Stefano Ghisolfi is one of the most-accomplished sport climbers in the world. The Italian native has always been drawn to pushing his limits. Now, with the current travel bans and stay-at-home orders, no one is climbing outdoors, but Ghisolfi is still finding ways to challenge himself by setting extremely difficult circuits on his home wall.
Ghisolfi's resume includes five IFSC World Cup gold medals in the lead category, he's sent six routes graded 9b/5.15b, and he became one of the few climbers to tick 9b+/5.15c with his ascent of Perfecto Mundo.
Perfecto Mundo is a 30-meter long, wildly overhung and desperately pumpy Catalonian route that bolted by Chris Sharma, and first climbed by Alex Megos in 2018. Ghisolfi completed the second ascent of the route later that same year, becoming the fourth person to ever climb 9b+/5.15c. He spent over a year working the route and training, stonewalled by the stopper crux: a deadpoint from a mono-pocket to a left-hand pinch. He set the crux move on the home wall in his garage in Arco, Italy, and worked it over and over again. In December 2018, Ghisolfi sent Perfecto Mundo.
Today, with people all across the globe stuck indoors amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Ghisolfi is still focused on pushing his limits. On his garage wall—the same wall he used to train for Perfecto Mundo—Ghisolfi set four monster projects graded 8b+, 8c, 8c+, and 9a (5.14a, 5.14b, 5.14c, and 5.14d). While his wall is limited in size, Ghisolfi climbs back and forth and up and down repeatedly to achieve route-length climbs.
“The competitions and rock climbing are postponed, so I set myself goals on my home wall,” Ghisolfi said. “The goal is to climb all my four projects before the end of lockdown, now I just sent the easiest one.” The “easiest one,” which he dubbed Pandemia, is an 8b+/5.14a. Watch a video of Ghisolfi's ascent near the top of the page.
For further variety, Ghisolfi uploaded his home wall to the app Stokt and asked his followers to set problems for him. He received over 400 problems, and has been trying them in sets of 10. Ghisolfi says he's motivated to try them all. "Some of them are simply amazing!" he wrote. "Many are impossible, but still worth to give a try."
Ghisolfi's hope is that he can come out of quarantine a stronger climber than he was before. “I know now [this] is the only project I can have so I keep training for these, but the real purpose is to be fit for when we will be able to climb again outside,” he said. “I think, if I can climb these projects at home then I could climb even harder things out there.”
There is a project called King Line, rated 9b+ or possibly 9c, that Ghisolfi would like to attempt once things return to normalcy, though the route has some access issues due to being on private property. Whatever the case, we can surely count on some hard ascents from Ghisolfi after quarantine: he's spending three hours of each day training.
“My attitude to stay sane and fit is to set goals,” Ghisolfi said. “Even without training gear, there are plenty of exercises and workout games to do to have fun and train at the same time, I use these and I feel better. Stay strong!”
To illustrate this last point, Ghisolfi uploaded two workout videos that only require a table. Check them out below.