Marco Anghileri: first solo ascent of L'Ultimo Zar on Pale di San Lucano
On 13 and 14 ocotber 2011 Marco Anghileri carried out the first solo ascent of "L'Ultimo Zar" (500m, 7+ A3). This is the 5th solo climb this season, all carried out in the Lecco Grigna area.
No one knows how many "plans" and projects an alpinist has in mind. Italian Marco "Batch" Anghileri certainly has an infinite number. Like the one which took him to the foot of Pilastro Titan to make the first solo ascent of L'ultimo Zar. Established by Ivo Ferrari and Gianpaolo Galiazzo in 1997, this route has been defined by many as a true "pearl" in the wild Dolomite garden of the Pale di San Lucano. Anghileri had been taken in immediately by its beauty, love at first sight. Which blossomed as soon as the route was established. And exploded when he saw a photo of that great pillar. And which remained there, for years, lost in his desires, suspended amongst the various "plans", projects and dreams which nourish all mountaineers and sometimes, seldom, come true.
It all took place last week, between Thursday 13th and Friday 14th October. Or rather, in line with the infinite plans, it all began far earlier, just over a fortnight ago when Batch discovered that the road to the Pillar of his dreams was barred by a policeman. "Driving licence please", just a few kilometres from home, was followed by the bitter discovery that the document had expired (months ago). This would have been enough to put everyone down. But certainly not Anghileri. He, you'll no doubt have understood, fosters idea, desires and plans (a,b,c...) like collector's items. A love, it has to be said, which he doesn't seem to share for documents and which above all seems to have been wholly unpopular with those who enforce law and order... but it's well known, no one is perfect.
And so, on the Monday 3 October, in the blink of an eye he came up with his reserve plan, no longer in the Dolomites but on his backyard mountain, Grigna. Which turned out to be the first solo of via del Det up the West Face of Punta del Forcellino. 450 metres graded VI- and A3, established in 1960 by legendary Giuseppe "Det" Alippi together with his cousin Gigi Alippi, which Marco now climbed with one bivvy, seeing that the morning had been wasted renewing his licence.
To get a better idea of the "plans", it's worth underlining that the climb on "Forcellino" also the marked the end of chapter, as Anghileri had previously also climbed two other important routes established by "Det" in Grigna, namely lasyt July on Sasso Cavallo and Torrione Costanza. Both routes are demanding and beautiful. Both present some "surprising" aid sections (up friable rock) and free climbing. But there is more to come. Last July Anghileri also soloed the Direttissima dei Ragni on Torrione Cecilia. This too is another "forgotten" climb which proved a beautiful experience with some sections of sustained difficult aid which he climbed using pegs instead of the oringal pressure bolts. Confirmation, if confirmation were needed, that "adventure is just a stone's throw away from home."
So before even climbing the Gran Pilastro of the Prima Pala di San Lucano, Anghileri had already carried out a fair few of his recent plans. And these obviously don't include some of his previous ascents, such as the first winter solo of Via Solleder on Civetta in 2000. And so on this latest Dolomite adventure, Anghileri set off as if it was his first ever. He shouldered his rucksack and started up the long, wild and amazing approach. And then climbed those 500 beautiful, vertical meters. Slowly but surely, self belaying. Because racing upwards, or "being there to enjoy two days of freedom", are two completely different experiences.
Throughout his ascent his was drawn in by the surroundings and the two middle pitches, the first graded 7+ and the second A3. These barred the way to the summit. But when he reached them, everything ran smoothly and he even climbed the crux section in a single pitch. He summited the next day after having bivvied on a splendid garden of pine trees. And then? "I went for a walk" he told us. "After those marvellous 500m where I came across only 4 pegs and I used only nuts and friends, I enjoyed the most beautiful valley in the world. I wanted to go on walkabouts... and I'm still there in spirit." There, lost amongst infinite "projects".
Marco Anghileri solo reports with photos and texts in the Italian Forum of PlanetMountain
>> L'ultimo Zar, Prima Pala di San Lucano (Dolomiti)
>> Via del Det a Punta del Forcellino, Grigna
>> Direttissima dei Ragni al Torrione Cecilia, Grigna
>> Via del Det al Torrione Costanza, Grigna
>> via del Det al Sasso Cavallo, Grigna