Gratta e vinci, new mixed route for Florian Riegler
Last December the South Tyroleans Florian Riegler, Hannes Lehmyer and Tamara Lunger carried out the first ascent of Gratta e vinci (120m, M10, WI 5) at the Passo delle Pedale/Mendola. On 21/12/09 Florian and his brother Martin made the first redpoint ascent.
"It's not an important route that'll change the world, but it's very beautiful and it hasn't been repeated yet..." This is how Florian Riegler presented his latest mixed route he first climbed, in three rounds, together with Hannes Lehmyer and Tamara Lunger, before redpointing it with brother Martin. Located at Passo delle Pedale/Mendola close to Bolzano, the 120m, five pitch outing gets an overall grade of M10, WI 5.
In the moment in time we'd like to concentrate on the beauty of the route. Perhaps more so than the grade or the dangerous nature of these ice climbs. Gratti e vinci, which translates as the famous Scratch-and-win, is certainly a beautiful mixed outing. Above all though, the experience Riegler had on that face, up there on rock and thin ice, was something special.
GRATTA E VINCI by Florian Riegler
December 2009. It was snowing. I drove to Passo delle Pedale in search of a new ice adventure. I walked through the entire area for a couple of hours: I got increasingly wet, tired and angry because I couldn't see anything but trees and snow! Just when I considered turning back I suddenly stumbled across an iced rock face: I dumped my rucksack and gear at the foot of the wall and descended into the dark.
I returned three days later with Hannes. We started climbing, a mix of snow, rock and ice immediately put us to the test. We abseiled off at the end of the day, tired and cold. We'd made a start and these first two pitches were great fun.
On our second visit we attempted to climb past the next difficult meters. I was a couple of meters above the last pro when all of a sudden a camming device ripped and I fell. I screamed out loud, Hannes asked if I'd hurt myself. "Everything's O.K." I replied, a bit shocked, but then continued upwards. Only when I finally managed to build a safe belay did I feel slightly happier. Not much was missing, perhaps only one or two pitches. But we'd had enough and abseiled off.
Next attempt: this time I was with Tamara. It was really cold but the ice was in good condition. We quickly climbed to our previous highpoint and then carried on, our aim was to reach the top, perhaps 50m above us. This however was blocked by a very difficult section, luckily though things went smoothly and I managed to climb over the roof and continue up demanding ice. After more than 30m of pumpy climbing I reached a small niche and belayed Tamara. This was then followed by a few meters of rock, then snow. We descended, we'd done it!
Two days later: the five pitches still awaited their first redpoint ascent. I climbed up with my brother, had memorised most difficult sections and hoped to climb them without making any mistakes. I climbed slowly but surely, which is rather unusual for me. The first three pitches ran smoothly. Then, beneath the crux roof, I started to get nervous. I wasn't sure about the right sequence and found myself improvising. I seemed to lose sense of time and space, did nothing but climb. All of a sudden I found myself at the belay: I was lucky, my axes never slipped from the rock or thin ice. I belayed Martin, satisfied. We reached the summit a short while later. Today we won "Gratta e Vinci"!
"Gratta e Vinci"
Mendola/Passo delle Pedale
First ascent: Florian Riegler, Hannes Lehmyer, Tamara Lunger
First redpoint: Florian and Martin Riegler, 21 December 2010
Length: 5 pitches, 120m circa
Grade: M10, WI 5
Getting there: the drip is visible from road and is reached by walking from Albergo "Grill" towards the Gampenpass in circa 30 minutes.
Descent: descend right on foot for 15 minutes to return to the base of the route.
Notes: the route was climbed and equipped ground-up with pegs and bolts. All the belays have twin-bolts.
Gear: 10 quickdraws, a selection of ice screws, small selection of mid-size camming devices
Sponsors: Salewa, La Sportiva, Sportler, Grivel , Bio Südtirol