Merà Dimel, new Presolana winter climb by Yuri Parimbelli, Tito Arosio and Ennio Spiranelli
On 13 January the Italian alpinists Yuri Parimbelli, Tito Arosio and Ennio Spiranelli made the first ascent of Merà Dimel (650m, AI 4 M6) up Anticima delle Quattro Matte, Presolana, Italy.
Sometimes all that's needed is a quick glance at a photo to realise that something important has just been climbed. Like Merà Dimel, the latest creation put up by the Italians Yuri Parimbelli, Tito Arosio and Ennio Spiranelli who, after having established Piantobaldo in 2011, recently turned to Mount Presolana in the Italian Alps to forge a new line up Anticima delle Quattro Matte. The area is described as "fairly unknown" and "forgotten" and the route follows an obvious, deep gully attempted once before in 2013 by Parimbelli and Spiranelli. At the time the two climbed up to the fifth pitch, but prohibitive conditions forced a retreat. This year the truly peculiar conditions on the "Queen", as this peak is fondly referred to, encouraged them to try again, together with young Tito Arosio. On 13 January three generations tied into the same rope, breached difficulties up to AI 4 M6 and created, in Spiranelli's words: "... a beautiful journey, difficult, precarious, circa 650m of not really ideal quality rock, inconsistent snow, ice not really like on Mont Blanc. But the ambient, the line and the fun were absolute tops."
MERA' DIMEL by Tito Arosio
Everyone knows that Ennio's imagination concerning Presolana has no rivals, and for a number of years he's been carefully studying this "forgotten" part of this mountain. Last year he and Yuri checked out the "little gully"... and after our ascent on Monday 13 January 2014, this diminutive term certainly won't be used again!
This year the somewhat bizarre winter conditions led us to believe that the gully might be in condition, actually, we feared that because of the warm temperatures the snow and turf hadn't frozen properly (the latter really worried me as I far prefer some frozen turf to ice). Ennio decided that the time had come and asked Yuri and myself to join him.
We set off early from Colere; the somewhat too early wake-up call resulted in a pretty good slip during the approach, but this meant I was ready for action when we reached the base. Yuri set off up a nice vertical pitch comprised of hard snow, completely detached from the rock face. He then led another 3 pitches to below the massive central step, and here the tune changed: a steep 60m wall barred our way. Yuri launche upwards determined and brilliantly climbed the first 30m to a beautiful corner, pulling off some fantastic but equally precarious moves.
The belay was located in a comfortable niche and from here the corner transformed into a narrow chimney. Really narrow! Yuri let me take over and I soon realised that here, more than climb, I'd have to crawl. I started up and after just a few meters I felt exhausted; although it was difficult to fall here, it was just as difficult to make upwards progress and at one point I even had to take my helmet off. A final, dodgy move let me climb onto a snow mushroom, from where I then crawled through a hole onto the snow slope above where I set up belay.
The gully split into two above us and the original plan was to climb the left fork, up the gloomy chimney, but we realised that there were at least another three pitches like the two we'd just done. Since we didn't have too much time to spare we opted for the right fork and, as we ascended, we realised it wasn't quite as easy as we'd thought.
Ennio climbed a pitch of snow, turf and ice and, highly satisfied, even managed to use a snarg he'd proudly brought with him all the way from the '80's. A few less demanding pitches, marked by short but not particularly easy rock steps, led to the cornice at the top of the gully.
We'd done it, and after a short rest to eat and drink we abseiled back down the route. The descent went smoothly, we weren't in a rush and as soon as we touched base we headed off to the Nevada pub where Emilio welcomed us with his usual smile!