April 25, 2021
If you started climbing after the age of 20, you probably know the feeling of absurd happiness when finishing your first routes at the gym – those routes which the competitive kids don’t even bother to do for their warm ups, and which elderly mountaineers stroll up with ease.
There you are, with your forearms perpetually burning. You climb like you dream of becoming the new Alex Megos, but you lost your best years to other sports. On the one hand, you get that burning passion, the need to improve yourself, to conquer the rock; on the other hand, you are aware that this effort will (probably) not make you a professional climber. This is us: the Brocchi.
We grew up on concrete pitches, playing football or basketball. We started climbing late in life, some inspired by a love of the mountains, others dragged to the gym by friends.
We met in a gym that no longer exists, where we discovered a sport where competing with others makes no sense: climbing a route does not prevent someone else from doing the same, and failure, well...climbing is 99% defeat.
99% of the times climbing is defeat. Davide Borgogno, one of the Brocchi sui Blocchi team members, taking a huge whip on his project in La Maddalena A.K.A. "La Madda", an historical crag located in the outskirts of Brescia © Roberto Mor
There is however one aspect of climbing that we had not foreseen: even though it may be an individual sport, experiencing it together lessens the effort, eases the pain of defeat and increases the joy of success.
Friendship is what really made us fall in love with climbing: traveling together, telling stories, catching up at the crag, growing through others, learning, sharing, comparing notes. This is Brocchi Sui Blocchi.
While on trips, amidst the laughter and messing around, we listened, learned, discussed and debated what this sport meant to us. We discovered that climbing isn’t just about tackling the rock, it is first and foremost a journey made up of a cursed sloper, seemingly unreachable chain and ice-cold beer; but above all it is a journey of discovery.
In this fantastic journey, there is no single solution, each climber travels as they prefer, our only mantra is:
“To be respectful, of history, of the environment and of other people”
- perhaps even in the broader sense of loving them.
Loving the environment means leaving no trace, be it cigarette butts, banana peels, pieces of tape - in other words I leave the place as I found it and take everything that I brought to the crag home with me. I live nature, I love it, I respect and defend it, because we don’t just love doing the sport, but the place we practice it in.
Respecting people means respecting them regardless of sex, gender, ethnicity, religion, favourite brand of beer or even rank: we are in love with the same sport and that makes us all brothers. This means respecting our own limits as well those of others, recognizing all climbers as equals, valuing our shared passion for the sport more than any differences that may divide us. Climbing is freedom, there is no right way to experience it.
We are friends, we support gender equality, we are against dictatorships, and we are environmentalists who love to tell our stories: this is Brocchismo.
Elisa, Amedeo and Davide during one of the many events to which they take part every year in Italy © Brocchi sui Blocchi
BROCCHI SUI BLOCCHI PROJECT
Brocchi Sui Blocchi, which could be translated as ‘Washouts On Rocks’, is a social media project born on Instagram with the intention of telling the story of climbing from the perspective of the underdogs, elevating them to characters worthy of having a story to tell. With both irony and an equal degree of authenticity, Brocchi Sui Blocchi aims to put people and experiences at the heart of the story. The love for the rock, friendships, post-climbing beers - but also environmentalism and gender equality - are just some of the topics touched on in the project. Last but not least, Brocchi Sui Blocchi wants to create a community of climbers who share the same ideals, who climb for the fun of it without taking themselves too seriously.
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Words by Amedeo Cavalleri @amedeocavalleri, founder of Brocchi sui Blocchi
You can follow Brocchi sui Blocchi on their official instagram account @brocchisuiblocchi.
Cover image © Roberto Mor - Instagram @robertomorstudio
This article was originally published in the Climbing Travel Guide, available from the Mapo Tapo shop. Discover the world's 50 best off-the-beaten-track climbing destinations and the stories of their local communities.