Mountains of the Mind

On our way south, i had made the suggestion that we should call in on the La Sportiva factory to arrange a visit. After all, i’d rather take half an hour out of our way, than to drive all that way only to be told “Come back tomorrow.” It turned out to be a good idea. However, after pretty much a week of solid rain, i was more than a little disappointed to wake up on the second Monday to find beautiful sunshine and glorious weather. Well, you play the cards you’re dealt i suppose.

Unfortunately, we didn’t get any photos of the factory itself, or indeed at all, as we were unsure of their policy on such things, and too concerned with our smell to ask i suppose. Anyway, the tour was fantastic, if only to those of us genuinely interested in these things, and it was fascinating to see the intricacies of making a rock boot. We followed the line through gluing the sole unit onto the leather, checking the leather for inaccuracies, and finding out that the rubber for the sole is actually put through a washing machine to remove a layer of silicon that sits on the surface! Did you know that each pair of Sportiva shoes goes through 115 pairs of hands? We ended our tour, after having seen their enormous new warehouse, with the shop, where me and Stu (probably not that sensibly) bought matching t-shirts, along with Steffi’s new shoes.

We sped back through stunning scenery, to arrive back at our dry site and hit the projects once again. More work conintued, into the darkness, making me glad i bought an enormous Black Diamond lantern before i left, which is thoroughly recommended! No actual progress, but a bit more info and i felt myself getting closer to my prize.

The next day involved a return to other projects, mainly back over the river and onto my 7a, and the spiggolo for both Steffi and Stu. Their (temporary) failure did put a little damper on my success, but they did return on the Thursday to finish the job, fair play to their perserverence! Stu, especially, deserves special mention for this one, as he continued to push and push until he could take no more. Steffi of course, hadn’t had the first session, but seemingly enjoyed the many attempts that are involved in climbing a boulder project.

After some food, we actually tried a new sector! Down in the forest, we found we were a little more sheltered, and able to crank out some more problems… evidently graded by someone else! While the 7b+ by the site seemed quite dooable, a 6c+ blatantly wasn’t. Ludicrous as this may sound, it was more like 7a+ and took me quite a lot of attempts to begin to get nowhere! This is coupled with the relatively easy climbs nearby, with rocky and dangerous landings that were again very undergraded. As the sun fell, so did my heart slightly, but once again we finished in the dark and returned home to a roaring fire.


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