ICE or In Cogne Experiences !

By , February 13, 2016 6:07 pm

It has been a strange winter so far, cold temperatures and heaps of snow one day followed by rock-climbing in a tee-shirt weather the next !

Recently I spent a happy week ice climbing in Cogne (Italy). Happy because there is ice to climb in Cogne and despite the extreme popularity of the place we climbed everyday and didn’t get taken out by any big chunks of ice. Because their position under the glaciers of the Grand Paradiso the valleys surrounding Cogne stay colder and have a steady flow of glacial melt water and this is why Cogne is an Ice Climbers paradise !

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Natalie demonstrating excellent technique whilst training on the first day.

The Jagged Globe team consisted of guides, Andy Owen, Neil Brodie and Myself. Then Natalie, Jim, Jason,Nigel and Sebastian. There was also Paul Farmer with his client Simon also staying at the Hotel La Barme and ensuring that the sarcasm level was maintained at healthy levels !

We spent the first day doing some technique training in the Cascade Lillaz. This is a superb place to start with ice of all angles just a very short walk from the car park ! It was with tired arms that we then headed to the Hotel La Barme for Beers and later a lovely meal.

The next day Neil with Seb and Jason and Me with Natalie and Nigel walked up the Valnontey to the base of a route called L’Acheronte.  This proved to be a long (300m) route with a mountain style feel to it. And we had it to ourselves !

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Natalie and Nigel on L’Acheronte (Grade 3)

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Seb and Jason on the last pitch of L’Acheronte

The next day we went to the neighboring, shorter and slightly harder route of Patri (3+to 4+depending on where climbed). This time we weren’t so lucky and shared the route with at least 30 others. Perhaps Neil’s suggestion that he was secretly accessing the french aspirants relations with other icefall users was taken seriously, (He is a trainer for the french guides! ) as everything was very amicable despite the crowds.

Day 4 and we went back to Lillaz as a number of the team were keen to have some more technical input and perhaps do some leading. Another great day was had with Nigel and Seb doing their first lead climbs on water ice, ice screws placed, belays and v threads built and we climbed the remaining pitches in Lillaz.

 

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Natalie and Jason on the last pitch of Cascade Lilaz. And no one dropped my ice screws into the pool !

 

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Andy Owen leading the crux pitch of ‘E Tutto Relativo’

On the 5th and final day we had a bit of a reshuffle of teams. Jim, I think, had been worn out by Andy and wanted an easier day (Alas that wasn’t to be!). Natalie requested a near death experience so was teamed up with Andy and Nigel for ‘E Tutto Relativo’ (grade 4). Jason and I did the first 2 pitches and acted a team photographers.  Neil with Jim and Seb had a very long and adventurous time on ‘Hard Ice in the Rock’ (grade 4) !

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Natalie launching into the steep crux of ‘E tutto Relativo’

Thanks everyone for a great week of Italian Ice, Birra, Panini, Vino Rosso and great wit and repartee ! If you want to see more photos follow the Cogne link.