Cogne ice climbing

Rafał is by far my strongest climbing partner, good that he’s also great to hang out with, otherwise it would be really painful ;-).

We wanted to go ice-climbing, at the same time we didn’t want to spend too much time researching conditions, hence we went for an easy option and drove to Cogne. Getting out of Zurich on Friday evening was passing by Bern took forever, nevertheless we got to our reserved apartment around 11pm.

First day we decided to start not to early, got the breakfast at 7.30am. There were quite a few people in the valley, but we managed to climb Candelabro del Coyote and Tuborg, both WI4+. We got some sun, did not freeze, it was a perfect day. We were stunned that there was zero suffering and happy. Cogne surprised us while we were walking around the city around 6.20pm and all the restaurants were starting to serve food at 7pm. Eventually we got really good pizza in a kinda “fast food” service, but it was exceptionally good.

Second day we have ordered breakfast at 5.30am :-O, cause we wanted to go and climb Cold Couloir, which is a nice long classic. The previous day it had a lot of people on it, so we wanted to be there first. We’ve contemplated whether to sleep 30min longer, but eventually we just went to sleep earlier. That choice made our day ! We got to the ice at dusk, and 15-20min after us another 5 (!) people approached. We moved quickly alternating belays and simul-climbing (walking?) the easy terrain. 600m route took us 4h10min. Pretty good time ! Awesome climb, great weather again, no frozen parts of the bodies. Afterwards we got the same food problem…, but this time our Pizzeria was closed as well as it wat 3pm and it was opening at 4.30pm (at least that’s what we thought), so we got a panini and decided to get pasta after 7pm.

After spending two days in the valley close to Lillaz, on the third day we decided to check out the other one, as also Rafal wanted to climb something harder. It was also a bit colder. We walked through the entire Valnontey to learn that all of the interesting climbs did not form this year. Well… at the end there was a long approach and surprisingly eventually an icefall worth climbing – Candelone di Patri. By the time Rafal finished his lead I was frozen. My hands were still OKish, but it did not presage anything good. By the time I finieshed following I was IN PAIN. When I got to the belay it took me probably 5min of crying to get through hot aches in my hands, but afterwards it was alright again. The real iceclimbing finally showed itself. We climbed one more variation of the same icefall and went back. Surprise, surprise, even though we were in the village at 5pm or so, our Pizzeria was closed… Da fuck ? Well – this time of year it was open only Fri-Sun… 

On Tuesday before going back we managed to tick another classic Chandelle Levure (nominally WI4/+ but in the conditions we had I think it was easily WI5 if not +).

Drive home was quick, as there was no traffic jams. OK there was one close to the junction with highway to Basel, but with help of Google Maps we managed to avoid it.

Happy days!

Thanks to Rafal for fast climbing and great company !


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