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Exiting the third drip of Buon compleanno (Gole di Gondo, Switzerland)
Photo by arch. Antonio Esposito
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Exceptional ice climbing conditions in Ossola, Switzerland

23.02.2009 by Antonio Esposito

Over the last 10 days 6 teams have repeated "Buon compleanno", the beatuiful drip in Gole di Gondo (Ossola, Switzerland) which last came into conditions 8 years ago.

Ice climbers in NE Italy are enjoying one of the best seasons in decades! The extraordinary weather conditions have resulted in all icefalls in Ossola coming into condition, in particular those in the Gole di Gondo which, despite being located in Switzerland, are recognised as being in Italian alpine territory.

During this phenomenal season (which has resulted in two new first ascents) even the most fleeting icefall in the area, Buon Compleanno, has reappeared. The beautiful 120m route is graded 6/6+ and had not formed entirely for 8 years. Since its first ascent in 1996 at the hands of G. Burlone and D. Anchieri the three drips had only been climbed a handful of times, while during this recent spate of activity the route has also received it's first female ascent by Sofia Palmisano.

The grade and objective danger of the icefall has been confirmed, and the repeats have stated that the icefall requires careful hooking, in particular the second drip which even in good conditions is extremely thin at the start.

Buon Compleanno
Gole di Gondo (Ossola, Switzerland)
First ascent: 1996 by G. Burlone and D. Anchieri
Length: 120m
Difficulty: 6/6+
Orientation: N
Altitude: 1250m

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