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Cristian Brenna repeats 'The Big Mother' 8c+


The Italian Cristian Brenna makes the first repeat of Luca Zardini’s 'The Big Mother' 8c+ at Erto, Italy.

The Italian Cristian Brenna has made the first repeat of one of Italy’s hardest routes, 'The Big Mother', at Erto on Tuesday. First climbed by Luca Zardini last summer, it combines "The Last Way" (8c/c+) with "Mocio" (8b).

Originally 'The Big Mother' had been graded 8c+/9a but Brenna, who repeated the route after only 8 attempts (three on Tuesday and five in October), believes it to merit 8c+. This is his seventh 8c+ to date.

This is what Brenna had to say about his ascent:

Cristian Brenna on 'The Big Mother' in October
photo by Roberto Fioravanti

       So I was convinced I wouldn’t be able to try it! I had come to Erto on purpose, but the upper section of 'The Big Mother' was wet and it really didn’t look as if today was going to be the day. But then, an hour and a half later, everything changed: the top section had stopped seeping and was dry.

On my first go to check out the moves again I realised immediately I was feeling strong! Conditions were good, too – dry with fantastic friction. The upper "Mocio" section was a bit damp so I dried some of the holds with my toothbrush and chalk.

After a 30-minute rest I set off on my first attempt and failed three moves beneath the lip of the roof. This is the hardest section for me since the route then becomes more technical and pumpy, and I’m O.K. on that sort of climbing.

I decided to lower off and give it another go, but the days are short at the moment, the sun set and it got freezing. And on this route it’s important to have warm fingers! So after just five minutes I was forced to set off again and, even though I hadn’t completely recovered, I climbed through the hardest section. But when I reached the only rest on the route I failed to recover – so I continued, and after an epic fight I reached the chain – forearms like lead (or marble, as one says here in Italy).

'The Big Mother' is a beautiful route and I’m really pleased to have climbed it since it’s really complete and you have to use all the techniques you have. I feel it’s an 8c+, comparable to "Noia", "La connexion" or "L'avaro".

Cristian Brenna

Luca Zardini frees 'The Big Mother'

Read PlanetMountain.com’s interview with Cristian Brenna





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