Dr. Heather Weidner: Bellissima!
Beautiful girls, snow-kissed mountains, red wine, and creamy tiramisu.
Believe the hype- life doesn’t get any better than this…
This is Italy.
Chris and I were climbing in Geyikbayiri, Turkey, for the last leg of our trip, when I got an email from one of the most bellissima woman of climbing: Daila Ojeda.
She and the bella Colette McInerney were planning on climbing in Northwestern Italy, and hosting a women’s climbing clinic and celebration sponsored by prAna. They asked me to come along and all I could say was “Sî, certo!” Of course!
We flew into Turin, Italy, and drove to Cuneo, where we planned to climb in the Andonno region and beyond. Unfortunately, the weather was not cooperating with our plans. We even tried to drive to France to climb but the tunnel was closed due to a recent avalanche. The snow would not stop.
So what did we do?
We ate pizza…and more pizza…and Nutella-filled croissants…
And we all gained five pounds… at least.
But bellies full of chocolate and cheese aside, we fully embraced being in Italy with good food and most importantly, good friends, old and new.
Daila, Colette, and I hosted the women’s bouldering clinic and chica-only slideshow at the local gym in Cuneo called Il Punto. The psych was high and filled with strong, motivated, and sweet people. Climbing with other women has such a different feel than climbing with guys. I always learn so much more from watching women’s beta and movement, and the positive energy is contagious.
Daila and Colette are two of the most genuinely supportive women I have ever met in the climbing world, and they don’t take themselves too seriously. These girls know how to have fun! But they can also buckle down and get the job done when necessary.
We all had a blast at the event and it was a huge success! One little girl and her mother drove two hours to see us, and we had so much fun bouldering together. Her mother used to be a veterinarian and quit her job when Eliza was born, and now she coaches the kid’s climbing team. We talked about how it’s great to do something different career-wise and fully embrace the climbing lifestyle.
A day after the women’s clinic the weather cleared up and we climbed outside for a half day at Andonno during our stay. After sloshing through the snowy approach, we were able to soak up the sun on the vertical limestone wall. We were perched on dry rock surrounded by snow-capped mountains of northern Italy.
One of the many things I learned when traveling is to be flexible, especially when planning trips with other people. The extended forecast was not looking good, so we all made an executive decision to leave Italy behind for the moment and head to Spain to climb in Oliana and Terradets where the weather looked perfect. We only had a few days of our trip left, but it would be worth it. Plus, if we stayed in Italy any longer that meant there was another delicious pizza and tiramisu waiting for us close by, and our waistlines suggested we better start climbing!
As we departed Italy, Chris and I were already planning our return. We reluctantly left the picture perfect mountains, cobblestone streets, and delicious dishes behind, but we looked forward to the last destination of our European trip in Spain, and then returning home.
A huge thank you to prAna, Daila, and Colette for making this event possible, and a big thanks to Chris for hanging out with us gals – I know it must have been hard
~ Dr. Heather Weidner, prAna Ambassador
Photos by Colette McInerney