Tom Randall has made the first ascent of an 8a+ crack line at Cadarese, Italy, which he has named La Cadenza di Amore. The line is bolted for the first half before relying on traditional gear higher up. Tom was given a tip-off by James Pearson about an incredible unclimbed gneiss crack in the area a few years ago.
Tom told UKC:
'I've been going to Cadarese for a number of years now trying to repeat things in the area and also for new routing - it's a complete paradise for gneiss cracks and new routes. Nearly unlimited! I'd heard from James Pearson in the pub (I was talking to him about him having a go at Gondo Crack) that there was an incredible unclimbed line at Cadarese which he'd said
"could be one of the best looking unclimbed crack lines I've seen in Europe"'
Whilst on a family holiday in the area, Tom managed to negotiate some time to spend on the route with local climber and crack addict Lucas Iribarren - a contender for taking the first ascent of Tom's nemesis crack project Gondo Crack (UKC Interview). Tom described seeing the line for the first time:
'We walked up to an undeveloped part of the crag and - boom! - there it was in the trees... an absolute cracker (oh the pun) of a line. A thin crack that quarterised a big blank face - the faces on either side totally devoid of holds...it makes the aesthetics of the line so much better!'
'Then even cooler is that it's like the changing corners on The Nose - the line makes three switches in direction so that you're lay backing a micro-corner in one direction, then it changes and then changes again.'
Commenting on the combination of bolts and natural protection, Tom admitted:
'To start with, I felt a bit uneasy with the mixture (I had no idea who had bolted it as I'd asked around and no-one knew about a Cadarese project) but once we started working it, we realised why it had been done this way - it was a desperate layback and really really hard to take one hand off for two seconds, let alone ten seconds to place a tiny micro friend!'
Tom and Lucas worked the route for a day and then tried to redpoint the following day, but were thwarted by horrendous humidity and heat, resulting in a few grating falls and lost skin. Tom commented:
'It was hard to be angry though as the climbing is sensationally good. It's like an Italian version of The Quarryman in some ways - very, very technical micro-bridging, laybacking and palming etc. It's such brilliant climbing as the hand holds are quite good but the positions and feet are really precarious...it's very easy to fall off at any point!'
However, it has since emerged that the line was the project of Italian climber Fabrizio Fratagnoli, which 'makes [Tom] feel a bit guilty.'
'In this particular case I think one of the problems is that when people in an area are not prepared to say which projects do or don't exist, the visiting climbers feel a bit uninformed. It does seem to be a little bit competitive in that area (although who doesn't like a bit of competitive climbing?!) and there's been quite a few people trying Gondo, but not one of them has asked me about it...Fun times!'
Commenting on his choice of name, Tom told UKC:
'It means 'the cadence of love' - it's a reference to love and beautiful things sometimes needing a change in pace. We can't always rush things.'