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Rock climbing indoors
Photo by Massimo Malpezzi

Indoor climbing. By Massimo Malpezzi

07.03.2014 by Massimo Malpezzi

Climbing on plastic. Massimo Malpezzi's vision and portfolio.

I liked the idea of photographing climbing indoors, so aseptic, full of elusive moments, there where moves are obliged by the line of coloured holds., where the sequence has a meaning that leaves no room for interpretation. Many climb indoors thinking they're on real rock, attempting a muffled, protected performance, while others go there simply because it's so ideal to train finger strength and stamina. Others can't resist and record their indoor 7c's together with their other routes onto the the list climbs they've sent.

The history of "resin holds" is ancient, the surrogate result cities stemming from public gardens such as Porta Venezia in Milan, from the reinforced concrete wall outside the railway station at Viale Monza, and God knows how many other walls dotted across Italy.

Everyone, absolutely everyone has tried something that could make their climbing more powerful, Reinhold Messner climbed until he could do no more along the wall at the sawmill in Val di Funes, Gaston Rebuffat on the rocks at Fontainebleau, Ivan Guerrini on the red bricks of the Arena.

Nowadays the cities indoor climbing gyms offer huge spaces, their geometry often resembles biennial art exhibitions. The new Roc Spot in Milan (where I photographed Mirko, Enrico and Anne) the panoramic and superbly overhanging wall at Verona's King Rock, Bolzano's Salewa Cube with its walls that look out onto the Dolomites and the Latemar, the gritty Pareti Sport at Parma, Turin's historic Bside and Rome's Verticalpark are all examples of how it has become possible to bring the mountains to cities.

One thing is certain, it's fun. Often dangerously so because at the end the plastic climbing tempts you to continue this convenient form of climbing. But then, outdoors on rock, it's a completely different ball game.

by Massimo Mapezzi

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