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Manuel Panizza on P2 of Mello’s Moon
Photo by arch. Fabio Salini
Mello’s Moon
Photo by arch. Fabio Salini
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Mello's Moon, new icefall in Val di Mello


On 16/01/2009 Fabio Salini and Manuel Panizza carried out the first ascent of Mello's Moon (180m, III-5+), a rare ice formation in Val di Mello, Val Masino.

Mello’s Moon is one of those evanescent icefalls which you need to wait for and which, when they finally form, is never in condition to enable you to remain calm. You need to watch it carefully and choose just the right moment for the climb. This is exactly what Fabio Salini and Manuel Panizza did, placing 5 bolts to climb this 180m beautiful and frightful "crust" of ice which goes at III-5+. Salini recounts the climb

Mello’s Moon by Fabio Salini
For a couple of years an icefall which really didn't want to form completely appeared in front of Cascina Piana. This year seemed to the right moment, even if it seemed nothing more that a thin crust, but at least it reached the ground. The problem seemed to be difficult to resolve by traditional means; the thickness of the ice indicated that we'd have to attempt with a drill and 100m bolts. Leaving Cascina Piana behind us, we quickly reached the base of the route.

Right from the outset we realised that it would be a long day, in part due to our dampened desire to use the drill. The first pitch was short and not difficult, but we couldn't protect it with icescrews as the ice was too thin, except for a short ice screw which went in 2/3 of the way. The second pitch on the other hand was more demanding and climbed up thin ice.

After Manuel Panizza had placed the first four bolts things suddenly changed: the ice which up to that point had been thin but glued to the granite now began to become unstuck. We switched leads, so I fought my way to the belay, adding a fifth and final bolt on pitch 2.

After 8 hours of work what remained were the final 60m. The ice still fell straight down but was thicker than before. After a few minutes of extraordinary work Panizza managed to solve this porblem. We abseiled off Abalakovs and enjoyed the valley, illuminated by the stars.

Fabio Salini






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