Wednesday, 24 June 2015


                                                    Photo courtesy of Pietro Mittica

To say I'm pleasantly perplexed is an understatement. And this blog entry could stop here. But it would be very unfair. After my brilliant weekend bouldering in the Dolomites, glowing in the golden light of my successes, I took the courage to do a few things that I hadn't done in a while. The first one, that took a lot of courage, was taking a week off. I mean, really off. Like, no board climbing, no fingerboarding, no sprints, no weights, no nothing. Not really, but I managed to do only one session, a weights and bodyweight excercises complex that left me in agony for a good couple of days. Hitting the same muscle groups with two bodyweight routines, namely front levers and paused reps ab rolls, isn't exactly a smart idea, but it was worth the risk. I felt like a Hulk. Anyway, this week off also coincided with ten days in which I never had dinner at home, resulting in lots of tasty food and wine gulped down... So, when finally Monday came, it was with terror that I slipped what I thought was my overweight frame into my training pants and top. I was training with my good friend Pietro, and fuelled by the usual dose of caffeine and protein shakes, it turned out that I wasn't exactly out of shape, at least in climbing terms. I obviously climbed a project that I'd been trying for a while, linking single moves and short bits but never coming close to success. Lesson to be learnt: train like a headless chicken for a good twenty years, then take a week off to eat and drink, then climb your latest board project. Given that I wanted to go back to the Dolomites that coming weekend, I made a good plan to be sure that I was going to get there properly overtrained and undercompensated. 

This time I was going to be going with my girlfriend, so the weather was going to play a big role in making everything perfect: sunny days and glowing sunsets in the mountains are a good thing for a couple. 
Saturday morning dawned a bit cloudy, but it was promising. 
It was promising rain. 
It turned out that the promise was wrong: it was going to be snow. 
3 degrees, sleet and snow, what more could you ask for? 
But I'm not the one who's easily deceived, and I knew that in a couple of hours it was going to stop. After a good dose of kaiserschmarren and coffee, it was time to get our feet soaked to get some bouldering. 
There is this roof up there, that keeps attracting me and keeps giving problems (you see what I did there?). 
I had little info, in German, and I only knew that there was a big cross through move. Everything was wet, but with the precious experience gained during my visits at Parisella's Cave, I started to dry out bits here and there, fill the seams that were pouring, and assuring some chance for success. 
Then I started to figure out the moves, and everything started to crumble. The starting holds seemed to open up only to mysterious levitations to far away holds, and nothing seemed possible. The sequence that I was sure was going to earn me my first 8a flash proved to be 8c and I didn't flash it. 
Then the miracle. 
I kept my cool, stayed there, dried more footholds, kept trying and refining, and after a while, make it two hours - make it three - I had a sequence. 
I also had a soaking, trembling girlfriend. 
Being the old romantic that I am, I knew that it was time to leave, but I didn't leave. Instead, I took off my fleece, my t-shirt and my thermal and proceeded to reward my girlfriend with my bulging muscles beating down the problem into submission. I am the greatest. No, really. You can't imagine it. 
Half an hour later we were drinking spritz and eating mortadella and cheese in Campitello as if there were no tomorrow. 
While I was walking in Canazei, that was full of people fully clad in Montura, Mammut, The North Face apparel, I thought about Jerry, and started moaning to myself: "Wherever I watch, there's noone stronger than me. I am the strongest one." 
After this glorious day, I decided to take my girlfriend to get some more cold at Falzarego, where the meadow was lashed by a freezing wind that made everything a bit tricky and made me search for shelted in a nearby shithole that hosts two 8a's and an 8b+ in three meters of stone. Unfortunately being less than 45° overhanging, I didn't even manage to pull on. 
More spritz and mortadella. 
I had taken Monday off, so I was ready for the final sunny day. That never came. Clouds and wind, but a generous temp of 7°. Happiness all around. My girlfriend climbed a bit and got her battle scars, and I tried another problem in the same roof, getting as close as possible to doing it without actually doing it. 
A gigantic portion of potatoes, eggs and speck marked the end of the climbing trip and left room only for a brief stop at LaSportiva factory. I bought a pair of undersized Cobra for 59 Euros and everything was over. 
But I am still the greatest. I am still the strongest, and you all know it. 

Tuesday, 9 June 2015


I had thought that my moment of top form was going to vanish, and I had thought that I was going to run out of projects. I was wrong on both.
The two days of the last post became more days, in which I found myself miraculously glued to ze rock, sticking move after move.
I found myself stronger, also, adding kilos to all my previous personal bests and that's the only thing that counts, to be honest.
I ask myself why now and not before.
The answer is that it's happening now because now I am an overally better person than before. And I am a better person because I am a more complete person: my mind is as fast as a speeding bullet and as sharp as a laser beam. It's not hazy and lazy, incapable of thinking to anything that's not grades and moves. OK, it's never really been that lazy, but you get what I mean.
Better mind, better body. I'm free. Free from others, but mostly free from myself and from my demons and ego.
I know what I am and I know what I can do.
The thing that strikes me most, to be honest, is that I became less shit at flashing problems. It all started in December 2014, and I suspended my judgement waiting for some more info. Then it happened again, but on first ascents, so again I suspended my judgement. But it happened again and again. So, finally, I must think that somehow I became better at flashing problems.
I spent this last weekend in one of the places that I love the most, and in which I feel more at home: the Dolomites.
Steep boulders on pockets and edges made for testosterone bouldering with bulging muscles and veins, fuelled by all sorts of natural and artificial food, from buckets of hyperproteic yogurt with honey and hazelnuts, to protein shakes, to honey and peanut butter sandwiches, to hamburgers and pasta.
I flashed basically everything, including two 7c's (one was a retroflash of a problem I climbed ages ago). I was also very close to doing an 8a that I smartly tried at the end of the second day. Punter. 
OK, OK, I know what you purists are going to say about bouldering on dolomia: it's choss, they're eliminates, it's nasty, etc. I could finely discuss our diverging opinions about this subject, using my rhetoric to convince you about the quality of the bouldering there, but I won't do it. If you don't like it, you don't deserve it. Which is better for me also, because I like my boulders quite and private. 

Unfortunately, this moment of splendid form coincided with a certain Chzech climber flashing 8b and 8b+ and climbing 8c in a day, so I am not surprised that neither LaSportiva nor Black Diamond called me to ask me if I'd like to be paid by them to just keep climbing and being so awesome.