23 May 2023

Francesco Berardino, 19, has done Off the Wagon sit (8C+)

Francesco Berardino, who previously has done three 8B+ and The Story of Two Worlds (8C), reports on Insta that he has sent Off the Wagon Sit (8C+) in Valle Bavona. (c) Rainer Eder

What is your climbing background?
I started climbing at the age of 12 with my dad and since then I’ve been extremely passionate about this fantastic world. 3 years ago I saw the video of Shawn[Raboutou] doing Off the Wagon and from there, it was love at first sight. I also wanted to be able to climb the same boulders as in the Mellow YouTube channel. The next day I went to Val Bavona with my dad to try it, even though I knew it was beyond my level. But that was a great starting point because I soon started doing my first 8A’s and 8B’s in Magic Wood. The real turning point happened last year when I met Giuliano Cameroni, who later became a great friend. He gave me amazing advices on how to train my fingers. Since then my climbing fully evolved and I started listening to my body and started seeing and hearing things that I couldn’t perceive before. My vision of what’s possible improved a lot and I started trying boulders with movements at the limit of what’s possible. We are talking about 9A to 9B boulders.

I started trying one of these futuristic lines in Cresciano, right next to the famous Dreamtime. It’s a fantastic line, perhaps the most beautiful I’ve seen so far. It could be 9A stand and 9B sit. The key for me is to try extremely difficult lines that seem impossible at first but after a lot of tries, they become realistic projects. This was the main advice from Giuliano: the fastest way to improve in outdoor climbing is to try moves above our limit on small holds. With specific finger training, I feel like I will be able to do every move that’s possible for my body.

Can you tell us more about the ascent?
I started trying the stand three years ago and was very close to sending it several times, then in February this year I decided to remove the wagon and start trying from below and in 3 months [15 sessions more or less] I managed to send it.

What does a normal climbing/training week look like?
Lately, when I’m at home I’m training every day to reach my maximum potential. When I go out to climb the best workout for me in a top week would be; to try very hard projects and then go back to try 8C\8C+ and feel the best grips let’s say.
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