giovedì 22 aprile 2010

ACTION DIRECTE is done!!!...

Hey guys how is it going?...

I'm just back from the Frankenjura a beautiful climbing area in the heart of Germany! Here is where everything started and where free climbing was born! Have you ever heard about ROTPUNKT?! Or REDPOINT? On these rocks the local climbers(Mr.Kurt Albert above all) were use to paint a red dot on every route they were able to climb with no falls!...
This area is also famous for its limestone crags and towers, its pockets and for sure for the late Wolfgang Güllich, the only myth in the climbing world!
Well my mission for this trip was to finally finish his most famous and hardest route... Fist 9a in the world and the benchmark for the grade... the legendary ACTION DIRECTE!...

Almost everybody knows the history about this route... Milan Sykora was a real visionary and bolted this line in the 80's since Güllich climbed it in the september of 1991 after a few years of working on the route and some specific training and exercises to get stronger fingers using campus board and finger board!...
My history with this route is a bit different...
I've always heard about this mythological route and his style and I've always been syked to try it since I was a kid! I dreamed about this route for years until the 2004 when I had the chance to go to the Frankenjura on a trip with some friends! Unluckily I was injured at an ankle and I could't climb properly but I fell in love with the place!...
I remember that the first time I saw Action Directe was when Cristian Brenna and Jolly Lamberti were trying it. Jolly could do the fist jump quite easily but he had some problems from the pinch. For Cristian was the opposite, he couldn't do the jump but he could do all the moves after that!...
From that day my dream became bigger and bigger and I could imagine myself climb on that route in the future!

I came back to the Frankenjura a couple of years later for a week trip. I climbed some hard and historical routes and one day I wanted to go to see how Action Directe was... Just to have an idea on how hard it was...
Well I couldn't do any of the moves!! I understood that if I wanted to have a chance to try it again first I had to get stronger and become a better climber!
The real epic started in the summer of 2008. During the previous years I made all the historical steps in the Frankenjura... I climbed Ghettoblaster in the 8b range I climbed Burn for you in the 8c and I climbed Shangri la at 8c+...
Next step was natural... 9a... and the first 9a is called Action Directe!
I tried again with no expectations but this time was so different! I could climb well on it. I did the jump and the moves after the pinch... I couldn't believe it. I was so syked that I decided to give a go and at my second try I climbed it with only one fall in the middle!! So crazy!

photo Bernardo Gimenez!
It was becoming possible and not in a long time... unfortunately I was thinking wrong!
That same evening I started to feel that my left middle finger was not ok after pulling alot on the small pockets and the day after I couldn't bend the finger. I was suffering my first(and last so far) injury!
Luckily it was nothing too serious and after a week of stop I started climbing again. That same day I started training as well. I had planned a trip to Germany in october and I wanted to arrive well preparated with stronger fingers and great shape!
Well october came and I was again under my project. I started to work on the moves again and I was feeling so strong. During the three days we stayed I had some very good attempts... A couple of times I fell at the very last sequence! Damn...
I came back to the Frankenjura ten days later for a short weekend thinking It would have been the last time... I was wrong again! I started to feel a big pressure in my head because I could climb well the first part but I kept falling at the same weird move to get a mono after the pinch!... Yes I was starting to suffer of a mental block!

Another time at the end of october I joined Patxi Usobiaga to try the route with him for a few days... At the end Patxi climbed it and I got back to Italy empty handed another time.
photo Bernardo Gimenez!
It was over for that year. It was getting too cold and I was too broke for another trip to Germany!

photo Bernardo Gimenez!
Last year I didn't have the chance to try AD alot. I went there only one weekend in may in between World Cup Comps but my shape for the route was not the best, plus it was warm and full of mosquitos! The same was in october... bad shape no time and really bad conditions!
This year everything was different! I trained hard to get in shape for this trip in fact I did some specific works to get my tendons stronger and mostly I had more days to try the route, not the short weekend like usual. My motivation was so high!
I was so syked to have a revenge!
Fist day back on the route was okey... I reworked the moves, did the sequences a few times but I couldn't give a proper go due to one very humid hold.
Second day was a bit weird. In the morning during the warmup I didn't feel so good, a bit tired and not so reactive...
This day AD was in perfect conditions and the weather too so I gave a first serious attempt but I climbed a bit nervous and not in the right mood.
So I rested a bit more and I understood I was getting in the right state of mind. I was feeling relaxed and peaceful! A great feeling!

photo Bernardo Gimenez!
I started again for the second go of the day and I climbed the first part very well
with no mistakes. I hold the pinch perfectly and I was ready to get the mono... I fell alot on this move because I couldn't center the mono. Once I stuck the mono I got in a strange mind sensation. I felt like I was in trance and I climbed without feeling the fatigue!!... It's the first time I felt something like this and I'm glad it happened during the victorious attempt!!!...
I finally climbed my dream route ACTION DIRECTE! To be honest I'm so happy to have climbed it now and not in 2008 because now I can taste this flavour more deeply!!! I'm very proud to be in the story of climbing now togheter with all the best climbers in the world!!...
Thanks everybody for all the support but especially to the guys who supported me personally and mentally in this beautiful story:
Paolo,Simo,Jacopo,Franz,Malpe,Baistra,Gaia,Cecco,Silvio,Stecca,Ale,Flami,Marzio,Cristian,Pellet,Niki,Miki,Rudy,Wolfgang and all the others I forgot to name!!...


giovedì 15 aprile 2010

Last days on the granit!

This last winter has been pretty bad in terms of good conditions for hard bouldering in Ticino...but spring has arrived and instead of warms temps it has brought dry and fresh air and not too much rain!...
I spent a few days in Chironico and one in Brione during the last month and I was able to send some nice problems I saw in the past but I didn't try until now... a couple of 8b's a bunch of 8a's all sent in a few tries(one flash) and some other 7c's flash!!
Here is the list:
-Delusion of Grandeur 8b
-Einfisch kleinfisch 8b
-Disney production 8a+
-Conquistadors 8a+
-Salamander 8a/a+
-Schlonziges wiener schmankerl 8a
-Walker on earth 8a
-Tricky 8a
-Wrap artist 8a
-Alphane moon 8a flash

Video of Delusion of Grandeur by Rudy Ceria!

lunedì 12 aprile 2010

Trad climbing!

Hey everybody! I hope you all had a great weekend!...
Saturday I went Trad Climbing in a really good granite crag called Cadarese in the Ossola Valley in the North west of Italy!
I have always tried to be a complete climber so last year I started Trad Climbing too and I really fell in love with it! I feel that I'm improving on placing the gear everytime!
Cadarese is the perfect place to learn that... It's a very nice granite crag full of cracks,corners,dihedrals,aretes etc!
Unfortunately the three main sectors are all bolted even if the bolts are not needed...
Last tuesday I tried one very nice 8a with the intent to do it only with natural protections. The route is about 25meters long and has some very nice cracks at the beginning that are easy to protect. After the first not so hard but technical 10meters you have the first physical and mental crux. A 4meters runout on a #2cam while you climb this precarious arete on slopers. After the first crux you get to a dihedral and you can have a good rest and place two protections(#0 and #1)before the last intense 10meters that consist in some physical moves on a slopey crack and a difficult #3 to place in the middle of the sequence... After you place the last cam you have the resistence crux with big lockoffs between slopey edges and a 5meters runout to add some spice at the end...
Saturday I was syked for a headpoint try and after a check out to remember the moves and the protections I went for the headpoint go! I climbed relaxed all the way to the top for my first trad 8a!! hahah so cool!
Later that day I started to try and figure out the gear on this very hard project on a shorter wall just below the main cliff... This project reminds me to a english "hard grit" route. It's very short(about 10meters)and it has some very technical and hard moves and a difficult mantle on a rail at 3/4 of the route. I can't wait to try it again and give it a proper attempt!...
So stay tuned!

mercoledì 7 aprile 2010


Last monday we drove to Chironico to see how the granite felt like!... Weather has been crazy in the last days and we arrived welcomed by a few centimeters of fresh snow fell during the night before! Anyway the snow quickly melted down and neither let the blocs wet thanks to the dry wind blowing!! This means conditions for climbing were perfect!
First we went to Boogalagga sector. After a small warm up we put the pads under a cool problem called Confession of a Crap Artist! Very nice line and a bit tall too... Roosa the strong finnish girl was trying it so we added some extra pads in change of some good beta!... Thanks to the perfect beta we all succeeded! Me and Miki flash, Niki second go, Simo and Roosa in a few goes!! Such a great problem!
The grade was originally 8a but I'm sure very good methods have been found and the grade now is in the 7c range!
In the picture is Natalija Gros!

A few minutes later me and Niki climbed it again from the low start. Low start adds 5more not so easy moves to the stand start and make the grade come up to 8a more or less!... I remember I read somewhere that Jorg Verhoeven opened this problem some years ago and called it Wrap Artist!
Later on we moved just 100meters downhill so the others could try the amazing Boogalagga 8b! I climbed it last year and in my opinion is one of the best problems in the world at that grade!!Perfect rock,perfect holds and features,great moves!...
Meanwhile they tried it I gave a couple attempts at the nearby 8a(?)Walker on Heart
but my fat fingers didn't help me at all on this bloc... None of my fingers really fit in the start mono except the pinky and sometimes the annular. Once I did the mono move with the first part of my annular finger but I fell afterwards like a stupid... After another couple of false starts I decided to give up... too painful not for the tendon but for the nail I felt like it was going to break...
Miki climbed Boogalagga in about a hour!
I was sure he was going to send it very fast it is really his perfect style...good job!
Then we walked to another great 8a called Miss Schweiz. Simo and Miki climbed it again very fast me and Niki repeated it for some photos...

At the end of the day we moved again to another sector to try an 8a roof nobody of us never tried before,named The Alphane Moon!
This problem is located in a big cave with a few projects I think.
I remembered the beta from a video and I flashed it. So happy! Niki followed sending it second go! Nice!
Finally a great day of bouldering with good friends good fun and good conditions!...