Month: August 2019

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Thankfully, we are within sight of the end of the fiftieth anniversaries of things that happened in the nineteen-sixties. What’s left is mostly stuff that no one wants to remember: the Days of Rage, Nixon’s Silent Majority speech, the death of Jack Kerouac, and Altamont—although these will probably not pass entirely without mention.

One reason to feel glad to be nearly done with this round of fiftieths is that we will no longer be subjected, constantly, to generalizations about the baby-boom generation. There are many canards about that generation, but the most persistent is that the boomers were central to the social and cultural events of the nineteen-sixties. Apart from being alive, baby boomers had almost nothing to do with the nineteen-sixties.

The math is not that hard. The boom began in July, 1946, when live births in the United States jumped to two hundred and eighty-six thousand, and it did not end until December, 1964, when three hundred and thirty-one thousand babies were born. That’s eighteen years and approximately seventy-six million people. It does not make a lot of sense to try to generalize about seventy-six million people. The expectations and potential life paths of Americans born in 1946 were completely different from the expectations and life paths of Americans born in 1964. One cohort entered the workforce in a growing economy, the other in a recession. One cohort had Elvis Presley to look forward to; the other had him to look back on. Male forty-sixers had to register for the draft, something people born in 1964 never had to worry about.

The boomers get tied to the sixties because they are assumed to have created a culture of liberal permissiveness, and because they were utopians—political idealists, social activists, counterculturalists. In fact, it is almost impossible to name a single person born after 1945 who played any kind of role in the civil-rights movement, Students for a Democratic Society, the New Left, the antiwar movement, or the Black Panthers during the nineteen-sixties. Those movements were all started by older, usually much older, people.

The baby boomers obviously played no substantive role in the passage of the Civil Rights Act or the Voting Rights Act, or in the decisions of the Warren Court, which are the most important political accomplishments of the decade. Nor were they responsible for the women’s movement or gay liberation. Betty Friedan was born in 1921, Gloria Steinem in 1934. The person conventionally credited with setting off the Stonewall riots, Stormé DeLarverie, was born in 1920.

Even the younger activists in the civil-rights movement were not boomers. John Lewis was born in 1940, Diane Nash in 1938, Bob Moses in 1935. The three activists who were killed during Freedom Summer in Mississippi, in 1964, were all born before 1945. Stokely Carmichael was born in 1941 (in Trinidad and Tobago), Bobby Seale in 1936, Huey Newton in 1942. Malcolm X was born in 1925, four years before Martin Luther King, Jr.

Mario Savio, the de-facto leader of the Berkeley Free Speech Movement, was born before 1945. Tom Hayden, Jerry Rubin, and Abbie Hoffman were all born before 1940. Dennis Hopper, who directed “Easy Rider,” was born in 1936; Mike Nichols, who directed “The Graduate,” was born in 1931 (in Berlin); and Arthur Penn, who directed “Bonnie and Clyde,” was born in 1922.

Virtually every prominent writer and artist in the nineteen-sixties was born before 1940. Allen Ginsberg, James Baldwin, Truman Capote, Flannery O’Connor, Norman Mailer, and Andy Warhol were born in the nineteen-twenties, Carolee Schneemann, Yvonne Rainer, Sylvia Plath, Philip Roth, Amiri Baraka, Ken Kesey, Donald Barthelme, and Tom Wolfe in the nineteen-thirties, as were James Rado and Gerome Ragni, co-authors of the musical “Hair.” The chief promoter of rock and roll, Bill Graham, was born in 1931 (in Berlin). The chief proselytizer for psychedelic drugs, Timothy Leary, was born in 1920. Even Michael Lang, the original Woodstock promoter who can’t seem to quit, was born in 1944. Dr. Seuss was born in 1904.

Almost none of the musicians who were popular during that era were boomers. Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, Jerry Garcia, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison, Sly Stone, Frank Zappa, Otis Redding, Lou Reed, Diana Ross, and Paul Simon were all born before 1945. O.K., Stevie Wonder was born in 1950, and Janis Ian was born in 1951. But everyone used to say, “They’re so young!”

Although the boomers may not have contributed much to the social and cultural changes of the nineteen-sixties, many certainly consumed them, embraced them, and identified with them. Still, the peak year of the boom was 1957, when 4.3 million people were born, and those folks did not go to Woodstock. They were twelve years old. Neither did the rest of the 33.5 million people born between 1957 and 1964. They didn’t start even going to high school until 1971. When the youngest boomer graduated from high school, Ronald Reagan was President and the Vietnam War had been over for seven years.

Older boomers do have memories of the politics and the music of the sixties, even if they were pretty peripheral participants. The oldest of them may have marched and occupied and worn flowers in their hair, although the fraction of any generation that engages in radical or countercultural behavior is always very small. A much larger number of young Americans went to Vietnam than dropped out. It follows that most of the people who experienced post-sixties hangovers in the nineteen-seventies were not boomers, either. The whole narrative of postwar U.S. history is demographically skewed.

One reason that it may seem natural to identify young people with what was happening in the nineteen-sixties is because of the huge emphasis in those years on youth—though few at the time seem to have realized that a lot of the people who went around saying “Don’t trust anyone over thirty” were over thirty.

But there was a lot of youth culture in the nineteen-sixties only because there was a lot of youth. The idea that youth culture is culture created by youth is a myth. Youth culture is manufactured by people who are no longer young. When you are actually a young person, you can only consume what’s out there. It often becomes “your culture,” but not because you made it. If you were born during the baby boom, you can call yourself a sixties person. You can even be a sixties person. Just don’t pretend that any of it was your idea.

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“Sidney Chambers is a passionate man,” Alan Cumming said as he introduced the fourth season of the British detective series “Grantchester,” which concluded last Sunday, on PBS’s “Masterpiece: Mystery!” For the first three seasons and the top of the fourth, James Norton starred as Sidney, a kindhearted, single, and babelicious Anglican priest in cozy nineteen-fifties Grantchester, in Cambridgeshire, where locals love nothing more than a festive church fête, and where crimes are solved by a cop and a vicar. Yes—like many British vicars and priests, Sidney investigates murders. Thus, as Cumming explained, his Scottish accent on full blast, Sidney is a minister who knows grace—and a detective who knows evil. “Sometimes the man of the cloth struggles with the man of the world,” Cumming continued. “Especially when love”—head toss, eyebrows up—“and murder”—head down, disturbed squint—“are involved.” If you had watched the first three seasons of “Grantchester,” Cumming’s introduction could make you feel a bit exposed: you knew this show flirted with the ridiculous; Cumming knew it; the introduction knew it. Worse yet, you were on tenterhooks, anxious for more. This season, Norton would leave the show and a new easy-on-the-eyes vicar would come to town. Could “Grantchester” bear it? Could we?

“Grantchester,” which premièred in 2014, is based on a series of short-story collections by James Runcie, whose father, Robert Runcie, was the archbishop of Canterbury. The books were inspired by Robert Runcie’s milieu, if not his adventures, after the Second World War. James Runcie has written that he wanted his stories to “trace how modern Britain evolved” in that era, balancing the good—social progress—with the bad, including “the decline of community, selfishness, intolerance, racism, homophobia, crime.” For TV, he wanted a “sexy vicar” to enhance the appeal of a theoretically unfashionable lead: a practicing Christian. In its highly enjoyable first three seasons, “Grantchester” knocked at least one of Runcie’s objectives out of the park. James Norton looks fantastic in cassocks, suits, and a priest’s collar; his sensitive hunkiness greatly enhances the appeal of this particular reverend, who, for good measure, is also a Scots Guards veteran who broods, fornicates, drinks whiskey, wheels around on a bicycle, and listens to unbelievable amounts of jazz, a genre that only he, in all of sleepy Grantchester, understands. (Sidney’s peers chuckle about his love of Sidney Bechet, often mispronouncing it as “Beckett,” to indicate that villagers who aren’t Sidney ne comprennent pas.)

Though he lives among two Christian squares—his flinty housekeeper, Mrs. C. (Tessa Peake-Jones), and a shy, closeted curate, Leonard Finch (Al Weaver)—Sidney’s boozy, war-haunted soul is better suited to the hardboiled company of Geordie Keating (Robson Green), a middle-aged police detective. Whenever a swell is stabbed to death in a garden or a university lecturer falls off a chapel spire, Sidney is by Geordie’s side, handsomely Sherlock Holmes-ing it. On those journeys of bludgeoning and self-discovery, he ministers to the devastated, his progressivism gently protecting people from bigots and wearing down Geordie’s fustiness. He’s sexually astute, as well—comfortably modern, neither a creep nor a prude, unfazed by same-sex attraction or by parishioners’ scandalous confidences. (Like his Bechet, Sidney’s empathy is meant to stand in for our own comparative enlightenment.) He’s hopelessly in love with Amanda (Morven Christie), who marries someone else, tumultuously; when tormented, he consoles himself by respectfully ravishing comely widows and night-club singers. Sometimes he tends to the cemetery’s landscaping, sweaty and scything something; once, he begins the season by entering and emerging from a swimming hole. A lesser actor might have felt objectified, but Norton bore it admirably, abs gleaming in the sun.

Whether “Grantchester” glamorizes Christianity, though, is a matter of ongoing philosophical inquiry. For one thing, we never really understand why Sidney chose to become a priest: in one episode, we see him gazing at the Bible he had when he was ten, but he seems to be in the clergy for the compassion-fostering more than for the Lord, Himself. Episodes end with rousing plot-themed sermons that most seculars would happily endure: the compelling goodness that Sidney radiates is connected to ideals and to faith but less specifically to Jesus. Narratively, this state of affairs was ideal—no offense, Jesus—but unsustainable. The unlikeliest conceit on “Grantchester” turned out not to be the obvious one—a cop-vicar sleuthing team in a quaint village beset with murderers—but that the vicar was a vicar at all. Throughout, and especially by the end of Season 3, Sidney Chambers, as written and acted, would have had little reason to believe that Anglican leadership was the best vehicle for his compassion.

For most of its existence, “Grantchester” deftly balanced episodic, procedural goings on with deeper character arcs: Sidney’s struggle to find love, mostly against the wishes of the church (a no-divorcées-for-vicars rule); Leonard’s struggle for love and self-acceptance, against the wishes of church, law, and society; and the atheist Geordie’s struggle to be a good husband and father. By late in Season 3, all three of those arcs come to satisfying fruition—but, for two of them, the church was a problem. In the Season 3 finale, we fervently wished that Sidney would defrock himself, for love, and he almost did—but the frock was the one garment the show refused to remove. After three seasons of promoting love and sticking it to intolerance, the show abruptly and unconvincingly reversed course and tried to act the nobler for it. After that, Norton started filming a show called “McMafia” and left “Grantchester.” Take that, Church of England.

“Grantchester” is popular; it airs in more than a hundred and thirty countries, and is streaming on Amazon. The show pluckily forged on without Norton (New vicar? No problem!) and took its existential crisis to new extremes. Season 4 begins by giving Sidney a hasty, unconvincing new romance—and, worse, does so via a self-serving use of the American civil-rights movement. He moons over Violet (Simona Brown), the daughter of a visiting civil-rights leader and preacher from the American South, seduces her on the night her brother is murdered (“She’s grieving, for chrissake!,” Geordie says, speaking for all of us), and ships off to Dixie, with all the grace of Poochie getting sent back to his home planet. All of this is terrible. (Violet doesn’t even seem to like him.) So is his unconvincing goodbye with Geordie. (Come visit—bring the kids!, Sidney says. Sure, guys.) Watching it, I pitied the actors and felt implicated in the show’s ridiculousness even more than Alan Cumming’s intro had suggested I would. Like Season 8 of “Game of Thrones,” watching parts of Season 4 of “Grantchester” made you feel yanked around, your intelligence underestimated. In subsequent episodes, as we bob along confusedly in the wake of Sidney’s exit, the new handsome vicar, Will Davenport (Tom Brittney), zooms up on a motorcycle, in leather, ready to unsheath his magnifying glass.

Why is any of this happening? one wonders. The reeling continues throughout the season, even as more locals are murdered and clergy consulted, in the manner we once loved. The dawn of rock and roll helps a bit: a Richard Lester-like chase sequence set to “Long Tall Sally,” the amusing spectacle of Geordie railing against Teddy boys. (Next season—it’s been renewed—I’m hoping for skiffle.) But the remaining regulars fumble along, behaving a bit more improbably than they used to, and meanwhile, we have to learn about Will, whose characterization, despite Tom Brittney’s likable, thoughtful presence, doesn’t quite hook us with intrigue. Will’s biographical details are doled out dutifully, with a hint of mystery—ooh, why does he know sign language?—but not enough. He’s a recreational boxer. (Sometimes he punches people, which vicars shouldn’t do.) He’s the heir to a giant country house. He’s celibate, which is disappointing: the only relationship he’s looking for, he says, is with the man upstairs. (And not in a fun way.) All of this has left me agnostic; where I was once a fervent observer, “Grantchester” has made me a skeptic. But, during my spell of freethinking, I’ve come up with some Apocrypha. Sidney didn’t move to Alabama with a woman we knew for two episodes; he left the church with conviction, at peace with himself, and moved to another town with Amanda, whom he loved for three seasons. There, in that charming but more cosmopolitan town, he reads and writes mystery novels, owns a jazz club, and counsels lost souls over whiskey—no frock required.

Sunday Reading: In Another Tongue

August 18, 2019 | News | No Comments

Immersing yourself in another language can often be a liberating and enlightening experience. Part of the appeal, as the novelist Jhumpa Lahiri notes in her essay “Teach Yourself Italian,” is leaving the familiar behind. “Every new construction seems a marvel, every unknown word a jewel,” she writes. This week, we’ve gathered a selection of pieces about the art of mastering a foreign language. In “Love in Translation,” Lauren Collins writes about falling in love abroad and learning to communicate with her husband in French. In “Talk Like an Egyptian,” Peter Hessler moves to Cairo after the Arab Spring and examines the evolving relationship between Egyptian culture and the Arabic language. Calvin Trillin travels to Ecuador and discovers a link between culinary and linguistic journeys, and Judith Thurman considers the mysteries of hyperpolyglots, people with the ability to speak dozens of languages. Finally, in “Why Did I Teach My Son to Speak Russian?,” Keith Gessen recounts his endeavors in raising a bilingual child. Taken together, these pieces offer an intriguing look at what it means to find a new voice.

—David Remnick

“Teach Yourself Italian”

“Whenever I can—in my study, on the subway, in bed before going to sleep—I immerse myself in Italian. I enter another land, unexplored, murky. A kind of voluntary exile.”

“Love in Translation”

“French is said to be the language of love, meaning seduction. I found in it an etiquette for loving, what happens next.”

“Maltese for Beginners”

“The word ‘hyperpolyglot’ was coined two decades ago, by a British linguist, Richard Hudson, who was launching an Internet search for the world’s greatest language learner. But the phenomenon and its mystique are ancient.”

“Speaking of Soup”

“One of the difficulties of taking one-on-one conversational Spanish lessons, I remembered from earlier attempts, is that either the teacher or the student has to come up with something for the conversation to be about.”

“Talk Like an Egyptian”

“There has never been a great variety of materials for teaching Egyptian Arabic, whose status is best conveyed by its name: ’ammiyya, a word that means ‘common.’ ”

“Why Did I Teach My Son to Speak Russian?”

“I liked the feeling, when I carried him through the neighborhood or pushed him in his stroller, of having our own private language.”

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On February 28, 1882, Senator John Franklin Miller, a Republican from California, introduced a bill to bar Chinese laborers from entering the United States. Miller had been a brigadier general in the Union Army. After the Civil War, he moved his family to San Francisco and later made his fortune as the president of a seal-hunting company. By the time he was elected to the Senate, in 1881, Chinese migrants in the U.S., who had mostly settled in California and other Western states, numbered over a hundred thousand. A movement to expel them from the country, fanned by racial animosity and the anxieties of white workers, had drawn widespread support. “If we continue to permit the introduction of this strange people, with their peculiar civilization, until they form a considerable part of our population, what is to be the effect upon the American people and Anglo-Saxon civilization?” Miller said. “Can these two civilizations endure, side by side, as two distinct and hostile forces? Is American civilization as unimpressible as Chinese civilization? When the end comes for one or the other, which will be found to have survived? Can they meet halfway, and so merge in a mongrel race, half Chinese and half Caucasian, as to produce a civilization half-pagan, half-Christian, semi-Oriental, altogether mixed, and very bad?”

The following day, Senator George Frisbie Hoar, a Massachusetts Republican, delivered a stirring rebuke. Hoar was the grandson of the Founding Father Roger Sherman and a committed abolitionist who also fought on behalf of women’s suffrage. In response to Miller, he pointed out that, in 1881, more than seven hundred and twenty thousand immigrants arrived in the United States. Of these, fewer than twenty-one thousand were Chinese. “What an insult to American intelligence to ask leave of China to keep out her people, because this little handful of almond-eyed Asiatics threaten to destroy our boasted civilization,” he said. “We go boasting of our democracy, and our superiority, and our strength. The flag bears the stars of hope to all nations. A hundred thousand Chinese land in California and everything is changed. God has not made of one blood all the nations any longer. The self-evident truth becomes a self-evident lie. The golden rule does not apply to the natives of the continent where it was first uttered.”

Despite Hoar’s eloquent oration, Miller’s bill passed, with the support of Southern Democrats and senators from both parties in Western states. Several months later, President Chester Arthur signed an amended version into law. Although the measure had an innocuous-sounding description—“an act to execute certain treaty stipulations relating to Chinese”—it banned new Chinese workers from entering the United States for ten years and prohibited Chinese immigrants already here from becoming citizens. The law, which later became known as the Chinese Exclusion Act, was renewed in 1892 and made permanent in 1904, until its repeal, in 1943. It marked the first time in American history that federal law restricted a group from entering the country on the basis of race and class. More importantly, as the historian Erika Lee argues, the law fundamentally altered America’s relationship to immigration and ushered in a new governing framework for the country’s borders, premised around the need to keep certain types of foreigners out. “Beginning in 1882, the United States stopped being a nation of immigrants that welcomed foreigners without restrictions, borders, or gates,” Lee writes, in her book “At America’s Gates: Chinese Immigration during the Exclusion Era, 1882-1943.” “Instead, it became a new type of nation, a gatekeeping nation.”

This week, the Trump Administration announced new regulations that deny permanent legal status, or green cards, to immigrants who are likely to need government services, such as Medicaid, public housing, and food stamps. The policy, which is set to take effect in October, is expected to disproportionately penalize immigrants from Mexico, Central America, Africa, and the Caribbean; immigrants from Europe and Canada are less likely to be affected. During an interview for National Public Radio’s “Morning Edition,” Rachel Martin, one of the show’s hosts, pressed Kenneth T. Cuccinelli II, the acting director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, to defend the policy in light of the ideals expressed in the Emma Lazarus poem “The New Colossus,” which appears on the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty. Cuccinelli suggested a twist to the cherished sonnet. “Give me your tired and your poor who can stand on their own two feet and who will not become a public charge,” he said. He later added that, in his opinion, the poem referred to “people coming from Europe.”

The new regulation is part of a comprehensive effort by the Trump Administration to restrict immigration, which includes steps to reduce refugee admissions, bar entry from certain Muslim-majority countries, deter asylum seekers, and apply greater scrutiny to all immigrant visa applications. Trump’s diatribes have offered an unmistakably racist backdrop to these measures. He has railed against immigrants from “shithole countries,” characterized the influx of Latinos into the United States as an “invasion,” and suggested that four congresswomen of color should “go back” to the countries “from which they came.”

As the Senate debate about Chinese immigration makes depressingly clear, the current moment of fracture is hardly unique in our history. In their sweeping comparative examination, “Culling the Masses: The Democratic Origins of Racist Immigration Policy in the Americas,” David Scott FitzGerald and David Cook-Martin argue that, among Western liberal democracies, the United States has actually been a leader in developing explicitly racist policies of nationality and immigration. After Chinese laborers were barred in 1882, lawmakers took steps to ban other Asian immigrants from entering the United States. In the nineteen-twenties, as arguments based on eugenics declared the inferiority of Jews, Italians, and other immigrants from Southern and Eastern Europe, new legislation imposed strict quotas on immigration from those regions. Some immigration restrictions were eased during the Second World War and in the postwar era, but the national-origin quota system that favored immigrants from Northern and Western Europe was not fully lifted until 1965.

The Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965—which prioritized immigrants with skills and “exceptional ability” in various fields, and also relatives of U.S. citizens and permanent residents—set in motion the ethnic transformation of the country that is unfolding today. Yet even that legislation was made possible only because of proponents’ mistaken impression that it would do little to alter the nation’s demographics. As Tom Gjelten writes, in “A Nation of Nations: A Great American Immigration Story,” “Perhaps the most important factor explaining its easy passage was that both the immigration reformers and the immigration restrictionists managed to convince themselves and each other that the legislation would not change the immigration picture all that much.”

What then can history tell us about the prospects for the current racist chapter in our immigration history? FitzGerald and Cook-Martin found that, rather than domestic pressures, geopolitical factors were often decisive in reversing such policies. Chinese exclusion, for instance, was finally eased when China became allied with the United States in the Pacific war. Similarly, decolonization in Africa and Asia and Cold War competition contributed to the dismantling of the national-origins quota system. But, as Trump increasingly leads America on the path of isolationism, those forces seem unlikely to offer much hope today.

As I read the transcripts of the Senate debate on Chinese exclusion, however, I found myself dwelling on the weight of history and its judgment. Miller is remembered today, if he is remembered at all, for the role he played in ushering in one of the most discriminatory pieces of legislation in American history. By contrast, Hoar is lauded as a principled statesman, credited with delivering one of the most stirring speeches against bigotry in the history of the U.S. Senate. It is up to Cucinnelli, others in the Trump Administration, and potential enablers in the Republican Party to decide how they wish history to judge them, even as they carry on a shameful legacy that American democracy has struggled to escape.

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Sachi Amma sale Jungle Boogie 9a+ a Céüse

August 18, 2019 | News | No Comments

Il climber giapponese Sachi Amma ha ripetuto Jungle Boogie (9a+) a Ceuse in Francia.

Sachi Amma si avvicina sempre di più a raggiungere il suo obiettivo per il 2015 – salire 10 vie di 9a o più difficili – con la ripetizione di Jungle Boogie ieri pomeriggio. Come riportato precedentemente, quest’estate il climber giapponese aveva tentato la via liberata da Adam Ondra nel 2012 a Ceuse, ma era stato costretto ad abbandonare i tentativi a causa delle brutte condizioni.

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Di recente è tornato a Ceuse e, durante l’ultimo tentativo, prima di dover ripartire per la Germania, è riuscito nella rotpunkt. Questa salita porta il suo bottino del 2015 ad un 9b, tre 9a+ e tre 9a, la maggiorparte dei quali sono stati saliti in Spagna ad inizio anno.

SCHEDA: la falesia Ceuse, Francia

Il report di Andrea Polo e Gabriele Gorobey del 10° meeting di arrampicata ‘L’acqua e la roccia’ che si è tenuto il 17 e 18 ottobre 2015 a Roccadoria Monteleone (Alghero, Sardegna).

Alla decima edizione del meeting, sono stati invitati due giovani climbers del nord-est, Andrea Polo e Gabriele "Sbisi" Gorobey, reduci da due difficilissime libere sulle pareti del Madagascar. La loro simpatia e la loro modestia ha subito conquistato il grande pubblico accorso alla manifestazione, divenuta ormai una grande kermesse dedicata all’outdoor che conta migliaia di presenze. Dopo nove edizioni baciate dal sole e caratterizzate da un clima quasi estivo (tutti ripetono che è pur sempre meglio il caldo che la pioggia) anche questa volta si è ripetuto lo stesso copione. Uno stuolo di arrampicatori a torso nudo ha preso d’assalto le quasi 100 vie della falesia, per una giornata all’insegna non solo della scalata, ma anche del kayak, della bicicletta, della corsa e… naturalmente.., del buon cibo e dell’ottimo vino. Come da tradizione del meeting ho "regalato" una nuova via agli ospiti, lasciando loro il gravoso compito di liberarla e darle il nome. Posso solo anticiparvi che, nonostante il caldo, non hanno fallito la loro mission… Ma, per una volta, lasciamo raccontare loro l’esperienza ed il battesimo in terra sarda…

Maurizio Oviglia

L’ACQUE E LA ROCCIA IN SARDEGNA di Andrea Polo e Gabriele Gorobey

Esattamente il giorno prima di tuffarci nell’avventura del Madagascar, a sorpresa ricevemmo l’invito all’outdoor meeting di Monteleone Rocca Doria. Entusiasti accettammo immediatamente.

Venerdì 16 ottobre lasciamo l’uggioso Friuli e in poco più di un’ora di volo ci ritroviamo ad Alghero, nell’assolata e calda Sardegna Nord Occidentale. Ad accoglierci troviamo Italo e Roberto, due tra gli organizzatori del meeting e membri dell’organizzazione Amici della Montagna Sarda.

Lasciamo il litorale e ci addentriamo nel lussureggiante entroterra coperto da boschi e zone dedicate al pascolo. In poco più di mezz’ora raggiungiamo il nostro alloggio sotto le pendici del Monte Minerva, famoso anche per la necropoli a Domus de Janas, un sepolcreto risalente al Neolitico e con grandiosa vista sulla vallata antistante.
Posiamo i bagagli e accompagnamo le nostre due guide alla ricerca di porcini in un boschetto della zona, il bottino non è dei migliori ma la motivazione nel trovare qualcosa di "grosso" ci fa divertire e ci regala qualche bella soddisfazione. Si fa sera e ci spostiamo a Monteleone Rocca Doria per la cena.

Ceniamo insieme agli organizzatori e a tutte le persone coinvolte nel garantire lo svolgimento ottimale della manifestazione. Un banchetto nuziale, funghi, pasta, porceddu, agnello, dolci e buon vino, questi Sardi quando si tratta di far festa mi sembra non siano secondi a nessuno. Suonate e canti allietano la serata, io e Sbisi non ci facciamo mancare nulla e trascorriamo davvero una serata indimenticabile.

Sabato 17 è il primo giorno del meeting, scendiamo in falesia sul presto per sfruttare l’ombra e per provare il nuovo tiro appena chiodato da Maurizio Oviglia. Il tiro è molto bello e particolare, si arrampica su un muro leggermente strapiombante a buchetti e tacche. A circa quindici metri da terra si incontra una sequenza dura di tre-quattro movimenti poi un riposo e a seguire una decina di metri di resistenza molto tecnici e su appigli a volte sfuggenti. Sfortunatamente la roccia è molto umida al mattino e quando esce il sole diventa audace scalare, la fortuna non è dalla nostra e non riusciamo a salire il tiro, rimandiamo all’indomani.

Nel pomeriggio si svolge la classica gara di velocità sulla parete della vecchia cava di pietra su un muro alto una ventina di metri. Seppur dentro una cava il contesto è unico ed è divertente guardare gli altri che fanno fatica mentre parliamo con la gente sempre aperta e disponibile nei nostri confronti.

Arriva la sera e il momento della nostra serata. In una saletta gremita di gente proiettiamo foto e video che raccontano alcune delle nostre avventure degli ultimi due anni e presentiamo brevemente con qualche foto la freschissima avventura vissuta in Madagascar. Riceviamo un riscontro molto positivo e ne siamo davvero orgogliosi.
La serata prosegue per le vie del paese addobbate a festa e animata dalla scoppiettante musica rock-folk di un valido gruppo musicale.

Domenica 18 scendiamo in falesia a metà mattinata e con gran classe Gabriele riesce nella libera del nuovo progetto, nasce Su Sindicu 7c+, in onore di Antonello, simpaticissimo sindaco di Monteleone. Io mi dedico ad altro e salgo la bellissima linea di Philadelphia 7c+ in flash dopo aver assicurato Gabriele precedentemente. Grandiosa via a tacche e buchetti, sicuramente una via da non perdere soprattutto se fatta con un pochino di aderenza.

Risaliamo in cava e poi in paese, tantissima gente ovunque e aria di gran festa. Tutto ciò mi fa un pò pensare sul come mai dalle mie parti non si riesca ad organizzare un evento così riuscito nel quale ci sia anche l’arrampicata…

La serata prosegue in compagnia di nuovi amici di fronte a una birra e all’immancabile Porceddu!
Sono rimasto colpito dalla bellezza del posto e dalla calorosa ospitalità della gente. Consiglio un soggiorno in zona per la varietà delle attività che si possono fare sul territorio, per info

La falesia di Rocca Doria è recensita sulla nuova guida di arrampicata di Maurizio Oviglia. Il tipo di roccia è calcare lavorato a  tacche, buchi e svasi. L’arrampicata è prevalentemente tecnica e di dita ma non mancano i muri strapiombanti di resistenza. Personalmente mi hanno molto colpito per la bellezza della linea le vie Philadelphia, King Arthur, Visionario e le vie limitrofe, assolutamente da non perdere.

Ringrazio di cuore gli Amici della Montagna Sarda e l’Amministrazione comunale di Monteleone Rocca Doria per la grandiosa ospitalità. Un ringraziamento speciale a Maurizio Oviglia, a Roberto Ciabattini e a Italo Chessa per averci "guidato" nel nostro soggiorno.

Big thanks to E9, Ocun, KONG, CAI Società Alpina delle Giulie Trieste.

Alla prossima!

di Andrea Polo e Gabriele Gorobey

Il video del climber inglese James Pearson e la prima libera di Le Voyage, la via di arrampicata trad ad Annot che con tutta probabilità si colloca come il monotiri trad più difficile della Francia.

“La migliore via trad che io abbia mai liberata.” È cosi che ad inizio maggio il climber inglese James Pearson descrive Le Voyage ad Annot in Francia, la via d’arrampicata trad che con il suo grado di E10 7a è, con tutta probabilità, contestualmente anche uno dei monotiri trad più difficili del paese.

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Franco Voglino e Annalisa Porporato presentano la spettacolare zona del ghiacciaio dell’Aletsch in Svizzera: più di trenta montagne sopra i 4000 metri a pochi minuti dalla stazione a monte di Bettmerhorn. Un’esperienza spettacolare e a portata di tutti.

Aletsch, imponente lingua glaciale lunga 23 chilometri che parte dai 4000 metri di altitudine per scendere fino ai 2500 metri, con una profondità nel punto più spesso di 900 metri e una superficie di 86 chilometri quadrati, misure impressionanti che ne fanno il più grande ghiacciaio d’Europa con una grande valenza paesaggistica. Dal 2001 questo gigante bianco è Patrimonio dell’Umanità con la dicitura ufficiale di “Swiss Alp Jungfrau-Aletsch”. Ma le cifre non rendono giustizia a questo fenomeno della natura, per capire in pieno la sua vastità è necessario ammirarlo dal vero ma, niente paura, non è obbligatorio essere provetti alpinisti o spericolati scalatori, è sufficiente recarsi nell’Aletsch Arena.

Situato a poca distanza dal confine italiano (appena 50 km) la zona dell’Aletsch Arena si offre in qualsiasi stagione a tutte le categorie di persone: dai supersportivi alle famiglie con bimbi-nonni-cane a seguito, grazie ad una capillare rete di sentieri che comprendono spericolate piste da sci o mountain bike, ma anche a tranquille passeggiate senza pendenza. Una cosa rende unica la zona: il panorama che si ha sulla lunga, spettacolare lingua glaciale dell’Aletsch!

Andiamo per ordine: la località di cui parliamo si trova in Svizzera, ad appena una decina di chilometri ad est di Brig, facilmente raggiungibile grazie ad un efficiente sistema di treni e autobus. Vista dalla strada di fondovalle non sembra così impressionante: una cortina di boschi sale ripida verso l’alto chiudendo ogni visuale. Meglio imbarcarsi sulla funivia. Già, evitate di inerpicarvi con l’autovettura su per le stradine che portano ai tre paesi dell’Aletsch Arena, sono strette e nel caso di Bettmeralp non potreste neppure avvicinarvi.

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Quale che sia la funivia scelta, tutte portano al di sopra di una sorta di scalino che si apre su ampi pianori dominati da pareti quasi a picco, con una vista strabiliante che si apre verso sud, in direzione di un gran numero di importanti cime tra i quali spicca inconfondibile il Cervino (4478 m) ed il Dom (4545 m).

I tre borghi principali dell’Aletsch Arena (Riederalp, Bettmeralp e Fiescheralp) si presentano nella loro tipicità, con i centri chiusi al traffico e casette tipiche, ma da ognuno di essi si può ulteriormente salire così da superare le rocce e affacciarsi sul di un vero e proprio mare ghiacciato: l’Aletsch.

Cominciamo da ovest: il primo borgo è Riederalp (1925 m) e lo si può raggiungere partendo dalla stazione di valle di Mörel (759 m) attraverso il piccolo borgo di Ried-Mörel (1188 m), oppure direttamente passando sopra i borghi di Breiten (900 m – senza fermata, in cui si trova una fantastica struttura per i trattamenti termali ad acqua salina), e Greich (1361 m) la cui fermata è curiosamente sulla cima di un pilone. Da qui si può salire in seggiovia fino al punto panoramico di Hohfluh (2277 m) nel cuore della Foresta di Aletsch (Aletschwald), riserva naturale protetta dal 1933 dove si trovano i più antichi pini cembri svizzeri. Chi volesse approfondire l’aspetto naturalistico, oltre a percorrere i bellissimi sentieri, può recarsi a Villa Cassel dove si trova un’esposizione permanente di storia naturale e un giardino botanico con ben 350 specie di piante (da Riederalp: 150 metri di dislivello, un paio di chilometri). Per un punto di vista superiore si sale invece con l’ovovia fino alla balconata di Moosfluh (2333 m), situato nel punto più elevato dell’Aletschwald e da cui il ghiacciaio appare in contrasto con la vegetazione.

La passeggiata facile: si sale con l’ovovia da Riederalp a Moosfluh, per poi percorrere il sentiero numero 89 che passa per il punto panoramico di Hohfluh e scende fino a Villa Cassel, per poi rientrare a Riederalp (5 km totali, 400 metri di dislivello in discesa).

Secondo centro è Bettmeralp (1950 m), raggiungibile dalle funivie del Betten Taltstation (826 m) o direttamente o attraverso Betten Dorf (1203 m). Bettmeralp è il più affascinante dei tre borghi e quello dalle case più tipiche. Qui le auto sono severamente bandite e si trovano a viaggiare solo le vetture di servizio degli hotel, rigorosamente elettriche. Magnifica la posizione della chiesetta candida, adagiata su verdi prati pettinati e con un panorama rilassante. Portatevi un buon libro: non ve ne andrete più da lì!

Da qui si sale con un’ovovia al Bettmerhorn (2647 m), punto di vista fantastico sul ghiacciaio che si adagia ai piedi dei visitatori. Dopo aver passato l’ampio ristorante, si raggiunge grazie ad una passerella di legno una balconata affacciata sulla vallata dove lo sguardo spazia da destra a sinistra in quasi tutta l’ampiezza dei 23 chilometri della lingua glaciale. Dopo essersi riempiti gli occhi con il panorama, si può visitare l’esposizione multimediale “il mondo del ghiacciaio del Bettmerhorn (Eiswelt Bettmerhorn)” con manichini parlanti, giochi per bambini e informazioni curiose sul ghiacciaio e ciò che lo circonda.
La passeggiata facile: si sale con l’ovovia alla Bergstation Bettmerhorn, quindi si scende lungo il sentiero numero 87 che porta verso Hohbalm e quindi al punto di vista di Moosfluh, per poi scendere con l’ovovia a Riederalp e tornare, a piedi, a Bettmeralp (300 metri di dislivello in discesa e 3 km da Bettmerhorn a Moosfluh, 100 metri di dislivello in salita e 2 km da Riederalp a Bettmeralp). La passeggiata impegnativa: dalla stazione superiore del Bettmerhorn alla cima stessa (2858 m), la difficoltà è data non tanto dal dislivello (200 metri in salita) quanto dalla presenza di gradini e punti esposti.

Terza località è Fiescheralp (2212 m), che si raggiunge dalla stazione a valle di Fiesch (1049 m), patria dei parapendii e del panorama che si apre anche verso est. Da qui si sale con la funivia al punto panoramico più elevato e spettacolare di tutti: l’Eggishorn (2869 m). Già dalla stazione la vista è stupenda poiché si apre la curva del ghiacciaio con la visuale pulita sulla sorgente del ghiacciaio stesso e le cime che lo sovrastano: Aletschhorn (4193 m), Jungfrau (4158 m), Mönch (4107 m) ed Eiger (3970 m) e con, al centro della cunetta di ghiaccio, il piccolo spigolo del Jungfraujoch (3454 m) raggiungibile dal versante opposto in treno!

Tre balconate superbe su un panorama unico, tanto grandioso da togliere il fiato e che fa crescere nell’animo un sentimento misto tra il sentirsi minuscolo e quello di far parte di qualcosa di grandioso, di immenso. Su tutti e tre i punti di vista postazioni di meditazione yoga aiutano nell’immergersi totalmente in questa meraviglia della natura, sentendosi veramente parte di un tutto.

La passeggiata impegnativa, Aletsch Panoramaweg: saliti con la funivia alla Bergstation Bettmerhorn, si scende con sentiero in parte roccioso verso Roti Chumme (2369 m) per seguire il sentiero basso numero 152 che quasi sfiora il limite del ghiacciaio e porta ai laghi di Märjelensee (2302 m), alimentati dal ghiacciaio stesso. Aggirando poi la mole del Eggishorn, si torna con il sentiero 53b verso Fiescheralp (2212 m) e su sterrata a Bettmeralp (430 metri di dislivello in salita e 865 metri in discesa, 15 chilometri circa, dalle 4 alle 5 ore di cammino).

di Annalisa Porporato e Franco Voglino

Stefano Ghisolfi ripete Goldrake 9a+ a Cornalba

August 18, 2019 | News | No Comments

Il climber torinese Stefano Ghisolfi ha ripetuto a Cornalba la via d’arrampicata sportiva Goldrake 9a+.

Goldrake anche per Stefano Ghisolfi. Dopo Stefano Carnati qualche settimane fa, Gabriele Moroni nel 2014 ed Adam Ondra nel 2010, il weekend scorso anche Stefano Ghisolfi è venuto a capo di questa via di 9a+ sulla parete est di Cornalba. Per Ghisolfi la salita è arrivata in fretta – soli due weekend – e si tratta del quarto 9a+ dopoBiographiea Céüse,Demencia Senila Margalef eLe moustache qui fâchead Entraygues. Una lista importante, alla quale bisogna ovviamente aggiungere anche Lapsus ad Andonno, la prima via d’arrampicata sportiva gradata 9b in Italia.

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di Stefano Ghisolfi

Ho tentato Goldrake la prima volta due weekend fa insieme a Silvio Reffo, il primo giorno ho provato i movimenti del passaggio chiave e tutta la parte sotto, ma non sono riuscito a passare un singolo della parte di placca superiore e non sono neanche arrivato in catena! Il giorno dopo ho sbloccato anche quel singolo, ho unito un po’ di movimenti della parte dura e mi sono reso conto che era possibile farla, e anche in fretta

Sono tornato sabato e sono caduto all’ultimo movimento della parte dura, ma ho fatto pochi giri per tenermi qualche tentativo buono il giorno successivo. Domenica al primo giro ho passato tutto il duro e sono caduto sulla placca finale, penso dove non era mai caduto nessuno! Poi ho fatto un altro giro e sono caduto prima nel blocco… e all’ultimo tentativo della giornata, quando ero più stanco e con un mignolo che sanguinava, sono arrivato in catena!

SCHEDA: la falesia Cornalba