Nicolas Favresse from Belgium has just spent some time in Italy's granite Orco valley where he came away with two prizes, the first repeat of Didier Berthod's "Greenspit" 8b+ and the first repeat of the classic five-pitch "Itaca nel sole" 8b.
Favresse needed two days of effort to come to terms with the 12m horizontal Greenspit roof crack which involves plenty of hand, fists and finger jams. First climbed by Didier Berthod in 2003 with pre-placed pro, it was subsequently freed by the Swissman when he returned in October 2005 to place all gear on lead. After dropping the crucial piece of pro Favresse ran it out to the lip in fading light and commented "This route is truly fantastic and very unique for European climbing. I can't believe I'm the first person to repeat this. It's so classic!"
A few days later Favresse teamed with habitual partner Sean Villanueva to make the first free repeat of Itaca nel sole, the classic 5 pitch line up the Caporal face climbed by Motti and Morello in 1975 and freed by Cristian Brenna and Marzio Nardi in 2003. Favresse, no newcomer to difficult multi-pitches, stated " It's a very nice technical challenge of beautiful climbing. On the hard pitches the pro is all in-situ so in some respects it's not really a trad route. I had a great time exploring the Orco valley, mixing it all from bouldering, sport climbing to trad and multi pitch. And there's still so much to explore..."
We're sure there's more to come yet. In the meantime, check out the video of Cristian Brenna and Marzio Nardi during the 2003 first free ascent.