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Photo by Andrea Gallo

Photo by Andrea Gallo
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Gabriele Moroni 8c+ hattrick

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Gabriele Moroni repeats SS 26 8c+/9a (Gressoney), Shangri-la 8c+ (Frankenjura) and Zauberfee 8c+ (Arco).

If the name Gabriele Moroni means little at the moment, take heed. Not content with dominating the Italian Bouldering Cup, placing second in the Italian Lead and placing third in the Italian Championships, this young climber has now spent an impressive fortnight during which he sent three superb extremes: Shangri-la in the Frankenjura, Zauberfee in Arco and SS 26 at Gressoney If these names mean little, consider that the first two of these are confirmed 8c+, while SS26 now settles down at 8c+/9a after Gabriele's second ascent.

Gabriele needed over twenty attempts to secure the first repeat SS26, the 40m completely natural masterpiece first climbed by Alberto Gnerro in August 2006. He then travelled north to dispatch Shangri-la (Guido Köstermeyer, 1995) in an afternoon after having checked out the line briefly earlier this year. Similar story for Zauberfee (Christian Bindhammer, 05/2003), which he sent (together with evergreen Cristian Brenna) on his second day after a reccie a few years back. For those who, like us, consider 8c+ out of this world, check out this extract from Gabriele's vertical diary.
 
SS 26 8c+/9a Gressoney - 11/10/07
It's really cold today and the Patagonian wind is whispering "Today is the day"...  infact today is the last day of the year for this route before the season turns cold! Talk about pressure!
I warm up on the classic sevenb and rest belaying my partner Ugo. My fingers are still warm so I set off and climb fluidly up the first fingery section which also happens to be the hardest. I rest well, continue up the stamina section and reach the height of the Lucky Man lower off and I feel good. Up over the roof I go and here I am again at the rest prior to the final moves! I surely can't make a mistake now. I hear Ugo cheering me on... up I climb and I quickly reach the crux: two-finger pocket for my right hand, pinch left, right foot up high then a reach to the jug...!!! I scream and scream again to discharge and I clip the chain still screaming! Finally this 40 meter nightmare has come to an end and I finish off the day belaying in a trance... Yeah today was the day!
SS26 is definitely the route which demanded most off me, both physically (more than 20 attempts in total) and psychologically (I fell 6 or 7 times in exactly the same point after 35m of 8c climbing) so I think that the grade is close to my current limit but nevertheless I feel it's slightly  easier than 9a but definitely 8c+ that's why I propose the "Slashgrade" 8c+/9a!  I'd also like to mention that my methods were different from those used by Alberto Gnerro during his first ascent and I reckon they're slightly easier. We'll wait and see what other repeaters have to say.

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