Even if it’s early Saturday morning I can’t stay still in bed anymore. Today is climbing day: I can’t linger any longer under the warmth of the duvet! For me, climbing is above all a physical sensation: the rocks against your skin! It’s joy in its purest form – feeling the roughness of the rock under your fingertips. Then the progressive movements needed to climb: a loving dance with the wall. Every step is the search for constant and continuous balance, the least effort, the most aesthetic gesture, the place where you can find the weaknesses of the wall and climb to the top.
It’s joy in its purest form – feeling the roughness of the rock under your fingertips.
My backpack was already prepared the night before with all the necessary items: cords and karabiners for safety, then salami and a bottle of wine for the aperitif at the end of the day with friends, under the face, at sunset. I can already taste it.
The meeting with the whole gang is always at Borgo for the second breakfast of the day which, as we know well, gives us energy for the climb. The day starts off peacefully and lazily, as if waiting to gain momentum and give us its all when we’re on the face. Loitering in the streets of Finalborgo throwing curious glances into shops, the atmosphere is still sleepy and relaxed.
A cappuccino and piece of focaccia are needed at the bar to improve concentration and above all, the most demanding thing of the day, to choose the cliff to go to.
Everyone has their preference, and agreeing seems a great feat, but the cliffs of Finale offer satisfaction for all tastes and therefore, in the end, the dice is cast!
A harness, shoes and chalk… are you sure, am I ready to go? I ask my companion winking, then I’m off into the vertical world.
One step after the other, precise harmonious movements, my gaze races to find the best footholds and handholds. After the initial uncertainties, my movements become fluid. A real delight: it’s like finding oneself with an old lover and already knowing their reactions. It is all so pleasant and natural; there isn’t another rock in the world which makes me so at ease as that of Finale.
I have been climbing for 15 years. I learnt how to take ‘my first steps’ on this rock, my body and movements adapt perfectly to the ‘holes’ found on the face. I don’t want anything else. I am fulfilled and satisfied. The day passes by peacefully with friends, with healthy competition leading us to try the more difficult ‘tricks’ to see who can win. Then the arms start to become pleasantly sore and the desire for the aperitif becomes more urgent. But it takes someone with courage to be the first to throw in the towel and call for a ‘time-out’, otherwise the need for rock will lead to us climbing even after the sunset with a frontal light.
And now comes the best part: that which gives meaning to the day. The ropes and harnesses are put away and from rucksacks salami, cheeses and red wine magically appear. We cut the food with happiness, all sitting on the ground to share the drop of happiness which flows through our veins together with the nectar of the Gods. The sporting result of the day doesn’t matter anymore, if you were ‘on form’ or not. Now we’re all friends and everyone is happy. This is because the taste of a day climbing with friends is the taste of sharing, of being together with nature, of regenerating and feeling like the world and the city are…very very far away. The sun sets behind the hills and the island of Gallinara, colouring the sky red and leaving golden flashes on the sea. Even the rock lights up an enchanting pink.
I smile: I’m happy.