Nannai! It means grandmother in the local dialect. For us it represents a home, tradition and peace. A tribute to the strong woman of the village. Grandma’s pasta, a warm woodstove, cold beer and playing risk in pijamas. We all need some good old quality time after a day of climbing. To honour the traditions théy kept alive, we call ourselves Nannai.
We are 6 friends with a big dream and even bigger passion. Rock climbing is what brought our international group together. Some of us met in a gym in Belgium, others shared first climbing moves on Italian rock and even some us fell in love on an epic climbing trip in Turkey. Climbing was the starting point of friendship, love, and BIG DREAMS.
What once started as a great idea while sharing a cold beer, slowly became reality. We wanted to start our own climbing home, a place for climbers to stay in a beautiful environment. And, if possible in a place less ‘walked’ and developed but with a huge potential to be discovered.
We found this place in Sardinia. In a small village called Ulassai. Together we enjoyed the routes already bolted, the amazing island, beautiful traditions and the raw nature. To our surprise the great potential (rocks everywhere, local hospitality, …) had hardly been explored. We collected our motivation, emptied our wallets and made the jump. Right now we are working hard to make this dream come true. Hopefully we will see you there to enjoy this goodness and to experience how we believe climbing should be.
A great teacher, climbing partner and… animal. You may not recognize him as he has many forms, with the long haired surfer and the old mountain man to the clean cut city guy, the only way to be sure is to watch him climb, dancing the way up the wall like it was a 5a… He is the Italian anchor in Ulassai, working the past many years securing a location on the wall and in the town. He can easily become a grouch and rip your head off, but no worries… inside he is a good egg!!
The only true “sending machine” of the team! If she’s not in the classroom or on the runway, she’s out sending routes like girls usually send boxes of chocolate. With her undeniable English charm Franky will shout on the rocks giving you a heart attack, while holding on with the very last of her strength. She is also an advocate of the environment, with the unfortunate motivation to pick up after you, to leave the climbing forest immaculate.
Franky’s loyal dog and also the strongest climber in the team. You’ll have to bring a long rifle to the roof of the Nannai Climbing Home and shoot his hands if you expect him to fall on a second go. This humble bastard is always calm and laid back, in a perfect balance with himself and the peaceful landscape… There’s only one thing that really stresses him out: that’s when the boss of the village, Pietro Deidda shows up at the crag to invite him to dinner (a proprer Sardinian folkloristic one) for the umpteenth time…
How could a girl from canada ever get into a climbing project like Nannai, developing a climbing culture in the middle of sardinia’s wildest area? Easy! quit the 9 to 5 engineering job in Canada and hit the road until the Italian Alps, meet a bunch of crazy italian mountain men and get lost at Europe’s best crags with them… the rest is just balls!!! Liz can climb fearlessly although she’s the newest in the sport, pushing her limit each time. If you will ever belay her to try to pick her up, you’d better be good at it!
Paolo’s sweet and reasonable half. Sofie is always giving her best to the community, working hard with socials projects to connect education with nature and the outdoor lifestyle. She was the master mind behind the name of our team, which in local sardinian dialect means “grandmother”, a sign of respect to our elders and to remind us what it takes to be a great climbing family. In between climbing, Sofie also has the challenging task of looking after her two little sons, Matteo-blu and Paolo-pupazzi… They currently live in Belgium most of the year, but Ulassai has already claimed them as honorary citizens!
Matteo, Bandit and Sbam
These little guys pull the strings from behind the scenes and swore a secret oath to take over the world. They put a charming spell on everyone that crosses their paths and use them as their puppets to gather icecream, sticks and toys. They decide day by day when we should eat, play or sleep. Fighting them is useless as they have a wide variety of punishments to correct misbehaving in their pack.
Paolo shared his firsts moves on the rock with Matteo growing between the areas of Finale Ligure and Ceuse, metamorphosing to the “rock warrior” way of life. This led him to quit his job in Italy and move to Turkey, working for a year at the Josito camp. There he found the muscle to climb hard routes and, way more unexpected, his true love. As a delightful consequence he happened to duplicate his DNA in a baby-blu, which he’s constantly trying to raise as a gipsy-pirate who fears only his mother…