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"Find your balance on the vertical walls and bring it back into everyday life" - A. ZENI


As a child, he dreamed of being an artist, following in the footsteps of his parents. And in some way, he succeeded. Born and raised at the foot of the Pale di San Martino, with a sculptor father and painter mother, Alessandro Zeni found in the verticality of the rock a way to carve his path and paint his spirit, becoming one of the strongest climbers in the world on slabs.

Born in 1991, Ale, as everyone calls him, discovered climbing at the age of 16 and immediately fell in love with it, moving with surprising naturalness. Notches, grooves, and protrusions where only a select few managed to climb soon became the ideal playground where he could seek continuous improvement and aspire to overcome increasingly extreme difficulties. On the Totoga crag, in Primiero, he refined his technique and in a short time he was moving in the footsteps of Maurizio “Manolo” Zanolla, repeating most of his routes, even the most difficult. At a time when most climbers were chasing grades on the best-known and most popular pitches, Alessandro chose to go against the grain by concentrating his efforts on an almost forgotten style, revealing the skills of a slab climber that led him to Cryptography, the most difficult slab climb in the world.
After a few years in the competitive arena, with excellent placings, including in the World Cup, Ale chose to leave competition to embark on a different journey. His passion led him on an exploration of rock and verticality that’s almost overhanging. Immersed in nature, in the beauty of the mountains, Ale moves in harmony with the environment, remembering that his footsteps must be light and fleeting, almost imperceptible.



Did you have any mentors as you developed as a climber?
I was lucky enough to have Riccardo Scarian as a teacher. His advice guided my growth, allowing me to improve quickly.

Asking you if you prefer rock or plastic would be pointless. Trad or sport?
Both. In extremely difficult areas, bolts are a good compromise.

What excites you most about rock climbing?
Being able to glimpse something that strikes me aesthetically through a line and that in some way is closely linked to the natural environment in which it develops.

What project has remained closest to your heart?
Definitely “Cosmic Energy,” a 9a+ pitch in Val Canali. A line that I saw, bolted, and freed. It took me a long time — a long journey alternating between times in good company and times in total solitude.

What’s your favorite Karpos product?
The K-Performance down jacket because it’s warm and compactible. I used it often during attempts on “Eternit,” and I almost always carry it with me when I go to the mountains. It’s so light that you almost forget you have it in your backpack.


2016               “Solo per Vecchi Guerrieri” route (8c max. / 7c obl., Vette Feltrine)
2017               “Il Mattino dei Maghi” route (7c+, Totoga, Pale di San Martino)
2018               “Energia Cosmica” route (9a+, Bilico, Primiero)​​​​​​​
2020               “Cani Morti Plus” route (8c max. / 8a obl., Campanile Basso di Lastei, Pale di San Martino)​​​​​​​
2021               “Eternit” route (9a+, Baula, Feltre Dolomites)

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