Friday, February 12, 2016

Patri Gauche

I've been out in Cogne, Italian Alps, for a bit of ice climbing with Jim, Steve and Simon. A great team! Flew out on Sunday, ready to get onto the superior ice falls we’d experienced 2 years ago…

Feb 2014 - Day 1   Day 2    Day 3 

Conditions had warmed up this visit, and made decision making more serious... Trekked up Valnontey valley on Monday morning, looking for some comfortable climbs to get acclimatised. Speaking to other teams, the theme seemed to be, ‘Climb the first pitch and abseil off’. (The sun was hitting the western slopes above).

Not finding the solidarity we were looking for on the closer routes, we crossed over the riverbed and headed higher up the east side, settling on Patri Classica. It was teeming with people!

A really comfortable lead on the first pitch, congestion being the main point of concern… Whilst waiting for the team ahead, a feint noise like a helicopter broke the otherwise peaceful mountains.

We caught up with another team later that evening. They relayed the news of a fatality and a serious injury on Thoule, one of the falls we had decided against that morning.

Lillaz Valeille was the choice for the second day. As our layering had been spot on, a few adjustments to gear racking and we were ready. Again the walk-in involved a series of arriving at the bottom of the climbs, looking at dripping ice, speaking to other teams and moving on swiftly. 

Leaving Steve and Simon on a challenging series of falls, me and Jim took some sound advice and made the short trek to Tutto Relativo on the eastern side of the valley. Another blissful first pitch.

Heavy snowfall overnight meant an alternative activity next day : ) 

Patri Classica - Valnontey valley, Cogne (Italy)

Awesome day on the ice! Our last full day in Cogne, I led 4 of the pitches on Patri Gauche ice fall : )

Thanks to the team for the opportunity. Perfect conditions, well-formed ice, blue skies and -11°C giving plenty of confidence (and motivation to climb). A stunning route.

Simon, owner of Granite Trails got handy with the camera, as both he and Jim reminded me to place some gear and other words of encouragement : 0

We walked out as the snow began to float down and darkness fell. Back to the Chateau Royale for 8pm, and after a shower and much debating, we topped the trip off with a scrumptious meal at La Brasserie du BonBec, an authentic Italian restaurant, in the centre of the alpine village. Tip top!!

Just flown back home to the Isle of Man. Another goal reached, training is progressing well. Already planning the next adventure…


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