Stefano Ghisolfi's path to Trentino

A life of climbing

"Climbing is a natural, instinctive movement. I don't know where it comes from, maybe survival, something we all have within us. Even children who can't yet walk begin to climb on everything". Stefano Ghisolfi never stopped: he has always climbed, and he will continue to do so for the rest of his life. 

Stefano Ghisolfi, world-class climber

The choice of Trentino

Power and strength in technical movements, concentration, control and balance when it comes to your vision, patience and the anticipation of building a successful route to the top bit by bit, breaking down the goal. Originally from Turin, and one of the most accomplished climbers in the world, Stefano chose the cliffs of Arco in the Garda area, and made them his home.  

"The opportunities offered by Arco and Trentino are unique. There are many places in Italy where you can climb, but Arco offers many of the most challenging rock faces in a truly concentrated area. In Turin it was possible to climb, but I had to get in the car and travel for hours, and I wanted to do this every day of my life". Here, Stefano can find what he needs, on foot or by bike: ever more challenging rock faces that allow him to push his limits every time.  

Stefano Ghisolfi, world-class climber

Climbing is for everyone

Anyone can climb. Stefano started competing at 6 years old, and he never stopped, right up to winning the world title. "From when I was very little I already enjoyed climbing on everything; on the walls, on bricks, on lampposts, on road signs. In the playground, my favourite games involved hanging from things, swinging - it really was something natural to me. While other children might have been afraid, I climbed up like a spider". 

Courses at the gym start from age 4, but it is also possible to try out the experience on real cliffs with a teacher or an alpine guide. Because climbing is something to experience in the open air, side by side with those who are more or less expert. Unlike other sports, a day on the cliffs brings together champions and beginners, because there are many possible routes up a rock face, from difficulty level 3 - the easiest - up to 8 for the most expert, and 9 for top level champions. 

Stefano Ghisolfi, world-class climber

Climbing safely

"When it comes to safety, the risk is not high if you do everything well, with caution. If you tie the knot well, and double check with your partner, the risk is almost zero. The safety of climbing is not related to your limits, but instead to a series of manoeuvres that everyone needs to know before starting to climb. Once you have done everything safely, at that point you can go higher and push your limits without any worries".  

Stefano lives on the cliffs, in all seasons, even when it is cold, because it is in the winter that champion climbers grip best. "I am relatively rational, I try to plan everything, spy out a route from the bottom, prepare all my movements, and understand before starting what I am going to do. But there is also a significant element of unpredictability, improvisation. I try to understand everything from the bottom, but then maybe while I am climbing I have to completely change my plans and improvise, because you can't stay hanging on for hours, or even minutes; it's a matter of seconds, sometimes even less".  

Seeing the line

The world of climbing is made up of bolters and climbers. The majority of bolters are also excellent climbers, but not vice versa. The passion of bolters runs in parallel to climbing. A demanding job, which is also a form of altruism and humility. Because when a bolter sees a possible line, from the ground or while on the rock face, he is working for the community, even if he knows that he will never climb it. He bolts the route so that someone else can take it on. Bolting is an art form. And then, when the bolter assigns a category to a route that he has just put up, he needs a climber to confirm it by completing it. There is no official certification of difficulty levels. It is the community that declares the level. And the more difficult the route, the fewer climbers are able to finish it, and therefore share the work.  


Climbing life 

You experience the cliffs in company. "With a less-experienced partner, or one who has never climbed before, my favourite place is the Belvedere a Nago. There is a bit of everything there: really easy rock faces that look out over the lake and capture all the beauty of climbing in the Garda area. Instead, for those who are more expert, my favourite places are the Falesia di Padaro or the Falesia del Bus de la Stria". 

Climbing is training for life. "I face everything as if it were a climbing route. I have learned to break down my goals, addressing one part at a time and managing things that seem insurmountable at the beginning. You just need to give yourself intermediate goals, take small steps, and gradually you will start to see the finish line".  


Stefano Ghisolfi, world-class climber

Climbing the rocks

Stefano Ghisolfi was the first and only climber in the world to complete Excalibur, a short 9b+ line, marked on a smooth rock face with a 40° overhang in Drena, in the realm of the Arco cliffs. An impossible, tactical, technical route seemingly with no footholds. A project that took months, involving three of the strongest climbers in the world. Along with Stefano, these were Adam Ondra and Jakob Schubert. 

Stefano Ghisolfi | © Archivio Trentino Mktg

Lake-view climbing

Published on 28/06/2024