Skip to content

What’s up? Kalymnos, Melloblocco, Super Cirill, sport climbing around home and more…

 

Trying my nemesis "Dolby Surround"; credits: Jensen Walker

Trying my nemesis “Dolby Surround”; credits: Jensen Walker

 

After our trip to Utah, I had just a few days to rest at home before I took my next flight: destination Kalymnos!

As every year, I used to do a short visit on the island in April, in order to search a new crag to bolt for the TNF Fetsival and to start to do the job. This time the crew changed and James and Caro joined the party. We had just one week time, so we had to hurry up! I spent the first 2 days hiking and driving around, looking for some potential lines… and !thanks! to the big help of Claude Idoux and his rescue team, on the third day we found the right spot. I can just say that the place is amazing, but you will have to join us at the Festival to see what it looks like ;)  We spent the rest of our days on the island, bolting and cleaning some new routes… and I can’t wait to see the final result!

After we left the island, I had just a couple of days to do some work at home, before I had to leave again for the Melloblocco. At the beginning I was a little bit skeptical about going there, as it rained the whole week before and the weather was supposed to be very bad during the event…. anyways…it’s not something new that it rains during the Melloblocco ;)

I had to present “Zembrocal” (the film about our trip to La Reunion) on thursday night, so I drove for the first time already on wednesday evening to the valley. The original plan was to have a a look on a trad multi-pitch route, which was freed by Simone Pedeferri  some years ago, but as nobody was motivated to team up, I ended up bouldering a little bit down in the valley. The weather wasn’t great on the first 2 days, but on saturday it cleared up and the sun came out. It was very nice to meet again a lot of old and new friends, so I decided to spend also the last days playing around on the boulders field: at the end I had no more skin, but it was a lot of fun! …and so, I had also for this year my bouldering “dose”… now I can wait until the next Melloblocco ;)

After that, we decided to spend the next few weeks around Austria, trying to get some fitness back after one month of crack climbing. …and actually it was one of the best choice we have made! Even if I have been based in Austria for many years now, I have been traveling so much that I rarely climbed in my “home areas”; I really enjoyed to visit all those different crags, climbing a lot of classical lines between Oetztal, Zillertal and Voralberg, and spending time with nice people. I was lucky that the shape came back pretty fast, so I could climb most of the routes first or second go, which means I had time to climb a lot of different lines :)

Cookie Flake, Elements of addiction, Caramello, Erntezeite, Jambalaya, Reifepruefung, Total Brutal, Erkenntnis, Behind the Tree, Black Mamba are just some of the routes I had the opportunity to climb during those two weeks. The weather was almost always good and I was so stoked about all the different places I could visit, that I rarely took a day off.

Between all that, we decided to head to Ticino for a couple of days; I’ve basically never climbed there with a rope, so I was pretty happy to check the great potential out. Babsi spent a lot of time there and she was kind to show me around; we drove immediately to Val Bavona, as I’ve always heard a lot of good things about the multi-pitch “Super Cirill” and I wanted to check its beautiful crack out. Babsi’s back was a little bit sore from the last days, so she decided not to climb and she offered to give me a belay on it :) When we arrived there in the afternoon, I was positively surprised by the immense amount of perfect granite and the beauty of the valley; I quickly racked up and give the route an attempt. Everything went fine until the technical dihedral before the crack, where I fell and it took me quite a while to figure out the beta. I lowered down and gave it another try, but my foot slipped again.  I decided to quickly check out the crack pitch and we rapped down as it was freezing cold… unbelievable for may. The day after Babsi’s back was even worse, so we decided to chill out, take a rest day and drive back home. Luckily after a couple of days the pain disappeared  and she started to climb again:)

We arrived back home late in the evening, but I was so motivated from the beauty of the line, that I immediately searched a partner for the next days.  Luckily Luca (Schiera) was also interested in the route, and so after a short night, I drove straight back to Ticino for a day. I arrived pretty late, as I found a lot of traffic due to the bad weather, but we still had enough time to climb. I led all the pitches, but I fell on the crack pitch with frozen fingers… that’s crazy for may in Ticino! Luca checked the pitch out too, and after that I had another go, fighting until the next belay with a big smile on my face: what a dreamy pitch! We climbed our way up trough the last easy pitches and we rapped down just before it got too dark. As we both had to do something on the next day, we immediately got back in our cars and we drove home…well that was a long day out! Thanks again to Luca for the cool afternoon.

At the end of the month I had to set for the European Youth Cup in Imst. It’s always very tiring, but at the same time very funny and motivating to work together with Jan “Janny” Zbranek and the Knabl family; it’s  just a pity that Paulo wasn’t there this year. The organization was great as every year, and even if we had a loooong last route setting night before the finals (we went to bed at 5 and we woke up at 7 ;) ) it was definitely a positive experience.

In the meanwhile, between some more route setting in Bolzano, and the Natural Games with La Sportiva crew a couple of weeks ago, another adventure has started… but this is another story … ;)

Have fun

Jacopo

 

Cracks addiction: back to Utah!

Scarface - copyright: François Lebeau

Scarface – copyright: François Lebeau

It’s weird how something in what you struggle a lot could be so addictive. The first time I jammed my hands in a crack during our last trip to Utah in November, I couldn’t believe that I would like it so much. It’s painful and it feels so much harder than a normal face climbing route: it was like restarting climbing again from zero. It could be a source of frustration for someone, but actually I really like the process of learning something new and see the progression day by day.

When I left Utah the last November I had clearly in my mind that I wanted to come back there as soon as possible. Babsi was also looking forward to make a crack climbing trip again, so the decision was easy! We immediately booked our flights for another trip in March/April.

This time we planned to spend the whole period in Utah, trying to see as many places as possibile and climbing a lot of different things… single pitches, towers, multi pitches… we wanted to explore as much as possible what the desert can offer, with the goal of improve in jamming and see something new.

We flew again to Denver, where we met up with Françcois (Lebeau), a friend and very talented photographer, who joined us for the  first week of our trip to climb, hang out and shoot together.  As the previous time, we had to drive trough a snow storm across Colorado to reach the desert of Utah; the wide american places never stop to surprise me… it’s amazing how many different landscapes you can see during the drive from the airport to the desert!

The plan was to spend the first 10 days climbing in Indian Creek, as we wanted to get used again to the cracks and climb some more classics that we missed in November.

I was very surprised when we entered in the Canyonlands; the colors, the plants, the rock, the light were completely different from the fall… everything was brighter, more intense: the desert was blooming! We put up our camp at the Superbowl and we started immediately to enjoy the simplicity of the dessert life. I love to be outside, hanging out around the fireplace, with no  connections with the rest of the world, talking just about life and watching the stars… it makes me feel lucky to be alive… and to share all that with a special person is the best thing I could immagine.

We leaved with the idea of finding some projects, but we ended up doing just tons of pitches,  trying to climb on all the different crack sizes, with the goal of improve as much as possible. It was so nice to hang out with old and new friends and to enjoy the desert life, that we arrived at the end of the 10 days without even seeing it!

After this first part, I had to leave to San Francisco for a week to attend the TNF Athletes Summit. I’d never been at the headquarter before, so it was a great opportunity to see it and to meet up with all the other athletes. We had a good timer here, talking about the brand and our future projects, doing different activities and giving feedbacks on the products. It’s like a big family and I’m very happy to be part of it!

I flew back to Moab super motivated to go on with our trip and to see something new. After having heard so much about it and its emblema “Moonlight Buttress”, the plan was to drive down south to Zion. Babsi picked me up and we immediately started the journey.  Once again we drove trough different landscapes and we entered the Park just before the sunset: what a beautiful place! Thanks to the precious infos of Jonatan, we found a calm spot to camp far from the crowded campings. We spent the whole period there, having some funny experiences and meeting different people who literally enjoy the “american dream” ;-)

The day after we wanted to drove inside the Park to go climbing and we immediately realized how much different it was from the quiet Indian Creek: a line of cars was waiting at the gate and after an expensive fee, we had to take some shuttle buses to reach the other side of the canyon. Sincerely I didn’t like it all on the first moment: I’ve always hated touristic places and, even if there were nice rock walls everywhere, I was not so stoked to spend one week in the crowded Park…. but I forgot about all that as soon as we started climbing on some classics multi pitches :)

The rock in Zion is not so good as Indian Creek, but it was pretty nice to be outside again and to climb on something long.

We spent the first 2 days doing some classics and after a rest day we went straight to one of the most famous route of the Park: “Moonlight Buttress”.

From the ground the line looked awesome and I heard so much about it, that it was impossible to leave without giving a try. We on-sighted everything until the end of the crux pitch, but we got stucked before the dihedral and we rapped down exhausted. The pitches were amazing and even if they were hard for us “euro” climbers, we definitely wanted to go back on it… especially as we heard that the upper part was even better!

So, after a rest, we hiked again super motivated at the base of the wall and, after some easy pitches, we quickly reached the beginning of the hostilities; I led the long crux pitch, Babsi crushed the dihedral (thanks :-) ) and I finished os-sighting the last 3 pitches. I loved the upper 0.5 splitter: it definitely is one of the best I’ve climbed so far of this size! World class!

We reached the upper plateau super happy about the day we had, and with a team ascent in the pocket… there was no better way to finish it…. well…maybe without missing the last shuttle bus it would have been better ;p

We wanted to stay some more days in Zion, but the weather forecasts weren’t great and so we decided to drive back to Canyonlands to spend our last few days of the trip there.

We climbed some single pitches and some multi pitches, but we were still missing some towers! After a quick research at the outdoor shop, we decided to head out to the Moses’s Tooth, which is a really cool and famous tower not so far from Moab. During the drive, I got very surprised seeing how much rock there is in the West Rim: the climbing potential is huge!

We chose the classic “Primrose dihedrals” and, after a short and stormy day, we reached the top. Even if it was super windy and it started to rain, it was great to stand on the summit of the tower: the landscape is beautiful from up there.

After we rapped down, we decided to drive back to Indian Creek for the last two days of climbing. Unluckily when we arrived at the Super Bowl campground,  we had just the time to put up our tent, that it started to rain. We spent the night there, hoping that the situation would improve, but the day after was even worse! So, sad to leave without jamming again, we packed all our wet stuffs and we decided to drove back to Denver. A “wet” end of another great trip together :)

As every quality travel, the time run so fast, that I couldn’t really realize that we had already spent one month in the desert. We had once again a great time in the US, learning a lot and seeing some beautiful places… and sincerely I can not wait to go back to Utah again! That place is addictive ;)

Thanks again to François for nice time together and for all the great pictures!

 

 

Prinzip Hoffnung

If I think back at the days when I was just competing and sport climbing, I clearly remember a few lines that really inspired me, but that at the same time scared me a lot.

“Prinzip Hoffnung” was one of them.

I remember the pictures of Beat climbing on this incredible line just in the middle of the village, standing on minimal holds and using just some micro nuts to protect himself: for me it was something completely unthinkable at the time!

In the last years a lot has changed in my climbing attitude. I experienced a lot of different things and I started looking for something more intense and committing. It has been a kind of natural evolution in my climbing and life.

Last summer I went often to climb in Buers, passing by “Prinzip” every time: it was a truly eye catching line!

In those moments, I start to remember the pictures of Beat and the feelings I had while watching them: I felt that the moment to look what it looks like arrived. I wanted to see how much my climbing attitude changed and if I was ready to try something like that. For me it was a game, just as all the other climbs… but more committed.

In october, when I came back from the Kalymnos Climbing Festival, I spent a couple of days in Bludenz before our next trip; it was very hot, but I was super curious about the route, and so one evening I rapped down from to top to look how it was. I didn’t even have the climbing shoes with me and I just checked the gear, but I immediately felt in love with it. The line was simply amazing: one first crack that disappears after 25 meters, and another one that starts 6 meters above, with just some minimal holds in between. I flew to America with just one idea in my mind: to try it immediately when I come back!

… and so I did …

After our trip in the States, I spent a lot of time in Bludenz. I wanted to check it out better, and as Babsi had to work in the morning, I went alone and rapped down again from the top. The route was pretty dirty, as just a few people have tried it after the 2nd ascent of Alex, and I spent a lot of time cleaning it to find the small holds and the gear placements. I wasn’t afraid of the two cracks, as it was pretty obvious how to climb them, but the crux section was a big question mark for me. There are not so many holds in that section and it was very difficult to find the small footholds and to understand how it worked. It took me for sure a couple of hours to finally understand which was the best way to climb the crux. In december the suns shines just for one hour on the wall, so I went again a bunch of times alone for a quick session to figure out the moves and the gear.

Prinzip Hoffnung
At the beginning I had a very bad feeling while standing on the extremely small footholds and I couldn’t really think about a lead attempt… but at the same time I was completely decided to try it!

In the meanwhile Babsi also got really motivated to have a look on it, and so we went together on a weekend to try it top-rope. It was very nice to share again the same project and to progress on it together: it’s always the best part of the whole story.
Anyways the time run fast, and after Christmas we decided to train for a period indoor to get some fitness for the next season. We basically split the time between Innsbruck and Dornbirn, deciding to try “Prinzip” later on again.

At the beginning of February, after the short training period, we came back in Buers with the goal to finish the “business” ;) The sun shined longer on the wall and it was better to try the route. We did some good progress on it and the idea to lead it started to turn in my mind. I was always so focused on how to place the gear, that I never climbed it without falling on top-rope. Anyways my mind was ready to make a lead attempt, and so I didn’t think about it and I went for it.

The first attempt wasn’t great, and I failed before the crux, but it helped me a lot to get more confidence with the gear. After another top-rope session, I came back, falling two times at the very end of the crux. The first time I fell on the last small offset nut placed before the crux, I was sure that it wouldn’t hold and that I would fall all the way to the last bomber piece; I was very surprised when it didn’t pop… it was a really strange feeling to fall without knowing what it would happen.

Prinzip Hoffnung

Our depart for Spain was getting closer and I started to worry about the time, as I was afraid that it would be too hot after 2 weeks. We planned to come back after a couple of days, but when we woke up in the morning everything was covered by snow and rain; the weather looked horrible and I was almost sure that we wouldn’t have the possibility to try it again before our flight to Spain….

… but sometimes things change really fast :)

In the afternoon the wind started to blow and the rain stopped, so we immediately drove to Buers! I couldn’t believe it: everything was dry! Babsi decided to make her first lead attempt, and after the warm up, she went for it. I have to admit that I was more stressed while  belaying her, than while climbing. :) She climbed super well, and she was so focused that she forgot to place (£&)£&%”%!!!) one of the bomber gear in the middle, but unluckily she also fell before the end of the crux. It was really impressive to see her climbing!

Alex (Luger) was also there to try his project just on the right of “Prinzip” and so I gave him a belay; he didn’t send it that day, but he fell very high up, showing that it was a good “friction” day. The days were still short, and it was almost dark, but I decided to give it a go anyways. I was cold and sure that I would have to stop in the middle because of the dark, so I started without any expectations. I tried to climb really fast , in order to arrive at the crux with still some light. I felt exactly the feeling I love the most while climbing: I felt like in a bubble, focused just on what I was doing and enjoying the moment, without thinking about anything else. Everything was super smooth and I climbed trough the crux struggling a little bit to see the small footholds. When I reached the second crack and I rested before the last easier section, I could barely see 1 meter below me, and I just told to myself: …hurry up, you can not fall here! ;)

The mixed between the deep concentration and the darkness, made everything more intense: a beautiful felling, which is really hard to express with words.

When I clipped the anchor and I looked down the the lights of the village, I realized that another little dream just came to an end. I was super happy, but at the same time I was sad that everything was finished. Climbing “Prinzip Hoffnung” has probably been the best moment in my climbing life and it really opened my eyes about new prospectives.

A big thank to Beat for the vision to bring this beautiful piece of rock how it was before, showing to everybody the importance to respect such a line and to commit ourself.

A huge thank to Babsi for sharing another nice “adventure” together : those are always the best and more important memories and aspects of  a project… I can’t wait for the next one! :)

 

Pictures copyrights: Jensen Walker

Last weeks in the US

Video interview about “Prinzip Hoffnung”, made by MountainBlog

A short video interview made by MountainBlog about my 3rd ascent of Beat Kammerlander’s “Prinzip Hoffnung”, 8b/+, E9/10.

This route meant a lot to me and made me understand the importance and the beauty of climbing such a line just on trad gear. For sure it’s more demanding, but it’s a great way to respect the rock and to challenge yourself.

 

 

Back in Utah! Some images of the first week in the desert.

Two weeks of relax and sport climbing in Oliana.

I’ve been to Spain every winter since I was 16…and I did it once again ;)

Usually I always went to Siurana for the Christmas period, but after so many trips spent in the same place, seeing the same things and meeting the same people, I wanted to change. Also Babsi did several trips to Siurana and Margalef and she was motivated to see something new. We were both really curious about Oliana, and so, after a quick check, we immediately booked our flights!

After our last trip in Utah we spent a lot of time climbing in the gym, trying to get our fitness back and training for the upcoming season. Personally I enjoyed a lot that period: it feels great to be at home after so much traveling, training in the gym, trying some projects and making some work done. I felt that my body and my mind needed it, and found some new energies.

In the meanwhile, we also jumped on “Prinzip Hoffnung”, a trad line which has always inspired me and that seemed impossible to me when I was just competing or sport climbing. It’s crazy how something can stay all day long in my mind when I want to climb it! Luckily it went down before our trip to Spain… but that’s another story ;)

So we left Austria with the only idea of climbing as much as possible, without any projects in our minds. It has been a long time since the last time I sport climbed a lot, and we both were super motivated to see a new crag where every routes was new for us.  Everyday was very simple: we just climbed without any expectations, enjoyed the moment and hanged out with friends. Except the first rainy day, that was humid and cold , we have been always really lucky with the weather; the sun shined everyday, being warm during the day and perfect for climbing in the afternoon. It’s strange, but I never complained about the heat…probably we needed to get some warm after the cold days on the project at home!

As in every trip, it was great to meet some new and old friends. A big thank goes to Sam and Walker, who found us the perfect accommodation just in the center of the village, so we didn’t have to worry about anything. Everyday we had to drive jut 10 minutes to the crag, making everything even more simple.

The only negative point was the skin…I split my tip on the second day, and after the first week a lot more ;)… I’ve never used so much tape before!

Babsi showed everybody once again how things work, sending pretty fast “Mind Control”and “Fish Eye” and on her second go “T1 Full Equipe” and “Humildes”…. plus many other routes. Strong girl!!!

My highlight was probably the almost on sight of “Fish Eye”, that I missed for just 2 moves…but that luckily I managed to climb later. Except for Joe Blau, one of the best route of the crag for me, where I needed 4 tries, the rest of my trip turned into a “2nd go” or “o.s.” -trip…which is not so bad as you can climb a lot :) After the first 10 days I finished the “classics” of the crag  (Joe Blau, Mind Control, Fish eye, Identificacion y places, Paper mullat, El gran blau, Gorillas en la niebla, China Crisis, T1 Full Equipe, La Marroncita, Picos Pardos, Oh mon Dieu, Happy Hour, Mishi,…) and I had a look on some harder lines that I would like to try the next time: it’s always good to leave some unfinished business… it’s a reason to come back!

Anyways the trip was great, I enjoyed it a lot. It’s good sometimes to climb without anything specific in the mind, it “charges” your battery again, and you can enjoy a different aspect of climbing.

Now we are back home, as we have some work to do, but we are flying to Utah within a week. I can’t wait to jam my fingers in some splitters again..I’m sure it will be hard and painful, but awesome :)

Life is sweet!

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.