Relay interview Robinsson vs Caminati


13 March 2007

Paul Robinson asks...
Michele Caminati answers
Martina Cufar - Natalija Gros - David Graham - Joe Kinder - Paul Robinson -

Relay interview Paul Robinson vs. Michele Caminati
Can you tell us about climbing in ?

Well, I think it’s just… climbing! Like in any other part of the world, trying to get best fun out of it; and I do. The climbing community in is not so big, and you feel sometimes like being part of a big family. In comps, events or even when you go climbing on rock you often meet the same people coming from all over the country. But I cannot tell everything about climbing in as I do only boulder in a country full of beautiful crags and I certainly miss a lot…

Your favorite places in ? What makes these areas your favorite?

First of all , it’s like my second home. I started climbing there when I was 16 (It’s 6 years up to now) and I usually go there at least twice a year, as soon as I manage to have a two weeks holiday. There I can find almost everything I’m searching in climbing at the moment: huge, rounded balls of fine sandstone surrounded by a very peaceful ambience. It’s amazing the variety of shapes, holds and styles you can find there, and I like that you have to climb with the whole body, stick on the rock using every single muscle. It is actually quite tiring!! I do like also Swiss granite and it’s tiny crimps, it helped me a lot in getting stronger over the last two years giving me lots of projects, motivation and more finger strength. One of my favourite places is Magic Wood, because there I feel in touch with nature and it helps me recover from everyday urban life. Beside that I didn’t travel much; I’m sure I haven’t seen a lot of beautiful areas which I would like, for example Albarracin in Spain or British “gritstone” (I just climbed in Stanage two days and had a very positive feeling). 

Have you ever climbed in ? If yes, where?  How does North America compare to in problems and people?

I can’t say much, I only went to Hueco Tanks for 20 days two years ago and it has been an amazing experience. First of all I liked the fact everything looked so different from usual European landscape and lifestyle, the really first days it seemed like living inside a movie. Coming to the problems… could they be bad ??! Not really technical but surely among the best I’ve ever seen in that kind of style, on granite is difficult to find such holds on steep overhang. People looked to me really friendly, excited and helpful; not so individualists as sometimes we are here in . There was a good ambience at the Rock Ranch, with people joking all together next to the fire sharing their climbing experiences of the day. You felt part of a community: for example in Europe it’s usually harder to find people that stop to spot and incite you no matter what you’re climbing on V0 or V14…


How would you describe a perfect day of climbing?

Wake up at 8 am, clear, fresh and windy outside. A big coffee with lots of bread, butter and jam (an hour for digestion!) and straight under a wonderful hard problem I’ve tried for a long time. Little warm up and then of course send it! (If it has to be a “perfect” day…) Then climbing the whole afternoon with friends on -no matter what difficulty- but new, high and amazing blocs, till no skin remains. In the evening a big barbecue all together with every kind of meat, vegetables and a super Belgian ale to celebrate the day!

Can you share with us a funny experience in your life?

Don’t know if it is really funny but once, when I was only 3, we were waiting in a queue due to a public feast just outside a small village in when I suddenly decided to jump off the car to start running down the streets. It happened that a car ran over me and when my mother saw my arm sticking out behind the wheel nearly fainted. I don’t remember anything of the episode, but I was told that the day after I recovered from hospital I was actually quite happy and proud of what happened and I kept telling everybody pointing at my wounds: “Look, a car run over me!”. I was really excited.

I notice that you do not have any routes listed on 8A.  Do you have a preference for bouldering? And why?

Here are many reasons: the first is that bouldering gives me much more than rope climbing because I like to go beyond my limits, to manage to do a move the month before I just couldn’t, and moves on a route are generally much easier; I like trying and trying till I achieve perfect balance or sensations and I find it complicated doing it tied to the rope, I always end up hanging somewhere and pulling the rope to return in position… Then there is an aesthetical aspect: I like clean, solid, smooth rock with barely no holds, not one more than you need to pass; I like rounded lines and mantles, and don’t want even to think about chipped and painful pockets. But I know there is full of beautiful routes I would really enjoy; the fact is that I often don’t find any climbing partner to go with. My friends usually don’t climb on the same things I try and it’s much easier to move the pads a few meters away than having to set up two different routes! At least I can always do boulder alone, and sometimes it can be quite relaxing.

Do you have a favorite type of boulder problem?  Are you working on any projects and what can you tell us about them?

I like most slightly overhanging prows with slopers, heelhooks, and anything that makes you work in compression, but usually every kind of pure and clean line makes me crazy… if I just see some pictures or a movie of such a line it becomes immediately a new project in my mental tick-list. I’m not a great fan of pure roofs, as the variety of moves is usually quite limited, but sometimes they can be fun. I’m working on a lot of projects, as when I visit a new boulder area I usually try all the lines that inspire me, so I have my projects in Magic Wood, in Chironico, Bleau, Val Di Mello, Hueco… in almost every place I visited I have something to send. This year I’ve tried a lot Dreamtime in Cresciano, which is one of the best lines I’ve ever seen and is really a personal “dream”, but the weather has been awful (i.e. too much sunshine and hot!) and I’m starting to get tired of falling every time because I’m sweating… never mind, next winter I’ll be super motivated again!

I like to brush and open new boulders too and of course I have some beautiful projects near my home, it’s even more satisfactory to open a new line where no one did know how to pass and even if it was possible; after it becomes like a part of you.

Do you like to compete in competitions? Please explain why you do or do not like competing?

Competing is really strange to me. I find it really motivating, but I know I’m not born for competitions, I’m usually too agitated, not nervous, but I’ can’t convey all my emotions in the right way, I’m not able to give the best of me under pressure… so I start making easy mistakes of reading and so on. But it doesn’t mean I cannot improve! It’s just another aspect of climbing, the one that makes it really a “sport”, a competing event, otherwise it looks more to me like a “way of life”. There could not be a really objective ranking in outside climbing; there are only people who have or haven’t done a specific problem, who did or didn’t open great lines, and of course who have or have not the time and possibility to travel and climb. Keeping that in mind maybe would solve a lot of arguing about grading and performances. For sure competing is motivating to me, but if I had to do only that, I know I would give up climbing sooner or later. On the other hand I’d be quite happy if I could travel and climb all the time, but could not take part in any competition.

Who are your climbing partners and how do they motivate you to send?

There are not many climbers near the town where I live and just a few of them are true boulder lovers. My friends usually are about 30 years old or more, they work all the day and many of them are married with children… no one has all the spare time I do as a student, and usually we manage to meet and climb only during the weekend in our local areas which we develop thanks to our passion. It’s funny that actually both my parents do climb (they started years after me!!) and we share the same friends, so I can say my motivation comes from this little ambience, but I usually have to travel alone. Fortunately while travelling I got to know a lot of strong and passionate climbers and I’ve become friend to many of them despite the distance. It’s always a pleasure if it happens that we meet somewhere to climb together, being it a competition, a meeting or better a vacation.

Training. Can you tell us about your training and why you are so strong?

I try to keep my training various in order to enjoy it more and… I climb a lot! Usually I alternate indoor bouldering, campus board and a few weights to rock climbing, best if on different kinds of rock, in order to change holds and sensations. I always do some stretching and try to listen to my body to decide whether I need more training or just resting, that’s the real question! (Don’t know why but I tend to consider mainly the first option…)

Why do you keep an scorecard? I have noticed that in the that has become very controversial in grading and people challenging sends and grades, is this the same in ?

There are different ways to look at I use and like it mainly for three reasons: it has become one of the best sources for news and articles over the internet, it is a useful database where I can keep trace of all my ascents, and most important of all is the fact that through it I can contact other climbers, ask them about their climbing activity and let everybody know about mine. For example you can askgive betas or just information about a problem you don’t know or that you opened for the first time. It can be even a way to arrive at the only reasonable definition of the “grade” of a problem: the average among the opinions of repeaters, and not the dictate of a single person; just let know what you think and time will decide. I’m quite tired of wild over grading or downgrading, grading is not mathematics. I think that there is even a bad way to use the ranking is ok if it is used just for fun but must not be emphasized too much or become a purely promotional aspect. That would increase arguing even more and I think we have something better to talk about. There can be no real ranking, if you want it look at competitions, otherwise just climb, have fun, and maybe promote your own activity if you think it will help others to feel as good as you felt. The best climber is always the one who enjoys it more, isn’t it?

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