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The 5 best climbs of 2021 in Varazze by Federico Roncagliolo

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Varazze - one of Italy's finest bouldering destinations

Since I started coaching climbers back in 2019, I've had the opportunity to work with some exceptionally strong and motivated athletes. It has been a real privilege to guide them and learn from them at the same time, but naturally also a considerable challenge to make sure that they keep progressing despite already being at a very high level.

Federico is one of the best performing boulderers I've trained, and he very kindly agreed to write a few words about his five most meaningful ascents from last year in this post. We started working together in late 2020, and since then, he progressed from having climbed a few 8A blocs to sending his first 8B project. He's very fortunate to live close to Varazze, one of Italy's best bouldering areas, frequented by the best climbers in the world, including Adam Ondra, Paul Robinson, and Nalle Hukkataival 123. Maybe this article will encourage you to visit the region and try Federico's favorite boulders yourself?

Federico's training progress

Before we present Federico's best ascents of 2021, I'd like to share a few words about his training progress. First, it's interesting to see that his half-crimp strength increase aligns well with his improvement on the rock. We've been monitoring Federico's one-arm half-crimp hang finger strength on a 33 mm edge since the beginning of 2020. Initially, he needed to reduce his body weight by -5 kg, to perform a 7-second hang. However, in November, he was already able to add 9 kg to his harness - that was roughly the time when he sent his first 8B. Since then, his finger strength has only kept increasing. Recently, he established his personal best by adding 16 kg on his right hand, and 15 kg on his left hand one-arm hangs on a 33 mm edge.

finger strength plot
Figure 1: Federico's plotted one-arm hang half-crimp (MVC-7) finger strength progress on a 33 mm edge - total load in [kg].

What's great to see is that this progress happened somewhat naturally - we didn't really force it. We use routines such as Density Hangs, MaxHangs, Heavy Repeaters, and BFR. Still, all the time, hangboard training was only secondary to Federico's bouldering. I'm excited to see his further climbing development! But now, I'm handing the floor over to Federico so that he can tell you himself about his last year's bouldering experience 456!

Introduction by Federico

Hi! I am Federico, I'm 25, and I'm a very passionate boulderer from Italy. I have been climbing for 11 years now, and more or less 2 years ago, I decided to dedicate more time and energy to outdoor bouldering. So about a year ago, I asked StrengthClimbing to help improve my performance. As a result, I sent 15 boulders between 8A and 8B and 120+ boulders between 7A and 7C+ in just 13 months, nothing comparable to the previous years!

But climbing is not all about sending and sending hard. This is a small part of a process that leads you to the interior, mental and physical growth. Spending a lot of time alone in front of rocks brought me to give much more value to my free time and all the things around me. Definitely, outdoor bouldering can teach you to stay calm, focused, motivated and gives you the feeling of owning your life and time. So here are the best five and most meaningful climbs of this last year!

Dreamland 7C+, Quarzina

It's the long, beautiful, crimpy line to the right. No hard moves but perfect holds on high-quality rock. Managed to send it on my third try before night with the support of my amazing girlfriend!

Video 1: Dreamland 7C+, Quarzina 7.

Il Sorriso 8A, Val Ellero

Incredible moves on a short, slightly overhanging boulder. Pretty technical, it took 30 minutes to figure out all the moves but two sessions to send and a tremendous number of tries from the start. This boulder taught me a lot of different aspects of this sport 8!

Video 2: Il Sorriso 8A, Val Ellero 9.

Rampage 8A, Varazze

Masterpiece. This is the most beautiful piece of rock I have ever seen. It's an overhanging prow on perfect crimps and pinches till the very end. Needed four sessions in total to send this iconic line! One of the best in Italy 101112!

Video 3: Rampage 8A, Varazze 10.

Excalibur sit 8A+, Varazze

Endurance overhanging boulder on quite good holds. Never too hard but it was a great fight! Ten sessions in total, most of them failing at the last move 5/6 times per session. Finding good conditions was hard but I managed to keep having faith and climbed it 1314!

Video 4: Excalibur sit 8A+, Varazze 13.

Fortunadrago 8B, Varazze

Fortunadrago is one of the highlights of Varazze, first climbed in 2002 by Christian Core. This one took me some time. I believe 9/10 sessions in total. I made all the moves in two sessions, but then it took seven sessions more, changing beta every time and never finding a good way to arrive at the end of the boulder, fit to stick the last crimp. Then one day, I sent it quite effortlessly! The most technical line I have ever climbed. Holds are simply unique on this one. First of the grade 15!

Video 5: Fortunadrago 8B, Varazze 15.

That's it! Hope to push my limits further in the next years and keep falling in love with this amazing sport!


  1. Adam Ondra climbing Gioia 8C+, Dec. 14, 2011. (link)[]
  2. Paul Robinson: A Tour of Varazze, Italy, Jan. 25, 2013. (link)[]
  3. BD Athlete Nalle Hukkataival sends Gioia, Varazze, Italy, Apr. 9, 2014. (link)[]
  4. J. Banaszczyk, StrengthClimbing – Dr. Tyler Nelson’s Density Hangs Finger Training For Rock Climbing, Feb. 28, 2022. (link)[]
  5. J. Banaszczyk, StrengthClimbing – Eva López MaxHangs Hangboard Routine For Finger Strength, Apr. 29, 2019. (link)[]
  6. J. Banaszczyk, StrengthClimbing – Hangboard Repeaters strength endurance protocol, Apr. 8, 2019. (link)[]
  7. "Dreamland", Jun. 7, 2021. (link)[]
  8. "Il sorriso, 8a. Val Ellero", Nov. 22, 2021. (link)[]
  9. "Andrea Tallone - Val Ellero - Il Sorriso 8A", Aug. 21, 2018. (link)[]
  10. "Rampage" 8a, Varazze, May 18, 2021. (link)[][]
  11. Marine Thevenet | Rampage 8A - Varazze, Nov. 14, 2017. (link)[]
  12. Rampage - Varazze, Feb. 10, 2015. (link)[]
  13. "Exaclibur sit" 8a+, Varazze, Mar. 3, 2021. (link)[][]
  14. 14 Year Old Giorgia Tesio Cruises 'Excalibur Sit Start' (V12/8A+) | EpicTV, Dec. 31, 2014. (link)[]
  15. "Fortunadrago", 8B Varazze, Jan. 20, 2022. (link)[][]
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