Spigolo Anja, new rock climb in the Dolomites
On 31/07/2013 Maurizio Bergamo and Ferruccio Svaluto Moreolo made the first ascent of Spigolo Anja (VII, 200m), a new route up the Bastione del Mondeval, Lastoni di Formin, Dolomites. The report by Maurizio Bergamo.
A route with Ferruccio at last. And what's more, a new one! We've known each other for 20 years, we're part of the same Mountain Rescue squad and are both members of the Ragni di Pieve mountaineering club the Group Spiders, yet for various reasons we've never managed to climb together in the mountains.
I admire Ferruccio greatly; mountain guide, alpinist with a impressive curriculum (hundreds of new routes in the Dolomites, important winter ascents and expeditions to the Greater Ranges) and now also a talented sculptor. Above all though Ferruccio is both humble and shy, two attributes that don't stop him though from sharing his mountain adventures in a fun and intelligent manner.
The chance to climb together came about one evening at the mountain rescue station, when "Ferro" invited me to help him establish a new route up Lastoi de Formin, a mountain group in the Dolomites located in the commune of San Vito di Cadore but part of the Ampezzo valley as it lies in between the Pelmo and Passo Giau. He mentions a summit, right at the end of the Lastoi bastion, with a crack line running all the way from the top to the bottom. A classic looking line he hopes has never been climbed before. At times he's tried routes he thought untouched only to discover, while climbing them, that others had been there previously. And this might well have been the case on the Lastoni di Formin, seeing that after the classic lines were climbed, the alpinists (in particular Mario Dibona) focussed on establishing bolted routes up the smooth slabs that quickly became extremely popular (Love my dogs, to name but one).
I willingly accepted Ferro's offer. I was sure that despite having climbed for the last 24 years, I still had plenty to learn from watching him in action. We decided to climb on 31 July, we'd meet at 7:00 at his home in Pieve di Cadore, I'd bring the ropes, hammer and pegs, he'd bring the rest (friends, nuts). That morning I left Pozzale, picked up Ferro and we continued on up to Passo Giau. After a quick coffee at the Refuge and an hour's walk we reached the base of the face. The day was beautiful, like so many during the beautiful summer of 2013.
We looked at each other for a moment and asked ourselves: "who'll start?" For a moment I thought I'd start, then let him take over higher up, when the going got tougher, but in the end he set off, because he'd already racked up while I sat around and pondering about what to do. The first pitch climbed smooth grey rock, first up a crack, then past smooth slabs to belay on a small ledge where it joined the crack line that ran down the entire face. I reached my partner and thought “yes, I too could have led this pitch, but it's too late and anyway, it matters little.” We looked up and since the second pitch seemed more challenging, there wasn't a shadow of doubt: Ferro would continue the lead. I watched him climb calmly, only rarely shouting “watch me here” as he placed quickly placed just the right size pro each time. He climbed well, making large splits and then making high rock overs. Despite my rucksack I climbed smoothly and climbing past the rood and the crack to join him. Ferruccio set off again, straight up the crack, past some elegant looking moves. Time passed quickly, as always when you climb; on this pitch though I heard Ferruccio cuss because the pegs weren't going in as easily as he had hoped. I seconded him up another elegant pitch with a pleasant finish and this led to another short pitch, the last. Here the geology of the Dolomites made things slightly more complicated for us, with a steep overlap. Ferro set off, protected himself well as usual, then fought past the overlap, placed some gear and reached the corner that led off right towards the summit. I seconded and the roof really was rather difficult, then I strolled up the beautiful corner to the top. We were pleased with our new route, shook hands and we congratulated each other.
I asked him about the last pitch and wondered whether he'd struggled and he replied "yes a little, because I didn't want to rest on some gear right at the very end." Before today I've always rather stupidly believed that a mere 200m route isn't particularly interesting. But climbed in such a pure style things change completely and I'm glad I've now changed my mind. As we descended I asked him a question that I hoped he'd answer with a "no!" seeing that he'd already established so many new routes: "Have you already though of a name for the new route?" He said what I secretly wanted to hear and, once again, showed his true worth. So I suggested we name the line after my wife Anna. Ferruccio accepted the idea and hence the name, a classic, in keeping with the type of route we'd just climbed: Spigolo Anja, Anja's arête.
Thanks again Ferro for the splendid day together and the things you shared. In life one never stops learning.
Maurizio Bergamo, Gruppo Ragni Pieve di Cadore CNSAS Centro Cadore on 31/07/2013
TOPO: Spigolo Anja, Lastoni di Formin, Dolomites