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Nicola Vonarburg climbing at Grotta di Mezzegra
Photo by Marco Vago

Nicola Vonarburg climbs hard at Grotta di Mezzegra


At Grotta di Mezzegra in Italy, 41-year-old Swiss climber Nicola Vonarburg has repeated Vamos 8c and Vamos Concita Martinez 8b+.

In a sport where the climbers continue to get younger and the grades rise unrelentingly the news of Swiss civil engineer Nicola Vonarburg sending another 8c at the age of 41 makes a welcome change.

Vonarburg's past is intrinsically linked to alpinism and steep skiing but about five years ago there was a change in direction: after having climbed for almost 30 years -"in the beginning mainly on classic alpine routes" - he decided to leave his skis in the garage and dedicate heart and soul to pure sports climbing.

This decision resulted in redpoints such as Deus irae at Claro, Riti Tribali at Specchio del Griffone and also the first ascent of K19 at Chironico, three solid 8c's that are now joined by Vamos, the 8c freed by Simone Pedeferri at Grotta di Mezzegra and marked by a hard boulder finish. While visiting this impressive cave above Lake Como, Vonarburg also repeated the combination Vamos Concita Martinez, a route that offers "almost 60 steeply overhanging moves, not my usual 4 tiny crimps on a slab."

Vonarburg's conversion to sport climbing, we're certain, isn't total because his roots are firmly set in mountaineering and ski mountaineering, and this explains why he is a member of the climbing clubs Scoiattoli dei Denti Della Vecchia and Aquile di Sotaregn. Climbs up in the mountains, such as at Wenden, will remain in his repertoire, as will some great steep descent when the snow conditions are just right. In the meantime though, Vonarburg has bought his first training board to "try to remain on the ball. Or rather, keep stuck to the wall."





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