Marzio Nardi reports about Rock Slave XP 2015, the climbing trip to Castelmezzano and Pietrapertosa and the Lucane Dolomites in Basilicata, Souther Italy. A journey inspired by the famous book “Mezzogiorno di pietra” published in 1985 by Alessandro Gogna.

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Utopia and passion often go hand in hand and this XP trip was the opportunity to lead them to the altar while risking a marriage by proxy. And so, with my shepherd’s staff turned into drill, I loaded my apostles into two Fiat Dobl˜ and told them that kingdom come lay exactly 1013 km further south.

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If the euphoria of a week’s holiday could sweetened such a long journey, it certainly didn’t suffice to justify going to all those lengths and my apostles, who soon turned into conquistadors, were eager to lay their hands on some southern gold. Too bad that not even I knew where the gold lay, but nevertheless I was certain we’d find it somewhere. Maybe.

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“Basilicata stray rocks” started like this, walking the wire which attached to my memories on the one side, and to a bet on the other. In the middle there were 9 youngsters, motivated by their love for climbing and willing to run. Running is about fatigue and discouragement. Running is all about the taste of blood in your mouth, of side stitches, in short, running sucks unless you do it regularly, if you don’t train your body to withstand the pain. But it’s then that running transforms into something necessary.

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You feel the need to run and it makes no difference whether it’s cold outside, dark or raining. That effort puts you in harmony with the elements and what was once toxic now transforms into oxygen. And, similarly and with the same inexplicable magic, what was hard work turns into smiles as Basilicata ceased being a utopia and transformed into a film. One of those American movies. Those about football or baseball teams, where players hate their coach who is an asshole and who makes them do crazy things just because he can’t. And who wants to win the championship because his girlfriend just left him and he doesn’t know who else to vent his anger on… But then they win the championship and hug at sunset with the entire stadium chanting the American national anthem.

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And just like in those movies, at some point the blurry outline began to take shape, according by its own logic. Dictated by a desire that, if you want something, leads you do everything you need to get it. Above all when it’s as simple as climbing (and I’m not talking about the grades). And so it was that, with bolts indicating lines, quickdraw insitu, holds brushed and marked, imagination left its mark on the rock and the moves flowed, like words in speech that explains just how often you’re willing to risk failure. If what is at stake, if what you cling to are these surroundings. And so, in short… We believe in Basilicata.

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Once again I have to thank my team for not having thrown to the wolves.
Special thanks to Adriano Trombetta for having transformed by ideas into something logic, to be able to give a logic to my ideas, to Federico Ravassard for managing to transform into a picture what words cannot say, and Lorenzo Bona for his patience and for what he’ll manage to recount in the video that follows these words.
Other thanks: Alessandro Gogna for the foresight, Michele e Antonio from Il Molino della Contessa for their hospitality, Lorenzo Palazzo from the Castelmezzano town council for his enthusiasm.
Ah, and even if he’s not going to read it, I would like to thank Rocco Papaleo for his opening words in the film “Basilicata coast to coast”

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