Valle del Orco, Greenspit repeats and new route flurry
At the start of August a strong British team travelled to Italy's Valle del Orco where they managed to carry out the third ascent of Greenspit and forge five new routes high above the valley floor.
British crack specialists Tom Randall and Pete Whittaker pilgrimmed to Italy's granite Valle del Orco at the end of July to get to grips with the country's hardest trad route, Greenspit 8b+. Much to his own surprise Randall managed to carry out the third ascent of Didier Berthod's testpiece, after Belgian Nicolas Favresse had dispatched the line last year. Randall repeated the route with pre-placed gear believing it would be graded E8 6c were it to be located in England.
The group of climbers remained in the Gran Paradiso National Park to focus its attention on new routing and promptly produced five new routes, including the upside down marathon offwidth Gloves of War E6 6c. What is remarkable is that there is still much virgin rock in the Orco valley, which Randall described as follows: "the place is totally amazing! I've been to Yosemite over 10 times and I find Orco just as inspiring. The route quality is second to none and I really like the strong tradition ethic that they have there. Also the new route potential is a very big attraction for me."
Furthermore, Tom Randall and Pete Whittaker managed to carry out the second and third ascent of Fessura Impossibile E5/6 6c in Val di Mello. The effort is well documented in the video below
Valle del Orco new routes
I'll Sleep When I'm Dead, E5 6b (finger, hands and slot roof. F.A. onsight)
No Rest for the Wicked, E4 5c (2 pitch offwidth. F.A. onsight)
Access: These routes are located above the village of Crusinier. Park in a small lay-by after Gera (if heading down the valley) and where there is also a road leading off to the right over a bridge. This section of road is straight for 300 m, so fairly recognisable. Walk up through the woods, head up towards the large waterfall as a means to access the upper crags. Big walk-in, lots and lots of brambles! Approach 60mins
Gloves of War, E6 6c (offwidth roof. F.A. ground-up)
Bugiardo Marrone, HVS 5b (hand crack)
Access: These routes are located above the village of Osteria Rei. Park at Osteria Rei, just past the small Trattoria and walk straight up through the woods for 10 mins. Scramble up the 25m gulley (marked with cairn stones) to reach the crag! Very easy to find and you can often see the route through the trees whilst you approach. Approach 20 mins
Bloc Party, HVS 5b (hand and fist crack. F.A. onsight)
Access: Above Frera Inferiore. Park on the hairpin bend just below Frera Inferiore and walk up the huge fresh boulder field through the woods. Open approach and also very easy to find. 45 mins hard walk.