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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

 

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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!