L'uovo di Colombo, new route on Monte Cimo
Rolando Larcher recounts his first ascent, carried out in mid-June together with Herman Zanetti of L'uovo di Colombo up Monte Cimo in Val d'Adige. A 200m route that breaches the obvious large roofs with two different options: hard 7a+ and soft 7a+.
Whenever I make my way down through Val d'Adige I'm always dangerously distracted by Monte Cimo and its beautiful rock faces and my passengers are always afraid and confused by my driving. For despite having repeated some routes, my curiosity hasn't been suppressed in the slightest.
I first paid this place a visit at the end of the '80s and repeated the beautiful route "Piastrine Selvagge" along with the late Michael Cestari. It was pleasant autumn day and I remember it well, in particular for the 25kg of chestnuts we "encountered" on our way back to the car...
I returned in the mid 2000's along with childhood friend Nicola Sartori. Nic and his namesake Tondini have been a leading light here, both in physical and ethical terms, and over the years the two have created numerous splendid and demanding routes.
It was Nic who accompanied me on "Vola Via" and him again when I made the second repeat of "Via di Testa", a route which is exciting thanks to its line, the rock it climbs and the falls I took. Their remarkable creative activity had laid my hopes to rest but, thanks to them, the light turned on once again!
The latest creation of this "Verona Duo" is a tough nut; they've forged a new route and the redpoint will be no walkover. Since they were uncertain about its difficulties, I was privileged to be invited to find out more about their new cutting-edge climb on Monte Cimo.
So in early June I "trashed" my fingers and rope as I tried this fantastic route and I've already booked the first repeat. Between attempts, a laugh and stints of belaying the large roof that loomed above my head aroused my curiosity. I asked my two expert partners which routes breached the overhang. Only two aid routes on the sides, but nothing in the middle! Perfect, I'd just noticed a daring line that, were it go free, would become an extraordinarily beautiful game.
Ten days later I was back with my friend Herman Zanetti. I had never climbed the large slabs before and and to reach the apex of the large triangular roof I chose to follow the route on the left called "Istantes".
Two pitches with beautiful droplets led us to a perfect spot where I thought I'd launch into the unknown. From there I began to zigzag left and right, in the midst of incredible roof, climbing away from the fall line more and more. The rock, in keeping with the high quality Brento limestone, offered numerous threads and, amazed and incredulous, I proceeded upwards and succeeded in topping out, three pitches later, that afternoon.
I was lowered off the last pitch, thanks to a rope fixed to the belay on the first pitch, but from there we were faced with a big question mark. Night had fallen and we couldn't see whether the ropes touched the slabs below. Earlier that afternoon, while belaying Herman, we guessed that perhaps they were long enough, but often these guesses don't turn out as planned! There was only one way of finding out...
After 5 metres the corridor between the 2 roofs suddenly ended and I was greeted by an absolute void. Nigh panic accompanied me half-way down the rappel, until the beam of my headtorch solved the dilemma, after 60m they did actually reach the slabs. Not only that, they also led me directly to the first belay of "Istantes".
We were dead tired yet overjoyed by the day's unexpected outcome, we had solved this great question easily, with relatively modest difficulties apart from the final pitch. But we also hoped we'd find an easier variation finish to make difficulties more uniform. After a few days rest we were ready again and after having freed the "hard" version, a highly motivated Herman set off on a new penultimate pitch. His first experience of creating something new, with cliffhooks and drill in hand. He proceeded smoothly under the final roof via a beautiful traverse leftwards, to then finish up a slab and exit into the forest. The "soft" version had been completed.
Establishing this route provided us with twice as much satisfaction. Firstly for having had the vision and discovered this free line through the overhangs. And secondly because it's not excessively difficult, many climbers will be able to repeat it and enjoy this highly original route.
I'll finish with the flattering comments of Nicola Tondini: "You've made the first ascent of the most original rock climb up Monte Cimo!"