For your weekend Psyche, a cool vid featuring new schooler, Jakob Shubert, belayed by an old schooler on one of his proudest lines. Cutting edge when it was established, Andrea Gallo’s Hyaena was one of the first 5.14s in the world. In this new series from Mammut, all using the same plot, young guns will take aim at iconic classics from a bygone era. As one who’s old enough to be around for the actual first ascents of these routes, it’s great to see the new generation wrestle with them. Like any sport, climbing has evolved. A lot. Most of us still wonder about those old routes, that often took years to do and were so far ahead of their time they become mythical. Enhanced by lack of video, generally only known through photos, these climbs looked and seemed impossible, yet are all at grades today’s stars dispatch without much thought. Yet, in this vid, overall World Cup winner Shubert struggles. He does it, of course, without too much trouble, but it’s still a testament to Gallo’s vision 30 years ago. Good stuff.
A personal anecdote, since there’s always one, takes me back to Finale Ligure. I spent some time there in the early 90s, meeting Gallo. It was hard not to, since he owned the climbing shop in the walled city of Finale Borgo, which was the only shop around. He was definitely the big fish in the place. I recall my Swiss partner nodding in approval at his status, with more admiration than jealously, but a bit of the latter to be sure, “I think he has a very nice life here.”
Not up to Hyaena’s standards, I don’t remember much about the climbing, except that it was fun. What I do remember, quite clearly, is that I had the best spaghetti fruiti del mare of my life. We’d been camping for weeks, probably were starving, but rationale will never dampen the experience. It’s one of those meals that I’ll never forget. Which always seems to happen on trips to Italy. Buon appetito!