Text: Maddy Cope
Cadarese is a small Italian village surrounded by farmland. A river flows through the valley and the hum of the hydroelectric plant and thunderous booming of the quarries makes it an unlikely climbing destination - natural beauty meets industry. Hidden amongst the trees lie beautiful granite crags.
I first visited Cadarese five years ago. Granite was a new rock type for me and crack climbing a new style. It felt like learning to climb again. Despite struggling, I fell in love with this style and was motivated to learn so that I could climb the amazing lines granite creates. The Doors in particular stood out.
The Doors follows a beautiful curving crack. The climbing is diverse; pumpy jamming and lay backing leads to a powerful boulder crux transferring between cracks, after which the angle eases and the climbing becomes more technical, ending with a sting in the tale. The final move requires full commitment to throw to a finishing jug.
It has a controversial history. The route was initially bolted, but had the bolts chopped, and was originally graded 8b, though now has settled around 8a. The route is completely protectable by gear and it is a good challenge to climb it in this way - it adds another dimension to the process and it is a greater mental challenge to be looking up at rock, with no protection or bolt to aim for.
"The route adds another dimension to the process and it is a greater mental challenge to be looking up at rock, with no protection or bolt to aim for."
On my first try I fell just before the crux, worked the boulder in the middle, but then struggled with the last move. I fell here a lot before making it to the chains, feeling a bit disheartened! I had my heart set on doing this route and it had been physically and mentally to simply reach the top. However, after a rest day I felt like I had digested the information and was excited to have a go, rather than nervous. I was happy to climb the route on my first go, enjoying the flow the route offers and the focus that comes when you climb in the moment, not thinking about the moves to come, the moves below, or the potential of falling.
The Doors had been a dream line for me, and having climbed it quicker than I expected I wanted another challenge - granite climbing has always been about learning and I was ready for another lesson. Bookcake is the ultimate test piece. First climbed by Nico Favresse, the overhanging, flared, chimney is graded 7c+, but feels ungradable as it's so far from normal climbing. There are no holds - you have to use your whole body to push outwards rather than pull. Towards the top the groove becomes too narrow to chimney and you are forced out, using knee bars and the edge of the groove to shuffle upwards. No climbing gym, or finger boarding can prepare you for this. You have to spend time on the rock and I like this approach. This style of climbing is not about getting stronger or fitter to do moves, but learning the unique ways in which you can use body position in climbing.
Cadarese favourites: Crack a go go (7a), C'era una volta (7b+), Mustang (8a), Signorina Fottemberg (7a+/b), Bookcake (7c+), The Doors (8a+), Sdulferando (7a+).
Mammut essentials: Being able to use flexibility, whilst being protected from grazes is essential for funky granite climbing (and preventing scars!). The Alnasca pants and cotton t-shirts are the perfect combination!