Climbers Paradise: Lake Garda is Mecca

Sitting in Caffetrentino, slurping the tasty cappuccino, trying to figure out what I should do the next day without climbing partners. The original plan was to climb with two people; one got stuck on business in the US and the was home with a concussion after headbutting a pole wakeboarding. 4 guys in a great mood sat down at the table next to ours. They had Swiss accents when they asked what I had done to drive Alex away (a MTBer I travelled with, left for pizza while I stayed at the cafe). Dani, Roman, Lippi and Perti were having a blast, everyone was laughing. Lippi ordered a round of Braulio which he swore would be great medicine for Alex’s cold, don’t know if it helped him, but we all started feeling good! Alex asked the guys if they were climbers and if they would take me with them. I felt like a kid whose parents were looking for a babysitter, but the guys were cool. They joked that I join but had to hang all the routes in for them. We ordered another round of drinks and the laughter continued on. I started really looking forward to climbing with them; I had the feeling it would be a good time. We agreed to meet up in the morning and went on celebrating until Carlo closed the cafe.
The next day started off slowly, packing up and paying for the apartment. Some nasty traffic caused by a few construction sites put the nail in the tardiness coffin. As we approached Caffetrentino, we didn’t see the guys anywhere. I asked Carlo if he had seen them and he pointed to some glasses and mugs still on the table saying they just left. We went to their hotel where the receptionist said that they had checked out but that their car was still in the parking lot. So I stuck a not between the window and wisher on Dani’s car (there were only 2 from Switzerland in the lot, one from Graubünden and one from St. Gallen so it was easy to guess!). Alex went to Red Point to buy a climbing harness and I went to try to find the guys in some of the other climbing stores in Arco. Near the Vertical store, I bumped into one of them and he told me that they would be meeting up at 11:30 again in Caffetrentino for a last chance at caffeine before climbing. I was relieved to not have missed them and went to buy some new gloves. After coffee, all 5 of us piled into Dani’s car (including our climbing gear!) and we headed off towards Nago. We started in Secttore C with some easy 5b/5c climbs to warm up. After that, the guys wasted no time and jumped into 6b and 6c routes. They lead the routes with an elegant climbing style and didn’t seem to be exerting themselves too much, spending most of their energy with joking and laughing… The whole day was pure joy! I really enjoyed their company and hadn’t laughed that hard in a while. We packed our gear up and hiked back to the car when it started getting dark. We were ready to drive off, as Dani thought that the tire felt low. We all got out and saw that indeed the wheel was flat. In a heartbeat all 4 guys were running around. The gear was unloaded from the trunk and the car was already jacked up and the nuts were being loosened. The spare tire was already on its way to the flat one and immediately mounted as the old one was stowed away in the trunk. The guys looked like a Formula 1 pit crew to me… everyone was bustling around without discussion as if they had done this for years. A well oiled machine! In less than 2 minutes, Dani was tightening the bolts on the new tire and all the gear was already packed back into the trunk. I didn’t manage to finish typing in my SMS to Alex to tell him we were going to be delayed because of the flat tire and the guys were already sitting in the car ready to drive back to Arco. Really impressive! We headed back down the windy road to Arco where we met up with Alex for one last cappuccino in Caffetrentino before the Swiss guys said their goodbyes and headed home. Such an amazing day that came to be from spontaneity.  How lucky for me!

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