We are mountain lovers, and meeting individuals who — like us — want to live in constant motion is always a pleasure and an opportunity to identify new paths for growth.
Alessandro “Ale” Zeni is not only the world’s strongest slab climber. He is also an athlete who personifies our philosophy, our way of being, of experiencing the mountains and relating to the people who live and breathe them. The desire to search, to explore, to respectfully approach the verticality that surrounds us is a shared feeling that will accompany us on a journey of mountaineering projects, discoveries and adventures, where we, individuals in constant motion, love to move fast and light, in terms of both equipment and thoughts.
I was born in the Dolomites at the foot of the Pale di San Martino to a sculptor father and painter mother. From a very early age, I thought I might be able to be an artist too …
Art. This has always been the watchword in our family, a kind of mantra that drove me to dream and to think that in life I wanted to create something new, something mine, a sculpture so beautiful that it would amaze and move those who looked at it. But as often happens, I soon realized that that was not my gift, yet a flame continued to burn inside me. I felt it. I was sure of it.
I loved nature and the outdoor life, and one day I looked up and saw the mountains. Massive peaks rose above my head — simple rocks for some, but to my child’s eyes they looked like enormous pictures to paint. I started climbing at 16 and realized that everything came naturally to me. I liked spinning in the air, feeling the emptiness under me while listening to the sensations of my body. So I discovered I had a talent, and almost without realizing it I improved very quickly. I refined my technique on the classic wall of Monte Totoga and in a few years I repeated most of the most difficult routes by Maurizio Zanolla aka Manolo. I was ensnared by the beauty of slab climbing, a slow forward movement, an inner search that requires finger strength, patience, balance and awareness. In climbing I found my art and a reason to travel and get to know the world. That continuous travel changed my eyes and my way of seeing through the rock.
After climbing walls that were hundreds of meters high over the years, and repeating many of the most difficult routes in the Alps, I was able to find my canvas only in a remote wall in Val Canali: Il Bilico. I bolted this route, called it “Energia Cosmica” and proposed the grade of 9a+ for it. In this line I found everything I was looking for, and when I climbed it one beautiful fall day I realized that years of hopes, dreams, travels and new friendships were held within that rock. Twelve years of climbing concentrated in 52 moves — my sculpture, the perfect slab in the perfect location.
My journey is far from finished. Putting up difficult new routes in the mountains is what attracts me most and is what I will devote most of my time to in the future, in order to grow further as a climber and as a person.
Karpos is a company that was established and nurtured just a few steps from my home mountains and has developed products capable of addressing and solving all these problems related to the world of climbing and mountaineering.
For this reason I am proud to be able to begin this new collaboration and to have an additional element of safety that I can rely on during my adventures in the mountains, allowing me to complete my climbs without having to miss out on opportunities to enjoy a sunset or admire the beauty that surrounds me from the top of the mountains.