Laura Rogora, the Pure Dreaming Plus 9a+ interview
Interview with Laura Rogora who redpointed Pure Dreaming Plus at Massone close to Arco, Italy and became the first Italian woman to climb 9a+.
Four years after becoming the first Italian woman to redpoint 9a, on Saturday 30 June Laura Rogora wrote a new chapter in the history of Italian sports climbing when she became the first Italian woman to climb 9a+. The 19-year-old did so by sending Pure Dreaming Plus a huge outing freed by Adam Ondra at the Pueblo sector of Massone in Arco, which climbs the first part Underground before continuing up Pure Dreaming, a 9a she had climbed the week beforehand. This cutting-edge performance places her at the apex of female climbing, alongside only four other women who climbed this hard: Margo Hayes (02/2017), Anak Verhoeven (09/2017), Angela Eiter (10/2017) and Julia Chanourdie (03/2020).
Laura, congratulations! 9a+, amazing! Only the other day, after repeating Pure Dreaming, you mentioned that the time had come to start to dream bigger.
Yes, I’ve been wanting to raise my game for a while, I’d sent some 9a’s in less than 10 attempts so I knew all I needed was to find the right climb and also enough time. And that time came when I least expected it; this year the plan was to devote all my time to training for the Olympics and not climb outdoors at all. But instead, with Tokyo 2020 being postponed to summer 2021 and the cancellation of the entire competition season, I realised I’d have to find a different way to keep motivated. And this seemed just the right way.
Now you’re 19. When you were 14 you became the first Italian woman to climb 9a, with your redpoint of Grandi Gesti at Sperlonga. Much has changed in the last 5 years ...
Indeed, a lot has changed. Since I started taking part in the World Cup circuit I’ve had far less time to climb outdoors. I’ve focused on competitions, done much more training during the week, at the cost of sacrificing weekends at the crags. The real turning point came last year: in July I finished school, moved to Trento and joined the Fiamme Oro sport section of the Italian police force, which has enabled me to transform my love for this sport into a job and dedicate myself completely to climbing and training.
Did you have the Plus extension in mind? And did you think you’d send it so quickly?
Yes, I was already planning on trying the Plus start. Actually, I’d already tried the boulder below and I could do all the moves, but it felt hard and truth be told I didn’t reckon that two days would suffice for the send.
The Plus version adds 40 extremely overhanging moves to the start.
The hard boulder section is more or less at half-height, before and after that the moves are pretty burly but not too hard. The crux moves are quite strange and there are several ways of doing it: some use heel hook, others jam their knee… my beta involved inverting hands on the hold, somewhat unusual, but it worked!
A mere 2 further days to send your first 9a+
I honestly didn’t believe I’d be so quick, also because I failed to do the crux on the first day, and from there I fell off the top moves of Pure Dreaming. I felt tired the next day so I just thought I’d climb it to mechanise the moves so that I’d be ready for a serious attempt after a rest day. When I set off though I felt better and when I got passed the boulder crux I battled it out to the very end.
Apart from hard repeats, you’ve also made the first ascent of some hard climbs, in particular close to Rome.
There weren’t that many hard climbs around Rome but fortunately, especially in recent years, new crags with a great potential were developed and many new projects were bolted. After repeating all the existing routes, the most logical step was to try some projects. Fortunately, those who bolted them were always happy for me to try them, and some even took the time to show me their projects. I freed some lines, others are still there waiting for a first ascent.
You mentioned it before, at the moment your climbing a lot outdoors due to competitions being cancelled. When will you start training indoors again? Tokyo 2020 awaits next summer…
Actually, I started training indoors a few weeks ago. Climbing outdoors is really important for certain aspects, but I’ve got keep training on plastic to avoid wasting away these months of training and to try to make the most of Olympics being postponed. Doing well in Tokyo is my main goal.
Links: FB Laura Rogora, Instagram Laura Rogora, Camp, Wild Climb
Laura Rogora outdoors
12/2014 Ciccio Formaggio 8c Grotta dell’Aerenauta Sperlonga, repeat. Her first 8c aged 13.
04/2015 Il Corvo 8c, Ferentillo, repeat
02/2016 Grandi Gesti, 9a Sperlonga, repeat
08/2016 Wallstreet 8c Frankenjura, Germany, repeat
11/2016 Tomorrowland extension 8c+/9a, Cueva di Collepardo, first ascent
12/2016 Supercrack 8b+/8c, Cueva di Collepardo, first ascent
01/2017 Joe Blau 8c+, Oliana, Spain, repeat
01/2017 La Gasparata, 8c+/9a, Cueva di Collepardo, first ascent
02/2017 Joe-cita 9a, Oliana, repeat
03/2017 Ercole 8c/+, Cueva di Collepardo, first ascent
12/2017 It segid narg 8c+, Grotta dell'Arenauta Sperlonga, first ascent
04/2018 Sitting Bull 8c+/9a, Cueva di Collepardo, first ascent
01/2019 Esclatamasters 9a, Perles, Spain, repeat
06/2019 Rèveille-toi, 9a, Cueva di Collepardo, first ascent
12/2019 Pal Norte 8c+/9a, Margalef, repeat
01/2020 La Bongada 9a, Margalef, repeat
01/2020 L-mens 8b+ Montsant, onsight
03/2020 Corvo Morto 8c+/9a Ferentillo, first ascent
05/2020 Riflessi and Terra Piatta, 8c, Monte Colt, both second go
05/2020 Pure Dreaming, 9a, Massone, Arco, 9 attempts
05/2020 Pure Dreaming Plus, 9a+, Massone, Arco, first Italian woman to climb 9a+
06/2020 Underground, 9a, Massone, Arco, first female ascent