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Francesco Lamo

Published on 6 September 2012 in People

francesco lamoDuring that winter, apparently without any reason, I became unable to keep the pace during ski treks, at times i even had to stop during the evening running training session lasting around half an hour. I was always tired and out of breath. In particular I remember the trail up the “Serva”, north of Belluno, which I was unable to conclude such was my feeling of emptiness.
Then the temperature arrived and did not go away. I always had a latent fever, gradually growing. I decided to go to the first aid where they took a blood sample and the response was as simple a sit as bad. I had leukemia. Myeloid leukemia, they said and in that precise moment I lost consciousness and fortunately the doctor was fast to catch me. Hard months follone: chemotherapy, prolonged periods passed in sterile hospital rooms and the constant feeling of being drained of energy. Whatever one may say about chemotherapy it is dreadful. It is like a battle and one must resist.
During that period I felt warn-out even by brushing my teeth in the bathroom. I had inflamed hemorrhoids and the boold had difficulties in clotting when gums were cut by the simple use of dental-floss. Fortunately we managed to achieve remission of the pathology. I use the plural becase if I managed to get through this it was also thanks to all the people that stood by me and helped me and allowed me to undertake bone marrow transplant. The bone marrow was donated by “a male from Dubingen” (near Stuttgart) and of him I know nothing else. For me he is a kind of Angel. That year Dubingen was declared the german city with the highest quality of life and that decision to donate marrow confirmed that fact. I was really hoping that this nightmare, that resulted in a total of 8 months of hospital in two years, was finally over.
The following months were marked by my recovery: eating and drinking, going to the toilet and long sleeps.
In August, Nico and Nico accompanied me for to Rocca Pendice to climb aclassic line, the “Carugati”. That line, easy, third or fourth grade with a passage of fifth, was one I had climbed hundreds of times before, I knew it by heart. Well, the effort of that climb during my recovery was such that I slept for 24 hours after that. For my body, used only to intravenous drips and the bed, the effort involved in climbing those 135 meters, was extraordinary. Fortunately most of my friends, not all of them remained friends: I also have to thank them, who remained close to me during that period and showed me their affection.During the following months and the autumn, I kept feeling better and better and started doing very long walks and also some sport climbing. I was feeling stronger every day, every week. In the company of Marco, my silent friend, I used to train to get back into the shape i was in before my illness. At times Marco put me in real technical difficulty and it was very hard for me to follow him.
The new year came with unprecedented methereological conditions. The temperature was much higher than the mean seasonal temperature except during early morning, and no snow, very strange for Janaury. Grade six on sport climbing lines felt nearly like before and the forearm was becoming tonic again. And then I asked my friend if he would accompany me to try a line that had always attracted me: the Casarotto-Campi, at the Soio Rosso in the Small Dolomites of Vicenza. In the “Pieropan”, the guide of the Pasubio, the line is described as follows: “an extremely demanding itinerary, created according to the traditional views on free climbing. It attacks directly the overhanging parts between the direct line and the Grana-Bernardi line”.
This line follows the yellow rock on the right side of the Soio Rosso, at first through a series of crevices and corners, delicate during the first part of the climb and athletic further up, and then with an exposed traverse that leads to the last pitches that allow you to reach the pines on the summit. VI+ is the verdict of the guide and the climbers. VI+ without pulling quickdraws. The climb was of course tough, but I felt like giving it a try. And in any case, if we failed, we’d just have to go back and have nice beer at Ponte Verde.
From the parking area at the beginning of the Val Fontana D’Oro we ascended to the base of the South Wall of the Soio Rosso and following the classic approach we arrived at the Gran Cengia which we traversed towards the right to the place where the “Casarotto” starts. During the first two pitches Marco took the lead: first a traverse on fragile rock then an athletic crag. The vertical approach to things embarrassed me and my feelings were not the ones I used to know: I was scared. On a ledge I was struck by the sight of the initials of the first man to ascend the line, engraved in the rock, and some of my wits came back to me.
I forced myself to lead during the next two pitches, and so we tackled two beautiful dihedral corners and the following traverse beneath an overhanging roof. At the next ledge I felt as if I was being reborn, such was my happiness. I had placed protections along the way and it didn’t seem true to me to have climbed such a hard route. I remember feeling really happy on that ledge.Marco then took the lead again and continued with a long traverse and then up a yellow vertical, technical and unprotected pitch. Then it was my turn again to go first with the last lenght of the ascent. Unprotected and with no pegs I felt really exposed and it was a relief that I shouted to the wind, the moment when I grabbed the pine overhanging from the top of ledge.
The final two pitches, on vertical grass, where you still had to pay a lot of attention, took u sto the summit and then to the path for the descent. We could finally relax contemplating the view of the Frate (non the Franton!), a solitary monolith that does not surrene its summit easily, due to its fragility. At Ponte Verde, the usual plump waitress was waiting for us, dressed in black, ready to serve us a half litre beer, that Marco would down with avidity.Maybe I’m not the best person to do this, but I always suggest to people to live their present as best they can, because the past is only made of memories and the future is unknown to us all. But most of all, during your time don’t expect to change the ways of other people, try to change yourself.

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