Stalattica, Livigno icefall first ascent by Salini and Panizza
Fabio Salini and Emanuel Panizza have carried out the first ascent of Stalattica (60m, IV,5,X), a beautiful ice fall in the Livingo area, Italy.
Seize the day with extreme caution and cross your fingers: this is the story of the first ascent of the incredible ice column which drops vertically for over 40m high above Livigno. 40 beautiful free-standing meters, suspended in mid-air. Usually these break before touching the ground but this year the missile formed fully, proving to be an irresistabel temptation to Fabio Salini and Emanuel Panizza who, with heart-flutter, seized the day for the first ascent of Stalattica. Not to be repeated... ;-)
STALATTICA by Fabio Salini
Winter has come to an end, but before putting my axes away for good I decided to take a final look at the coldest valleys. I was surprised that the so-called "small Tibet" awaited me with the most unexpected of presents: Stalattica, a famous icefall in the Livigno area which had never been climbed before.
The icefall is an incredible 40m free standing drip which usually breaks before reaching the ground, shattering the illusion. But things worked out differently this time, the drip gently touched the ground and the dream, for once, came to life.
I ascended up to Lake Livigno and Stalattica together with Emanuel Panizza. We ascended the slopes with out skis, then continued with on foot with crampons. We reached the base in a couple of hours, terrorised by the vision of this gigantic fall.
A mix of fear and attraction sent us into ecstasy, but our feet trembled. We searched in vain for a reason not to start, it seemed impossible that a 40m free standing drip could hold our weight and withstand our attempt to climb it.
We made our decision: after holding my breath for 10 vertical meters I placed an icescrew which marked the point of no return. From here on it was a race to place a screw at least above the roof of the fall and this was followed by a liberating scream - in reality a silent whisper.
At the end of the 60m I made an Abalakov abseil and removed all the icescrews to enable Emanuel to enjoy the same emotions.
Stalattica - Livingo
First ascent: Fabio Salini & Emanuel Panizza
Note: the icefall is extremely dangerous and risks collapsing