Saturday, 1 October 2016


The rule of the part time blogger is that after a hiatus, one should immediately renew the enthusiasm of the followers, by announcing exciting news, a strong resolution, or a mega project finally hammered into submission. 
Not in this case. 
I have nothing special to tell, but I want to start again with some good habits that I had to put to one side in the last months. I spent the entire Summer working and studying, and now I am finally free. 
Belive it or not, I climbed a new problem in May, in the only couple of hours that I've spent on rock in ages. 
This problem is cool, it's always been there, at one of the most frequented areas around, and it was never cleaned. The most essential line of crimps on the lip of a roof, for the most elementary of all traverses. Not. 
While the holds were all there, in their glorious and different forms, from majestic, grainy slopiness to pointy teeth, or plain razor blades, the sequence was far from trivial. 
With a brainless enthusiasm I got to work and after five minutes my skin was already thrashed, but I had a sequence. Torrid temps were suggesting to let it rest for a few months, but that would have been too easy. 
I don't know how I managed, but I climbed it. Pulling as hard as I possibly could, surely must have helped.

I called the problem "Animali Senza Tempo", which means "Timeless Animals", and it's a reference to sharks, crocodiles, and few other beasts that are almost exactly the same as they were at the beginning of evolution.
In a few years time, this problem will be "discovered" by someone who is sure to be the first boulderer to set his or her eyes on this line - because he or she is sure that bouldering didn't even existed here before their arrival -, it will be "freed" with all the possible cheating techniques, brushing holds out of the soft rock, eliminating spikes and blades, not sticking to the lip, all in the name of climbing progress, all in the name of shameless self promotion. 
These ridiculous individuals have all my pity, compassion and sympathy. Only, I have no pity, no compassion, no sympathy at all. 
I wonder how one could possibly believe that nothing existed before them. I wonder why people aren't interested in knowing the facts, the history. They revel and bask in ignorance, in name dropping, in being servants of the local starlet, in shining of reflected light. 
People are uninformed, they love to be uninformed, so that they can believe what they like to believe without having to stick to facts, but then when they make public statements, being uninformed, they misinform others. 
I could go on forever on this. I won't. 
But you could ask why I don't face this issue, why I don't face these people and thell them how things really are: that they haven't invented anything, exactly as I didn't; that problems X, Y and Z were climbed ten years ago; that they cheat on routes and boulders. 
Well, there are many reasons. 
First of all, I don't care that much at all. Knowing the truth, what is false doesn't affect me. 
Second, they don't deserve the truth. To quote Jack Nicholson in "A Few Good Men", they can't handle the truth. Truth is not for everyone, not for those who want to be the first ones, the unique ones, the rebel ones, the pure ones. Truth is democratic: there's always someone else who's been there before, done that before. We only need to widen our views. 
Third, I don't want to cause a stir, and if I speak, there will be much more of a stir, there will be a Maelstrom that will suck them all. 
Finally, being a bastard, I take great pleasure in seeing how they all make fools of themselves in front of my eyes, and in front of the eyes of those who have been around for a while. 
It's fun, I started this post wanting just to reacquaint myself, just to post a couple of pics, and look what I've done. 
But I left the most amazing news last, the most incredible of all news: I want to rock climb, I'm going rock climbing tomorrow.
Now tell me if this isn't really unbelievable. It is.

Sunday, 10 April 2016


With the powers granted by all the fucks that I don't give about what's going on in the climbing world, thereunto enabling me, I hereby officially command that the Board season be considered over, and as a consequence I order that the Summer of S.A.M. commence, where S.A.M. stands for "Singles, Anabolism, Metcon". 
Getting the front two crimp I immediately feel that something's wrong. And I refuse to admit it. I refuse to admit it because I have convinced myself that today I am going to climb one last project before the arrival of Spring and high temps. I mean, higher temps. After one week with up to 26,5° a sudden couple of cloudy, rainy days have given me renewed hope. I've been struck by luck and I must take advantage of the bitch. 
I have slept until late after a very tiring week, I have eaten well and I have done my usual, loyal general warm up routine. Then it's time to awake the fingers. Big slopers, 35°, big rungs back3, big rungs front3, small rungs back3, small rungs front3, small rungs front two crimps, one arm the incut rung. Fingers are ready. Time for some recruitment. A dumbbell complex with low reps, at full speed, is followed by some cleans and some snatches. The speed is there. Time to rest. I am ready. "One shot, one kill." I say to myself as I leave the ground for yet another moment of glory. 
That's why, when I feel the crimp, I refuse to believe my sensations. I start sliding off and I barely make the second move. I crimp the motherfucker out of the hold, cut loose (I mean, seriously, what the fuck? I thought the times of cutting loose were over!) and in disbelief fuck the feet sequence, then, like a hippo rolling in the mud, I try to get the next hold and I'm on the mats. 
Jesusfuckingchrist, this is shit. I am shit. I am a shame for climbing. 
Maybe 21° are still a bit too many for this project, that I've trying for a couple of years now, and for the last 8 weeks... 
I keep my calm, because I know that on this planet there's only one thing that's stronger than my body, and it's my mind. 
I go through all the moves, sometimes sticking them, some others not. 
I rest. 
I feel, with complete sureness, that liquid chalk is a disadvantage in these conditions. It forms too thick a layer on the skin, and that's why I slid off. Temps aside. 
I start again. This time, it's one shot and one kill. Not. But I make it to the third move. Moving in the right direction. Keep moving. I feel strange sensations when moving my feet, time to check the shoes. The soles are dented. Session after session the footholds - despite being slightly rounded - consume the sole in the same exact spot, and after some time a dent appears. And it changes everything. Out comes the file, and as I've done dozens of times, I start filing the dent out, cleaning all the small ridges in the rubber, making everything smooth and level. 
"One shoot, one kill." Bang. I get to the last move of the crux and fall with numb fingers. Excellent. This was my personal best on the problem during the past weeks, with perfect temps. Numb fingers mean switch fan from 3 to 1. Rest. 
Everything goes as programmed, I am a machine. I execute perfectly, not a single hesitation, I am static, strong motherfucker. But the last move is hard. 
Three more times I get to the last hard move, maybe the hardest of the problem. And three more times I don't manage to seal the deal. 
I keep trying until I feel that I have no more chances. The season is over. I set the last move with a different hold, a generous 2 cm finger jug, and I immediately fire the problem as a consolation tick. But the season is over. 
I feel that I've done everything I could, to climb it. But it simply was too hard, at least for the day. Attaboy. Boy done good. 

At the end of the Summer, last year, I decided that I would dedicate myself completely to the Board during the Autumn and Winter. I decided that I wouldn't set any new problem until I'd done all the existing projects. What a great decision it was. The real thing. 
I stuck to my program and went through many projects that I'd set in the past years, and methodically climbed them one by one. I found myself stripping some holds that I had added when the original sequences seemed impossible, and I found myself climbing those problems as I had set them years and years ago, when my imagination was limitless and I didn't care about doing them. It was all about the perspective, all about the future. This future became real, and moves that I had imagined became moves that I was performing. 
And it's all about this. Nothing else. Getting to know that with some time and dedication, I can climb stuff. Nothing else. 

I became particularly bitter and cynical about the "climbing world" as of late. Many of the things that I read seem to me incredibly ridiculous, and I feel surrounded by attention-seeking behaviours of all kinds. Problem is: I know everything. I know when people cheat, I know when people use grades to belittle others, I know hypocrisy and I know envy. 
I would have never imagined it, even few years ago, that one day I would have felt so far away from "mainstream" climbing, and at the same time so happy about my climbing and my attitude. 
The Board. The Beastmaker. The Iron. Just these. So happy. 

Sunday, 31 January 2016


I've been thinking about this thing for years now, and maybe it's time for me to get rid of it by sharing my thoughts. Maybe I find out that I'm not alone. 
As it's easy to imagine, I've spent quite a lot of time in climbing gyms during the last ten or fifteen years. 
It seems to me, that many Italian climbing gyms suffer from a very clich├ęd behaviour. 
The usual pattern, at least for the gyms that I've regularly been to, is that a strong climber at some point decides to open a gym, or to go and work somehow at an existing gym, maybe setting, maybe coaching. 
Let's not take into account, for the purpose of this post, the not so irrelevant aspect that many of the guys who do this aren't qualified neither to set nor to coach. I mean, officially and legally qualified. Like, they attended a course, passed some sort of evaluation, got a qualification. 
Let's not take into account that many simply apply to others the kind of training that worked for themselves, without reflecting over the circumstance that they may have been training for decades and are not novices that want to go from 5c to 6b. 
Let's overlook this all. 
What always left slackjawed, is the fact that, in the gyms that I know well, there is always a star, a leader that all the climbers worship. 
I am always shocked by how everyone seems to be needing a boss to which refer, and whose words are thought to be taken as absolute truth.
I've seen things, that you people wouldn't believe. Groups of beginners destroying themselves on a campusboard for hours and weeks on end, because the rock star gave them a training plan. 14 years old, 40 kilos talents ripping their muscles with weighted pull ups, because the rock star wanted to test their strength level before coaching them. Groups of 10 novices following the rock star like dumb prisoners, each one with a crashpad on their shoulders, as the leader tries all day his dangerous projects, brushing a couple of rocks nearby to make the children play when off spotting duty. 
I've heard every kind of amazed, adulatory and self depressing comment about the leader: "I'll never be as strong as he is." "He could be in the national team if he wanted." "Only he, can climb this." and so on. 
I despise this servility. 
A strong climber that operates in your gym, is just that. He's not a leader, a life guru, or someone to worship. He could be someone to admire, if he deserves it, and when he deserves it. 
I wonder why these people always need a chief. 
To me, climbing has always been about the highest form of individualism, a radical behaviour that follows the rule that you are always alone on the rock. You may be tied to another person, but when climbing, you're alone. You're alone because you only have the responsibility of your own actions, and of the consequences that those actions can have on the other person. 
We are always alone on the rock: if we want to kick down a rock, we can do it; if we want not to clip into the bolts, we can do it. Because we are alone and no one can stop us. But if the rock falls on the head of someone, or if a nasty fall puts everyone at danger, it's only our fault. There's no sharing in climbing, there is only putting together small bits of individual effort. We share the experience, but not the climbing. 
This individualism was immediately evident to me, because before starting climbing, I'd always participated in team sports. 
All I knew was that everyone was stronger than me, everyone was better than me, and that I wanted to become stronger and better than all those people. 
My friends and everyone who was stronger than me, were more targets than role models. I copied what they were doing, maybe even their attitude, but only to have an easier target to destroy.
They were still friends and brothers in real life, though.
Even now, despite struggling to stay attached to the sport with everyday's life committments, I have no gods, no leaders, no models. 
There is a huge difference between esteem and idolatry; between matter-of-factness and self-deprecation. 
I don't know what people like in this attitude. Maybe it's because they think that some of the leader's golden dust will rub on them. Maybe it's because they like to shine with mirrored light. 
In doing so, they accept and embrace mediocrity, because they accept that they will never be as good as their duce, their leader, their god. They could progress, but... they will never be like him. Or her. 
I would like that these people kill their idols. 
I would like that they shine of their own light, strong or feeble, but theirs. 
I would like that they say: fuck you I'm not spotting you all day and carry your pads. 
I would like that they take the risk of wanting to get stronger and better that anyone else, or at least as strong and as good as humanly possible for them. 
But no, for them it's better to be part of a crew. It's better to hide behind a star and be happy to be their friend, their follower, their crashpad caddy, their belay slave.   
I don't even want to spend a word about the other side of this Janus' mask. The Leader, the Guru, the Star. 
Jesus fucking Christ, guys. Get a fucking grip. Have some dignity. 
Be great, be shit, but be yourself and not a pale face in the crowd of worshippers. Become your own god. Become your own model. Become your own target.