Physical Graffiti, a bitterly playful title to talk about small and big abuses in the climbing spot of Teramo (in Abruzzo): holds marked with paint, felt-tip comments and description under the routes. Names (partly invented and partly true) and grades at the bottom of the routes on walls under archeological and environmental bonds that had been left "clean" to avoid causing any problem with the local authorities. Moreover, modifying a route set by others is a particularly repugnant gesture, which cannot be justified by the fact that the line or the riveting are not to our liking. We can use slings, beta-sticks, or aid climbing, we can choose a different route, or even another, more suitable, climbing spot.
Gianluca Di Benedetto
The playful title of this article refers, bitterly, to the lack of education and, maybe, also of communication that we are living in many climbing spots.
In the last few months, a "graffiti artist" is expressing his disease by writing random stuff on the wall around Teramo. He performed in several crags, with different approaches. In the crag of Tecchiaiolo, led by his creativity, he wrote the grades under the routes, evidently because the indication of the name not have been enough for him. In the crag of Civitella del Tronto (recently re-opened), under the names and the grades, he left some personal comments. In the same spot he "took possession" of a route (which was left to be climbed in moulinette), changing the riveting and setting the first bolt on a dangerous block, and, obviously, changing the name of the line. In the little crag of Rocche he wrote some completely invented names under the routes: "Motrice", "Grecca" or "Pippa"! Furthermore, this small wall at now is closed because of complaints about the climber passage. But that's another story...
Gianluca Di Benedetto
The last misdeed of this tagger is taking place in the Gole del Salinello. In that delicate environmental context we decided not to leave traces on the rock, also because we think that the topo published by Climbadvisor is more than enough; and yet, that tagger decided to write the names of the routes, to make things easier for those who use some printed lists of doubtful origin.
Perhaps quite different can be the considerations upon the "Drill Band", that operated in the crags of Vena Rossa(AP) and Civitella del Tronto, with the aim of making "more friendly" some routes. FOr example, in the upper area of Civitella, they put a new belay, misplaced and dangerous, at a very short distance from the original one, to eliminate from the line the last, hard move! In addition, they added a new anchor to the route "Si8 on sight!", so that the crux of the route now can be done with the anchor at the height of the belly, or to be passed in aid climbing. New bolts have also appeared in Vena Rossa(AP), to shorten the space among the original ones, but also in this case they have been incorrectly placed, with a short hole, and the hanger that acts as a lever against the bolt (dangerous, in case of fall). I really wonder how this behavior can be considered normal. And this happens not only in Abruzzo.
For example last winter I went to some historical areas of Sperlonga: severe grades and spaced bolts! Have I tried to set up a dialog with the riveters writing under the routes with a marker? Have I set some new bolts among the existing ones? But someone must have thought of it because I saw the creation of another "graffiti artist" there too...
Gianluca Di Benedetto
And last but not least, while I was finishing this small article, there was an even more serious fact: a boulder traverse has been set at the bottom of the overhanging routes of the upper area of Civitella, provided with a verbose caption (written with the felt-tip on the rock) and a painted sign on each hold! Looks like there's an escalation of insanity and impoliteness, that can no longer be tolerated and requires us to make general considerations on respect for the rock and for the environment. Looks like a dangerous development that drives the typical gym wall dynamics to the rock walls, with the addition of a great deal of protagonism. Regardless the reasons of these behaviors, these actions are to be stigmatized, and a more respectful approach has to be promoted.