Hot! Bite Me




The next morning was Sunday and in Italy nothing is open on Sunday except the rock. Heinz suggests a small multi pitch in an area not climbed much. We park at the agritouristica Ca’ d’Alice to pick up the trailhead and I’m instantly greeted by a small group of geese. Yes, they look cute as they come up to your car, but similar to a pack of poodles I once evaded in Phoenix, they turn ugly when you are close enough to bite.

“Show no fear,” Heinz yells as I run away. It’s too late. One nips me on the back of my calf. But no worries. It is just a flesh wound.

The trail is one of the more difficult approaches in Finale, overgrown and steep. Heinz has not been in this area before, so we check the guidebook and go too far right on our first attempt. We head back down and find what he thinks is the start. I explain the word “chossy” to him. He leads the first pitch up to the next ledge pulling down dirt, plants and a few pebbles. At the top he warns me that there are ants.

Hmm. Ants. I make the easy climb and see what the warning was about. The small ants of Finale like to bite and soon they are climbing me, finding ways up my arm and into my shirt. Eek.

I make it to the top, but we are not on the multi pitch. Heinz explores, but cannot find it. Instead, we move left and climb four very nice routes. My endurance has kicked in and I nearly flash a 6a, but once again the overhang moves at the top get me. I finish with a “run out” lead on a 5b, but the rock in this area reminds me of Groom Creek, so I have no fear about holding the moves.

Heinz congratulates me for showing no fear. I guess the geese taught me something.

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