Hi all, sorry for the gap in the conditions reports. We’ve had our heads down, working hard on finishing the house off so haven’t had much time to play!
Well firstly the ice. We have until the last couple of days had extremely cold conditions with temperatures staying well below zero during the day and night time temps as low as -16 at this level. As a consequence all the routes in the gorge which have formed are now in full swing and all the major lines are seeing regular ascents. Going up the first pitch of Catedrale sinistra a week ago the placements made by others were obvious and there were three teams on the falls climbing in parallel. The ice was excellent here and as thick as you’d ever need!
We followed this with an ascent of Rugadia, a route with a mixed section to start with – I would say it was in lean conditions at the start, with secure placements difficult to come by as you transitioned from rock to ice – a few rock pieces or a bulldog for a shallow turf placement would have helped here as the run out ended up being a good 5m to a poor shallow ice screw which was only just attatched. Probably a little harder than the grade 4 suggested in the guide. Also the “chains” at the top leave something to be desired.
For a third route that day, we climbed Clessidra 3+, again fully fat ice. James Davis who was visiting earlier in the season attempted this after a heavy snow fall and almost got knocked off by an avalanche triggered by a vehicle crossing the bridge above! So be careful. Otherwise a cracking route. Unfortunately I forgot my camera!
Cascata Digonera II 3+
A few days later I got out again with my neighbour Federico Sordini for our first route together to climb the easily accessed Digonera falls. This is literally a roadside crag with a walking of less than a minute! At 3+ and two pitches it was an excellent route, with a short vertical section on the first pitch. Previous snowfalls had left sections which were a little aerated and required care, but were on shallow sections so not a problem. The second pitch again had a few areas of fragile ice but overall the climbing was really really enjoyable and it was good to get away from the gorge.
Since then we had another fairly major snowfall of about 25cm last Thursday and Friday. This gave way to clear but fairly windy conditions and today a Foehn wind was in full effect – I even ventured out in a t-shirt as temperatures were about 5 degrees above. This means that care needs to be taken off piste as the wind sours northern slopes and deposits on other aspects – make sure you assess your routes carefully. Skiing on piste with the recent snows is in good shape