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IS ICE SEASON OVER ALREADY? GETTING DRIPPY IN COGNE, ITALY

I guided a couple days in Cogne, Italy for Dream Guides over the weekend. Cogne is the center of Alps ice climbing in this region. Chamonix has a lot of ice, but it's much more dependent on good conditions.

By Dylan Taylor

March 01, 2014 11:00

I guided a couple days in Cogne, Italy for Dream Guides over the weekend. Cogne is the center of Alps ice climbing in this region. Chamonix has a lot of ice, but it's much more dependent on good conditions.

While in Cogne during this mid-winter heat wave, we watched some routes start to fall apart for the season. The cascade du lillaz was climbable four days ago. Today it's gone (the Goulotte de Lillaz will be good for a few more weeks).

On the final day of our three-day course I took my two guests to Patri (WI4) and Acheronte (WI3)- they're almost always in condition - and almost always crowded. It takes 1.5 hours of flat walking to get to the base of the routes. 

Patri was in great shape, and with a little flexibility, it was easy to avoid falling ice from parties above. There are lots of ledges and lots of snow piles to capture falling shards. One can never be too cautious though.

 

The next day, I went back to Cogne with Geoff Unger. We wanted to climb Stella Artice (WI5) but the bottom looked too warm, wet, and rotten. So we climbed Cold Couloir (WI4) instead. How Ironic, nowhere on the route were we cold. We were obliged to pass a team of friendly (but slow) Brits on the second pitch, as we wanted to top the thing out, and that involves about 700-900 meters of ascent through 7-8 pitches of ice and a lot of snow slogging at the top. The descent was trickier than we though. I'd like to bring my paraglider next time to save my knees.

 

Basically the best beta is to veer up and right after the ice ends, keep traversing, looking for a ridge of snow/rock/grass that descends back down to the valley bottom below you. Follow goat trails down exposed grassy ledges when you can, and the terrain will funnel you into a snow gully with two pitches of ice (rap with v-threads) at the bottom. Then a flat walk takes you back to your car.

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Dylan Taylor is an AMGA certified, IFMGA licensed mountain guide, feild guide and photographer.

Phone: 00 33 6 78 32 13 84
Email: dylan@thealpineeffect.com

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