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Valle di Riofreddo
Photo by archivio Dejan Koren
Valle di Riofreddo
Photo by archivio Dejan Koren
Valle di Riofreddo
Photo by archivio Dejan Koren
Valle di Riofreddo
Photo by archivio Dejan Koren

Gladiator, new icefall in Valle Riofreddo


On 26/01/2013 the Slovenians Dejan Koren and Boötjan Mikuû made the first ascent of Gladiator (205 m, IV, M7-, WI6, X, R) a difficult new icefall on Cima delle Cenge, Valle di Riofreddo (Tarvisio, Tridente area), Italy.

It's no secret: hidden in the folds of Val Riofreddo, and in particular the Tridente area, lie some of Italy’s most beautiful, difficult and even wild icefalls. And it’s no secret that this is one of the “refrigerators” of the Alps, where solitude reigns supreme.  Slovenia’s talented Dejan Koren fell in love with this part of the Julian Alp, and in 2011 Koren made a rare repeats of the impressive drip Mr. Risk, first ascended in 2003 by the superb partnership comprised of Romano Benet and Luca Vuerich. A short while later Koren made the first ascent of Mr Luca (M7 WI/7) a difficult 100m variant to the left of Mr Risk dedicated Luca Vuerich, the friend and alpinist who left us far too early. Koren now checks in with Gladiator, climbed together with Boötjan Mikuû. 205 meters of di IV, M7-, WI6, X, R difficult and extremely beautiful in a valley – called cold river -that has evidently, as he himself states, "remained etched in my heart."

by Dejan Koren

There’s nothing better than returning to where we feel best. The valley of Riofreddo has remained etched in my heart. There’s silence and few people, and this contributes in giving the valley a severe appearance. I had been there two years ago and had written: eight years previously, when I still knew little about steep ice climbing, a friend of mine had sent me pictures of the Riofreddo valley. He had indicated the impressive drip taken by Mr. Risk and climbed by the two local alpinists Romano Benet and Luca Vuerich who had first seen the possibility of climbing this line. Immediately repeated by Gricar Prezeli and Markic. Then, for eight years, no one else had succeeded.

I returned in 2011 with my friends to repeat it. An overhanging face, free-hanging ice, everything you might expect from a route like that. In just one word, "wonderful," and we are enchanted by setting. We returned the following week and established a 100m variation  to the left, Mr. Luca, in honour of Luca Vuerich, the alpinist who died too young.

Over Christmas and New Year we "played" on the Vipava cliffs and took part in some ice climbing competitions and then decided to pay "our" valley another visit. There were four of us and beneath the face with Tine we discovered exactly why this valley is called Riofreddo. Bostjan and Elvis climbed a new route, Alpine 2014. Tine and I repeated Contrasto and the following day, with Bostjan, I climbed the monstrous Benet-Vuerich route Balance which crosses through the entire amphitheatre and finishes at the lip. Even then we realized that we’d be back before too long.

Sunday, January 27, 2013. Bostjan  and I stood below the face, the idea was to forge a new line. It seemed nice and logical and not too difficult. But yes, it turned out to be difficult and demanding, especially in the final pitches… we recommend repeat ascentionists brings pegs and friends (C 0.5-1). Gladiator is a fantastic route and offers everything, from vertical ice to mixed terrain. We left one in-situ peg and descended down the icefall. This route now completes the collage of icefalls in this valley.

Gladiator, Cima delle Cenge, Valle di Riofreddo
Dejan Koren - DeKo and Bostjan Mikuz (MONTURA, Singing Rock) 26/01/2013
Length: 205 m
Grade: IV, M7-, WI6, X, R

1. Polvere bianca - Marco Milanese and Alex Franco 80m IV, 1L WI 4, 2L WI 5
2. Mix and rasta tricks - Marco Milanese and Fabrizio della Rossa 80m V, M5+, WI 5+ (March 2011)
3. Per Leila - Luca Vuerich and Marco Milanese 120m IV, WI 6+/7- (January 2009)
4. Tridente - Alessandro di Lenardo and Luca Vuerich 90m IV, WI (6 March 1996)
5. Super Stridente - Luca Vuerich and Federico Compassi 100m IV, WI6 (February 2009)
6. Equilibrio - Luca Vuerich and Romano Benet 205 m, IV, WI6 February 2003)
7. Gladiator - Dejan Koren and Boötjan Mikuû 205 m, IV, M7-, WI6, X, R (26.1.2013)
8. Alpino 2014 - Boötjan Mikuû and Elvis Furlani 200 m, III, WI4/5 (29.12.2012)
9. Canale - Alessandro di Lenardo and Luca Vuerich 600 m, IV, WI4+ (January 2002)
10. Contrasto - Alessandro di Lenardo and Luca Vuerich 150 m, IV, WI6 (January 2002)
11. Vibra - Andrej Magajne and Simon Slejko 180 m, IV, WI6-, X (February 2003)
12. Mr Luca - Dejan Koren and Boötjan Bizjak 100 m (140 m), III, M7, WI7, X, R (January 2011)
13. Mr Risk - Luca Vuerich and Romano Benet 140 m, III, WI7, X, R (February 2003)
14. Riofreddo - Alessandro di Lenardo and Luca Vuerich 500 m, III, WI5 (March 1996)





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