Cugi's Corner, new route up the NW Face of Cimon di Palantina
On 5 March 2011 the Italians Barry Bona and Simone Favero established Cugi's Corner, a new route up the NW Face of Cimon di Palantina (Col Nudo-Cavallo moutain chain, Alpago, Dolomites).
The new route on Cimon di Palantina couldn't have been given a different name: the first ascentionists Barry Bona and Simone Favero are cousins, cugini in Italian, hence the nickname "Cugi" for the two who have been climbing regularly together for a number of years.
With this latest ascent - which comes in the wake of the recent Questo Gioco di fantasmi established with Peter Moser - Bona has now climbed the last logical line up Cimon di Palantina. Cugi follows a steep, beautiful corner and is one of those routes which the mountains create on their own accord, without forcing contrived lines. The route is demanding, with one 6+ ice pitch and a couple of difficult mixed sections and in its current state - read little ice - it offered little pro.
CUGIS CORNER by Simone Favero
We met up as usual on Thursday evening at the climbing wall Puos dAlpago. As usual more for Barry than for me, seeing that I've had three months off due to a climbing accident and I've never been a great fan of bouldering. But there we were, we started doing traverses and my cugi mentioned "Hey cugi, on Saturday shall we climb Cimon?" I couldn't but reply "Yes, but you do all the leading."
We met up at 8.00am at Tambre, quickly checked our gear and drove off in Barry's car to Col Indes. We reached the Mognol barracks effortlessly, in the company of a handful of ski mountaineers, then we strapped on our snowshoes and beat the trail all the way to the base of the mountain. The snow kept changing consistency with every step and reaching the base (circa 2 hours from Col Indes) proved tiring. We proceeded up the first gully unroped and this brought us to the first belay at a stunted larch tree. Conditions were acceptable despite the lack of ice and we were happy in the corner: it was cold but at least we were out of the wind
The route proved more demanding than expected with seven continuous pitches, the belays weren't exactly comfortable and the mixed sections were made more difficult by the various quantities of ice. This was real mixed climbing, with some dry sections giving way to slivers of ice in the corner. Only the last pitch offered some respite and the angle eased off a bit to settle down at 65°.
This was the first time I've established a route, in very particular and changing mixed conditions. The climbing was extremely aleatory due to the lack of pro and perhaps this was the biggest challenge in this sort of environment. The route is hard, especially if you consider the approach and the descent with an abseil down a spur into a shoulder-deep snow gully.
I always enjoy climbing with Barry and thanks to his calm approach and our emotional bond we always manage to see the lighter side of everything, even during tense moments, especially during the first ascent when climbing into a dead end is a variable which needs bearing in mind.
When we summited we replied to Alvio's cries. Alvio is Barry's father and therefore my uncle and he had watched our ascent through his telephoto lens. He was the third member of our little group and had climbed the opposite face and his shouts were wonderful. The excitement and tension finally eased when we all met up at the base and hugged each other with joy. This is also and above all what climbing the mountains close to home is all about: climbing with cousins, sharing the same objectives, sharing the same joy is what I really value.
Simone Favero thanks the technical sponsor CAMP Cassin
|Mixed line which follows a logical rocky corner, just to the left of the pillar and Questo gioco di Fantasmi. The rock is friable in sections and at times both dirty and covered in grass, meaning that favourable ice conditions are imperative for a successful ascent.|