You could say that Manolo is a climbing legend but I don’t think this is enough; he is much more than that.
He is an icon in the sport climbing world. Through his climbing style and abilities during the 1980s Manolo achieved almost mythical status. He became known as ‘The Magician’ due to his ability to almost float up difficult slab climbs. At the age of 56 he shows no signs of stopping, still able to climb at the highest level and push the magical grade of 9a.
In climbing history I think that Manolo really remains unique due the fact that most other top climbers are 30/35 years younger than him. Some of the things he used to do in the early days were unbelievable – climbing big walls, solo, in running shoes during ’70s and early ’80s.
He did the first 8a, 8b and 8c in Italy and one of the first in the world to achieve such grades. In fact, some of his routes remain unrepeated to this day.
He has always led a simple, very reserved and quiet life. He actively avoided competition, as this was not where he gained his satisfaction. He just tried to climb harder and harder routes whilst keeping the joy and the freedom to enjoy his pure style of life. He is a true example of longevity in sport and in motivation.
For sure a rare example of consistency and pureness in sport climbing!