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Maurizio Oviglia, Sitting Bull, Valle dell'Orco
Photo by Sara Oviglia
Paolo Seimandi climbing Röyksopp, at Dado.
Photo by Maurizio Oviglia
Paolo Seimandi climbing Apogeo, Dado.
Photo by Maurizio Oviglia
Adriano Trombetta climbing the splendid Sitting Bull, one of the most beautiful crack climbs in the entire Valle Orco
Photo by archivio Trombetta

Valle dell'Orco short climbs news: Sitting Bull and Dado


The second news report from Italy's Orco Valley by Maurizio Oviglia: the crags Sitting Bull and Dado that offer a interesting mix of sport climbing, trad and aid.

As I mentioned in my previous article concerning the latest news from the Orco Valley, Italy's most famous trad climbing valley (even though it must be said that Ossola is catching up rapidly...), has essentially been developed along two parallel lines. On the one hand new medium-length routes are being established with a mix of pro, mostly in hitherto ignored areas (usually due to cumbersome and complicated access) and on the other hand new single-pitch routes are being forged by a handful of enthusiastic climbers who have embraced the "trad" style, i.e. cracks or steep faces breached clean with nuts and friends, but with bolted belays.

Among those who have established new routes are - besides myself - the highly active mountain guide Adriano Trombetta and he has been joined by a strong group of local climbers. Umberto Bado has also been particularly active recently and he is the man behind the discovery and first ascents of many hard fine new cracks in the far-flung corners of the valley. In this report we'll focus on two areas above Ceresole Reale that despite having some bolt-protected sport routes, are becoming increasingly popular with trad climbers namely Dado and Sitting Bull.

Originally, these two small walls were known only for two beautiful cracks that split them in two, namely Sitting Bull (freed by Manolo) and Parete Bianca (freed by Marco Bernardi) and apart from these there wasn't much else to do. But over the years some surprising new routes that suit all climbing styles have been established at Parete del Dado. The first to notice the crag's potential was the late Roberto Perucca, Orco's version of Syd Barrett, who realised that new aid routes might breach the small cracks on the smooth face on the right. It's worth remembering that at the time the "fashion" of new age aid hadn't hit Italy yet... At the start of the new millennium another famous climber turned his attention to this face, namely Giovannino Massari who put up some hard sports climbs. Above all though, he was one of the first to establish some single-pitch trad climbs, a phenomenon that was still in its early stages (and finally took hold 7-8 years later). His cracks Cochise and Apogeo are beautiful, and were joined in 2008 by Mister Green thanks to myself and Paolo Seimandi, immediately to the right of a surprising and beautiful single pitch sport climb bolted by Wainja Reichel in 2001.

In 2012 Adriano Trombetta took up the "trad" baton and finally began to seriously explore the upper sector which, until then, had only ever been visited for the beautiful crack Sitting Bull. In spring 2012 he established a series of single pitch climbs together with a group of friends; some routes are completely trad, others have been climbed with some pegs. This spring this solitary crag finally hit the limelight thanks to Nicolas Favresse who succeeded in freeing the beautiful Shitting Bull. In the meantime the lower sector, Il Dado, still had more to offer. In May 2012 Umberto Bado added the horizontal crack I TCU and the aid route Eagles, while I climbed the single pitch trad route Röyksopp which had probably been climbed previously with the use of aid but now goes free. Adriano Trombetta then laid his hands on the incredible corner that runs up the middle of the mirror-smooth face, calling it Legittima Visione and this was freed by none other than Sean Villanueva. I for my part - seeing that no one had thought about the parallel corner, the smaller twin of Legittima Visione - finally devoted time to a single pitch sport climb in Valle dell'Orco. Sometimes you become some absorbed by the uniqueness and beauty of a route that the style of becomes only a minor detail... And Desigual, an incredible technical corner that can only be found on granite, is definitely one of these!

All that remains now is to check out the brief summary of the routes located at these crags. It's worth remembering that while the climbing at Sitting Bull is exclusively trad, Dado offers all styles and the existing routes are all respected for what they are. The Italian saying "una faccia una razza", namely One Face, One Race, couldn't be more apt here; while climbing has branched out into numerous different styles, the challenge is making all live together in harmony. And Il Dado is certainly an excellent example of such a cosmopolitan crag ...

Maurizio Oviglia

Note: the routes are listed from left to right. For access to the crags and the other routes check out the guidebook Valle dell’Orco, Maurizio Oviglia, Versante Sud 2010

Warning: some single pitch trad routes follow obvious cracks and can be protected easily, others though are run-out and psychologically demanding. Find out carefully before starting up these climbs. Some additional information can be found on Adriano Trombetta's blog.

Name First ascent Redpoint Grade Style
I TCU Umberto Bado (2012) Umberto Bado 7a trad
APOGEO Giovanni Massari (2001) Giovanni Massari 5c+ trad
EAGLES Umberto Bado (2012)   A2 Artificiale new age
IL MAIALONE Giovanni Massari (2001) Giovanni Massari 6a+ trad
COCHISE (1L) Crotti/Sartore (1976) ignoti 5c trad
COCHISE (2L) Crotti/Sartore (1976) Giovanni Massari 6b mista
ROBIN HOOD Giovanni Massari (2001) Giovanni Massari 7c sportiva
ANESTESIA Giovanni Massari (2001) Marzio Nardi 7c+ sportiva
BIANCA PARETE Sartore/Zanet (1976) Marco Bernardi 6b+ trad
LEGITTIMA VISIONE (1L) Adriano Trombetta (2013) Adriano Trombetta 7b sportiva
LEGITTIMA VISIONE (2L) Adriano Trombetta (2013) Sean Villanueva 8a+ sportiva
DESIGUAL Maurizio Oviglia (2013) Maurizio Oviglia 7c sportiva
STOP PRESS Wainja Reichel (2001) Wainja Reichel 7b+ sportiva
MISTER GREEN Oviglia/Seimandi (2008) Maurizio Oviglia 6a trad
RÖYKSOPP ignoti Maurizio Oviglia 6c trad
L’ESCARGOT Perucca & c. (1997)   A2 artificiale
CULO DI PIOMBO Patrito/Manachino (2003)   A2 Artificiale new age
PECKER DISTRICT Patrito/Manachino (2003)   A2 Artificiale new age

LOW SELF OPINION MAN Perassi/Trombetta (2012) Adriano Trombetta 6b trad
GIADIGIORDA A. Giorda anni ‘70   6a trad
LUXEMBURG DAYS Trombetta/Tres Adriano Trombetta 6c+ trad
SHITTING BULL Trombetta/Amadio/Aziz Nico Favresse 7b+ trad
SITTING BULL Andrea Giorda (anni 70) Maurizio Zanolla 6c+ trad
DORON Michel Tres (2012) Michel Tres 6b trad
GEOMETRIA Adriano Trombetta (2012) Adriano Trombetta 6a trad
HAMMERLESS Adriano Trombetta (2011) Adriano Trombetta 7b trad





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