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On the left the final section of Magnaghi, the last face to be climbed
Photo by M. Anghileri
The beautiful dark grey limestone of the Bonatti route on Bastionata del Resegone
Photo by M. Anghileri
The final section of the beatiful traverse on the Bonatti route on Medale
Photo by M. Anghileri
The starting crack of via Clara at Magnaghi
Photo by M. Anghileri

A great day out: 5 Walter Bonatti routes climbed by Marco Anghileri


The great enchainment carried out by Italian alpinist Marco Anghileri on 25 June 2013. 5 routes first climbed by Walter Bonatti: on Bastionata del Resegone, Medale, Torre Costanza, Ago Teresita, Magnaghi. All repeated in a single day. Anghileri travelled by bike or on foot, but above all he climbed. His story of this great day of climbing.

There's not much to add to what Marco Anghileri defines as a nice day out in the mountains. A superb day out, we'd add, in particular for those who know the 5 Walter Bonatti routes that Anghileri repeated the other day, starting from his home at Lecco by bike. Climbing solo and in rapid succession the Bastionata del Resegone, Medale and then, in Grigna, Torre Costanza, Ago Teresita and finish off with Magnaghi is a huge and difficult undertaking. Even more so if they routes are enchained either by bike or on foot. Maybe though this isn't the point. We've always said and believed that one needs a touch of imagination in climbing and alpinism, in this case though one could add a 'healthy' dose of 'madness. Or rather, a love that has no ulterior motive. Let us explain ourselves better: this new enchainment could easily be cataloged as some new "record." Some have even mentioned it could make headline news in some important international magazines. But that would be missing the point, as Anghileri certainly wasn't intent on setting who knows what record. Otherwise, do you really think he would have stopped off in two bars? Would he not have planned it all better, organised some logistical support? Had he done so, that 18-hour trip (he set off from home at 4 and returned to the base of Magnaghi at 22) would certainly have been faster. But something would certainly, at least for us, have gone missing. Probably the "soul" one perceives in his report of this beautiful day. We recommend you read it in one go, and take a deep breath beforehand... because the punctuation is a deliberate enchainment. A final note: last Saturday Walter Bonatti would have celebrated his 83rd birthday. Who knows, maybe he smiled at this long enchainment up his routes.

A BEAUTIFUL DAY by Marco Anghileri

Past and present, free climbing and aid, speed and slowness, light and darkness, sun and clouds, hot and cold, strength and fatigue, courage and fear, certainties and uncertainties! A day in the mountains! A long day out in the backyard mountains to have fun and discover, indeed, to re-discover all those aspects you carry deep within, experienced during years of beautiful days spent in the mountains!

Maybe I required a little more than the usual blast to the top of a mountain, perhaps what I needed was that rare awareness of being able to enjoy an entire day out, possibly that freedom of not having any commitments with anyone else and in particular not myself (were I to have got bored, I would simply have changed plans and done something else), maybe I was driven by the desire to pay tribute to one of the greats of alpinism, perhaps I yearned for a healthy dose of imagination... perhaps with all these fundamental, wonderful ingredients the outcome could not have been different!
I found everything that I had searched for. And this time, perhaps even more so that in the past, I really enjoyed playing the beautiful game of enchainments!

Leaving home by bicycle early in the morning and in total darkness because you've decided you want to try to do everything in a "pure" style, feel the fatigue set in in your legs as you push the pedals, something you haven't done for years, leave the bike chained to the pole, synchronise your breath and legs as you start to walk while you feel the cycling tiredness disappear, reach the first face and listen to nature as it wakes with you, start right at the base by climbing a different route (Nuovi orizzonti) in order to enjoy the entire face, the Resegone bastion, touch the first holds of the day and feel the first climbing sensations that then accompany you during all those vertical metres, climb free, completely free because you've decided that this is how you want to climb the first two routes, stop for split seconds to get used to this type of rock that you never touch, feel bothered by the final wet metres, top out onto the meadow above and then, free as a feather, you've back down by your rucksack and walking sticks as you walk down, now in the light of day, back to the bike chained to the pole, a fantastic descent, then off again, push those pedals as you tackle the ascent that leads to another pole to chain the bike to, before a quick coffee at the bar "well it is time for breakfast!", walk again, then climb the via ferrata and start up the second route and appreciate even more intensely the pleasure of climbing in complete freedom on the white Medale arete, be accompanied by a beam and the bright sun up the steep path that leads to Coltignone, to Piani dei Resinelli below the Grigna, reach another bike (chained to another pole the day before) and head down through the beautiful Parco Valentino forest, have a long stop at the bar, drink and repack the rucksack, yet another quick descent by bike, chain this to another pole... no, this time to a plant, then walk again, with a heavy rucksack, up the steep path towards Torre Costanza, the most beautiful Grigna tower, towards the most complicated of all 5 routes you want to climb, scramble up to the base holding on to tufts of grass, smelling the earth, prepare what little essential gear you have, then climb vertically, through overhangs, across cumbersome traverses, self-belaying with the rope and thus less free tha n the first two routes, but you have children waiting at home and it's better to love yourself and to love them, top out, stop and look around, how amazing!

Take it all in and think about what you've just done and what you'd like to do. Are you still having fun? Off you go?

Abseils you know well, cross grassy slopes, ridges and gullies you know, reach Ago Teresita, the slender tower in the middle of the grey Grigna limestone, climb the least famous of the 5 routes, many have never even heard of it, once again like the first two, free once again, fast once again and you're already at the short abseil which deposits you on the other side, shoulder you rucksack once again and along the steep path to the Cermenati crest to then cut across the flank and coast the loose ridge along paths you walked along years back, discover that there is always something new to discover in your mountains, only to reach the start of the last route at last light, the fifth route, it seemed almost impossible that the morning as you crept out of the house but here you now are, climb those first 50 metres with the system of wanting to look after yourself and thus with slightly less freedom, to then breach what you think is the crux, reach a ledge, coil the rope with the typical gesture of wanting to tie it to your back, feel the joy once again of climbing in complete liberty those final dozen or so metres of aphrodisiacal rock, a few abseils, stow your gear away in your rucksack and charge down the Porta gully as you say goodbye to the last light of a fantastic day in the mountains!

A day of discovery, a day of re-discovery, a full day of everything you carry deep within... but above all, a tribute to a great, a very great man and mountaineer, Walter Bonatti!

Bonatti on the Bastionata del Resegone, Bonatti at Medale, Bonatti at Torre Costanza Grigna, Bonatti at Ago Teresita Grigna, Bonatti at Magnaghi Grigna.

Marco Anghileri





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