Via del 149°, new route on Monte Disgrazia, Central Alps
On Sunday 21 August two teams comprised of Michele Comi, Luca Maspes, Stefano Mogavero and Popi Miotti made the first ascent of "Via del 149°" up the hitherto unclimbed SE spur of the eastern pre-summit of Monte Disgrazia 3483m (Valtellina, Central Alps) as a foretaste to next year's celebrations for the 150th anniversary of the first ascent of the mountain.
When one talks about the fact that the Alps still hold plenty in store, and not only for alpinism, this isn't always done for the sake of stating good intentions. Proof of this comes from the new route by the tried-and-tested teams of alpinists comprised of Michele Comi, Luca Maspes, Stefano Mogavero and Popi Miotti. What is needed, as usual, is a bit of imagination and the ability to deal with some discomforts, such as hiking up a fair bit, as well as sleeping beneath the stars. Because the unclimbed SE Spur of the eastern pre-summit of Monte Disgrazia isn't a mere stone's throw away...
So our four musketeers had to subject themselves to a bivy at the nearby Laghetti di Cassandra in a lonesome environment dominated by elegant towers. The next morning the team made the long climb, 680m vertical height gain for circa 800m in length up generally good to excellent rock and with difficulties up to VII-.
This is how “Via del 149°” came to life, the 149th route for those in search of adventure far removed from the crowds. As Michele Comi explains below and Luca Maspes shows in his video, this new route is the ideal start to the 150th anniversary of Monte Disgrazia which will be celebrated next year. This historic ascent was carried out in 1862 by the Englishmen Edward Shirley Kennedy, Leslie Stephen and Thomas Cox along with Swiss Mountain Guide Melchior Anderegg.
VIA DEL 149° - MONTE DISGRAZIA by Michele Comi
The group of aspiring first ascentionists of Disgrazia, comprised of Englishmen Edward Shirley Kennedy, Leslie Stephen and Thomas Cox and Swiss Mountain Guide Melchior Anderegg, reached Valmalenco in August 1862 and immediately observed the mountain from Sasso Nero 2921m directly opposite the Disgrazia massif. Astute Melchior excluded a frontal attack, directly from Chiesa Valmalenco, due to the steep walls and red rock pinnacles deemed unclimbable at the time. For this reason they opted to ascend up Val di Chiareggio to within a stone's throw from the summit, which they eventually reached during a second attempt from neighbouring Val Masino. In time this route has been confirmed as being the simplest and most direct way to the summit. After the first ascent all corners of the mountain were explored, bas a solitary spur there were the Englishmen preferred not to go because of the complex nature of the mountain. In this remote corner on Sunday 21 August Popi Miotti, Luca Maspes, Stefano Mogavero and I unearthed a line which climbs in breathtaking surroundings, has a classic feel to it and ascends the pilar next to the tormented Cassandra glacier. The idea of this route came while preparing a book about Monte Disgrazia which is just one of the ways we will celebrate the 150th anniversary of the first ascent. The name “Via del 149°”, was intended to mark the start of the countdown.
by Michele Comi
Via del 149° - SE spur of the eastern pre-summit of Monte Disgrazia 3483m (Valtellina, Central Alps)
680m vertical height gain, 800m in length. On the whole the rock is good to excellent and the difficulties never exceed VII-.