It’s been so hot here for so long, the snow hasn’t fallen for more than 2 weeks and the snow that is here is not great for skiing on. It feels much more like Spring than the middle of winter. Not great for skiing but unbelievable for valley ice climbing. Scott John and I are all pretty motivated for steep ice, so we make a plan to head to Cogne in Italy.
Arrived in Cogne about 8.30 with nearly all essential pieces of equipment and head for Tuborg a classic 4+/5 ice route. It had been a while since climbing on water ice and I had forgotten how pumpy, scary, awesome it is, so when offered the lead on the first pitch I was more than keen.
The first 10 m went well, good placements, fairly good screws, sections of vertical, enjoyable climbing, untill… The pump. In no time at all I went from going well to uber pump in seconds making lifting an axe above my head a feat of heroic endeavour. I had full body pump and had to get a screw in to protect myself. So pumped like never before, I waited on vertical ice trying to shake some life into my arms. After 10 minutes or so I had regained enough strength to carry on and made it to the top, taking over 1h30m to lead the pitch! Not good form, usually would only take 30m max. I need to improve alot more before attempting more serious routes in the mountains.
John lead the second pitch well and we abed down the line without any problems. Pleased to get back to the bags for the most calorific homemade flatjack coutesy of Roberts.
Woke up on Wednesday so stiff after the full body pump from the day before. Soon loosened up on the walk in to the trient valley from the Col du Forclaz, on route to climb 4 pitches of ice. Beautiful day great setting, great to be climbing with John and Scott, life is good!
Feeling much more comfortable on ice today, and helped by a more relaxed angle, we motor up the route, good quality ice, good angle, varied, enjoyable. Great climbing and psyched for life!