Hot! Italsider

Climbing in Finale is much different than Arizona. There are so many routes and potential routes on the rocks that border the many coastal valleys that a new guidebook is published every few years. The latest, with its mod cover, just came out and is in everyone’s hands on this tourist weekend. Several of my climbing friends are mentioned in the acknowledgements and I climb with one of them.

Heinz is a good climbing partner to have. He doesn’t consider himself a “Finalese” – a local who knows all the small trails and paths to the climbing walls – but he’s pretty close. Of course, he could also be a secret agent. Heinz is Swiss, has spent more than 20 years traveling and immersing himself in the countries he visits, and he has a certain knack for languages.

Because it is an easy drive from so many countries, with so much great rock, Finale is an international climbing destination. On this day we head to the Italsider wall in the Cornei valley and hear French, German, Italian and my English. Heinz is fluent in each of these tongues plus the unrepresented Spanish. He coaches me in Italian phrases and my awkward pronunciation. He laughs when I ask him repeat a word several times because I cannot remember it after 10 minutes.

For him, he picks up languages by listening. I am a writer, I explain. I need to see a word to remember and pronounce it.

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