the blind faith. 

Tuesday, 20 November 2012


Because you could get it. 
I wanted to be free. 
I wanted to climb. 
I wanted to end a relationship that wasn't satisfying me anymore. 
Now I am free. 
Now I can climb. 
Now I've ended that relationship. 

And I am not happy. 
I wanted to get more climbing, and now I don't even feel like climbing (almost). I am scared, I fear that I won't fall in love again. Everything I made during the hard times with my girlfriend, seems to be mistakes. I woulda, I coulda, I shoulda. Too late. 

But while I'm here at home, translating a new book, I hear the voice of the old couple living upstairs. She's vacuuming the floor, as she does every morning. She's talking with the cleaning lady that helps her clean the house, every day. Her husband is downstairs in the garage, putting the car in, then taking it out, putting things in the car, then taking them out. As he does every day. They complain about the neighbours, they complain about the parking spots, they complain about the dog, the cat, about everything. They are perfect. We, the rest of the world, are not. 
But maybe we are truly alive. We suffer, but we also laugh. We find ourselves alone, but we know that at least we've really been together for some time. 
One of my biggest fears, during the hard days, was to find myself and my girlfriend, in ten or twenty years, still the same; still unsatisfied, still in a crisis, but still together, used to that all. Turned insensible. 
I remember the buzz I got when I fell in love. It was more a hammer in the head, to be honest.
I think that being with her without that buzz, without that hammer hitting my head, wasn't worth it. I think that splitting up was the only thing we could do to save our other relatioship, as two humans that shared a lot of love. It's something that we owed to our story, in some sense. 

It hurts like hell. We fight the pain. We speak. I train. I try not to think too much about this all. It's life. I keep the fucking faith. The blind faith.        

Saturday, 27 October 2012


For once I won't say - almost - anything, and I will let someone else speak for me. I only want to thank Caroline and James for their fantastic surprise, for their usual joy, kindness and crushing. Bon voyage!
What follows is taken from Caroline's website.
Thanks again.  

Amiata, du bloc pour changer, sud de Sienna
Pour une fois, je laisse la parole a James, je me contenterai de traduire...
"La dernière fois que j'ai vu Lorenzo,c' était en 2010, à un petit site de bloc au centre des Dolomites. Il avait conduit 5 heures depuis Sienne pour essayer 1 de ses projets, qui au cours du week-end continuerait a malheureusement lui échapper, mais au moins il avait pu essayer ... Deux week-ends auparavant, il avait fait le même trajet, pour s'ouvrir un pouce sur son premier essai, et rentrer à la maison! Cela devrait vous donner une petite idée de la motivation dont Lorenzo est capable!

Lorenzo a l'echauff, comme dab…

Nous avons rejoint Lorenzo près du sommet du Monte Amiata, au moment où il revenait à sa voiture après une longue journée dans les rochers.Toujours motivé, il a abandonné ses pads et nous a traînées en haut de la colline pour une tournée de tous les blocs, et bien qu'il en soit a son 3e jour de suite, Lorenzo a insisté à pour se joindre à nous le lendemain matin pour une visite personnelle d'un autre domaine.

Castel del Piano

Monte Amiata est un endroit incroyablement paisible. Les blocs sont parsemés dans une forêt de châtaigniers ombragée, et les seules personnes de passage habitants occasionnels à la recherche de champignons et de noix. En raison de son altitude, les conditions sont bien meilleuresque dans la ville voisine de Castel del Piano - quelque chose que vous apprécierez au moment de mettre de grandes claques sur les plats a gros grains.

la foret

 Cette arête de compression est un des plus beaux blocs que j'ai jamais fait!

Tout au long de la journée Lorenzo nous a montré ses problèmes classiques, dont l'un tient son rang parmi les meilleurs rochers que j'ai jamais fait. Nous avons également pu essayer quelques-uns de ses projets et même réussir à ajouter la première ascension d'un Fb7B+ : «Un Italien Très anglais».

 A Very English Italian! Fb7B+

Un autre problème classe, quelque part autour de Fb8A

Notre peau partait en lambeaux en fin de journee, et même Lorenzo (4e jour maintenant) a admis que, demain devrait probablement être un jour de repos. Toutefois, avant de dire au revoir et de commencer son trajet de retour à Sienne, Lorenzo a insisté pour nous montrer une autre surprise locale ...
Pizza Cèpes et truffes! Oui, c'est aussi bon que ça sonne!

Alors ... Pour résumer Monte Amiata! Un grand espace, avec des blocs cool d'essayer, répartis entre plusieurs zones plus petites, dispersées autour de la montagne. Très calme, très calme, et très beau. La cuisine est fantastique, et plutôt pas cher! 

 Caroline dans un superbe Fb7B+