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Maurizio Zanolla better known as Manolo (Feltre, February 16th, 1958) is a climber, mountaineer and Italian mountain guide. Manolo is one of the pioneers of free climbing in Italy and is one of the most recognizable faces of the sport. He was the first Italian to climb an 8b Ultimo Movimento in Totoga (Pale di San Martino) in 1986. He enjoyed free solo climbing up to difficulties of 8a (Masala Dosa in Totoga in 1992). He has never been interested in climbing competitions.
Manolo began climbing at the age of 17 and has always preferred to climb slabs or vertical, routes rather than overhangs. His technical evolution sees the use of increasingly smaller holds, with a very precarious balance on routes that offeronly "psychological" protection, thus emphasizing that climbing is a global sport, not only physical but psychological too. He was the first in the world to climb high grades on crags, "Il mattino dei maghi” 7c + in 1981 in Totoga and Ultimo movimento 8b in 1986 (also the first Italian 8b). In 1991,he managed to climb an 8c with the first ascent of The Dream in Val Noana and then in 2001 with the repeat of Rolando Larcher’s 1992 route, L’arte di salire in Alto in Celva.
In 1998 he climbed Appigli Ridicoli at the crag in Baule, first graded 8b and then 9a after the closure of two artificial holes in 2001. In 2006, at the age 48, he climbed his first 9a, Bain de Sang at the Swiss cliff in Saint-Loup , opened by Fred Nicole in 1993. In 2008, at the age of 50 years, once again in Saint-Loup he climbed Bimbaluna 9a + opened by François Nicole in 2004. In the mountains he has opened and freed long routes of high difficulty such as “Cani morti” on the Pale di San Martino with Riccardo Scarian in 2004 and “Solo per vecchi guerrieri” on the Vette Feltrine in 2006. Manolo is a reserved and prefers to live his passion for climbing in a personal, philosophical and romantic way.