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The pillar "Pilastro dei Venti Polari"
Photo by Ivo Ferrari
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Photo by Ivo Ferrari
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Photo by Ivo Ferrari
Dario and the book Gli archivi ritorvati. Un percorso fra... i monti by Giuseppe Miotti
Photo by Ivo Ferrari

Alta Val Masino and Venti Polari di Ivo Ferrari


Ivo Ferrari and the rock climb Venti Polari, established up Punta Morasachini by Giuseppe "Popi" Miotti, Guido Merizzi and Federico Madonna.

If you turn the corner, and that corner isn't actually that close, then everything seems to become less important, less worthwhile. But certain routes require more than just powerful arms, they need strong legs and a desire to see the past through the eyes of the present.

I asked several people if they "wanted" to join me on Punta Morasachini, in Val Masino. Up there, in the centre of photogenic pillar, Giuseppe "Popi" Miotti, Guido Merizzi and Federico Madonna forged an elegant, natural line prior to the "fabulous" eighties. A route that, as time passed, became ideal for "nostalgic" climbers, as I was told by one of the many whom I approached.

And this stimulated me even more; passing judgement without knowing what I'm talking about isn't in line with my way of of thinking...

We met at five am at the parking lot at Bagni di Masino, Andrea had accepted my invitation! He has already attempted the route before, has scrambled up the long and steep path to its base only to be driven back down after the second of nine pitches due to the power of Nature's storms.

... We're walking in the brisk air on this Sunday in late June, my rucksack weighs me down, everything's packed inside, including Friends and pegs... It isn't hot, but then again this is the year when everything is cool, of fireplaces still being used, of continuous wood smoke...

The many streams we have to cross remind us that winter was long and snowy, the flowers are shy and awkward, so beautiful and yet so delicate, battered as they are by the"strange" weather that is currently making its way across the Alps.

It takes a fair while to reach the base of Pilastro dei Venti Polari, the name given to the pillar by the first ascentionists for their vertical creature. Sweat pours over our bodies, out legs legs work as hard as they can... Hmmm! But once beneath the route, with our shoes in the snow, our eyes drift upwards to enjoy the logic of this sky-bound line.

This year I'm more "nostalgic" than usual, but I think this will continue for a long, long time still. I want to know, find out more, throw everything possible into the pot, more and more every day and weekends never suffice to fill it up. And this is IMPORTANT!

Given the altitude and aspect, I immediately feel the first pitch and any grade you give it would be "cold"... We chat as we climb one pitch after the next, enjoying the panorama via a series of logical flakes and short slabs, a "fun" line isolated from time and from climbing curriculum. The rock requires attention, at times tufts of grass disturb the climbing, it's an old line with few repeats so we have to do some cleaning here and there. There is practically no in-situ pro and a little more than three hundred metres of climbing after a three-hour approach... care is required during the descent, abseil off a peg which my hammer carefully drives back in. I'm lucky to be a "nostalgic".

At first glance it seemed harsh and promised fertile terrain for heroic deeds up monolithic slabs; but it was also beautiful, with its slender pear shape. I climbed it with Guido Merizzi and Federico Madonna during the summer we dedicated to exploring that side of the valley, when we also made a first attempt up Pilastro del Singino. The climb disappointed that part of us that aspired to some sort of performance, but pleased that part of us which, when all is said and done, doesn't disdain easy disguised as impossible. Throughout the day we were harassed by a relentless north wind that sometimes made us consider giving up, and finding a name for the route was really easy therefore. Shortly before Termopili there's a boulder to the right of the path with an overhanging arete (if I remember correctly) facing the lane. We climbed this on our return and combined a big first ascent with a small first ascent. So those who climb Pilastro dei Venti Polari can't say they've repeated it if they don't climb that boulder.


12/04/2013 - Sperlonga, rock climbing, memories and beauty by Ivo Ferrari
03/01/2013 - Hellzapoppin', a journey through the history of climbing Ivo Ferrari





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