An appointment with a story. Reffo climbs Noia

The crag of Andonno is one of the most famous in Italy for various reasons. Definitely one of these reasons is that it is home to two important records: it is here that the first Italian 8c+ was put up and also the first Italian 9b, respectively Noia and Lapsus.

The story we want to recount to you today is about Noia. Nearly everyone knows that it is a legendary route that was put up on the 14th of February 1993 through the intuition of Seve (Severino Scassa) that with a traverse half way up the route links up Noi (the 8b+ freed by Gallo) to Cobra (an 8b).

Noia is considered the most famous 8c+ in Italy. Maybe it is because it is a route that way back in 1993 raised “the bar” of the grade

that was still missing in Italy. Maybe it is because the crag boasts nearly 300 routes and hundreds of climbers over the course of the winter season will visit the crag. It might just be because over the years it has carved itself out a place in the ranks with the classics or simply because it has managed to keep intact a charm and a respect that climbers are required to comply with if they want to climb there.

Even Silvio, with his head down, managed to keep the same respect that before him many of the big names have had such as Cristian Brenna, Christian and Andreas Bindhammer, Axel Franco, Yuji Hirayama, Rikardo Otegi, Josune Bereciartu, Alberto Gnerro, Patxi Usobiaga, Adam Ondra, Matteo Gambaro, Fabrizio Droetto, Stefano Ghisolfi and many other strong climbers down to the young Francesco Bosco from Cuneo who realized his dream on the day before Silvio.

And so here we are, in front of this magnificent limestone wall that even pleases the eye chromatically. The day is perfect, the temperature is not too cold, that temperature that becomes pleasant when the sun rises to the highest point. Silvio has already paid this place a visit about a month ago; he had a couple of tries on the route and then decided to postpone the appointment with the chain to a later date, still unaware that the appointment is set for today. So, upon arrival, as a warm-up, he did a lap on the route, from bolt to bolt to clean the holds and once again study the moves, he takes his time on the route and then says “take” and continues to hang on the rope up there staring at the wall. He then comes back down and starts talking as if he had not really planned on going to that particular appointment today. The beauty of the crag of Andonno is that sooner or later someone arrives that you know. On a sunny Sunday in November like that of today it is basically impossible to not meet climbers that come to try the route Noi, it is the starting point for the dreams of many of them.

The second try came after half an hour, Silvio waits patiently while some of his friends and unknown climbers try the route and even his teammate Giorgia Tesio from team CT is trying the route Noi today. On Silvio’s second try he falls after the traverse, on the cross through he loses his feet and falls. The feelings are good but it is hard to trust your feet when there really isn’t much for them.

Silvio has become a lot quieter, he talks with the others about the sequence on the traverse and then he withdraws himself to his own thoughts. Every so often, he eats a Plasmon biscuit and then goes back to staring at the wall. A couple of hours have passed since the sun passed its zenith when, after giving Giorgia a belay during a good attempt of hers, Silvio asks a guy: “Are you going to try it now?” Upon receiving an affirmative answer, Silvio gets in the queue: “So after you I will go”.

Noia is a technical route, where if you put one foot wrong you fall off the route. It is a route that requires resistance and has little rests, there are just two moments to shake off if you are able to exploit the rest positions. The fact is that without much effort nor much need to shake off, Silvio climbs it all in one go. He draws a line with his orange rope that in the first part rises vertically from the ground and then moves to the right and then again straight up with a rockover that from below almost hides the chain. He arrives at the chain and simply says “take”. However, that simple word is full of all the joy of finishing off a challenge that was not just a personal one. There is all the satisfaction of having reached the appointment with the story right on schedule, he is now also aware that he can calmly manage more demanding projects. However, in some ways, climbing Noia was dutiful.

With the humility and the privacy that characterizes him, he shakes a lot of hands of both colleagues and climbers that compliment him and then without waiting even a moment he is ready to help Georgia by giving her a belay and some advice on her route Noi. The passing of the baton was quick and unexpected and now it is up to Giorgia to make good use of it.

Paola Bergamelli

Ph and Video : Alberto Orlandi

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