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La Piovra, Monte Derbianco, Canton Ticino, Switzerland
Photo by arch Uboldi
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La Piovra, new icefall on Monte Derbianco, Switzerland

04.03.2010 by Planetmountain

On 13/02/2010 Nikita Uboldi, Ean Barelli and Andrea Cairoli carried out the first ascent of La Piovra (4. WI6- M7R A1), in the Prosito mountain range in Canton Ticino, Switzerland

It is not often that we report about new icefalls climbed in Switzerland, but unsurprisingly the exceptional winter has provided outstanding conditions in the Confederation, too.

Making the most of these in Canton Ticino were Nikita Uboldi, Ean Barelli and Andrea Cairoli who on 13/02/2010 were rewarded for their two year patient wait with the first ascent of their Piovra. Located in the relatively unknown Prosito mountain range, the trio placed 6 bolts in total to protect the 230m route, which they topped out at nightfall.

They recounted "The area is far removed from tarmac access roads in Brunnital or the postcard paths in Oeschinenwald. Here you have to fight through deep snow at gain 1200m vertical meters, climb over trees which have been pressed down by the weight of the snow and all of this gives the ascent a different, local character." After topping out they stated "Superfluous to say that we were surrounded by total darkness, famished and without the slightest idea of where a path might be. We stumbled across one just above the rocky outcrop, and we reached Monte Derbianco in an hour, happy to have completed a project which is so distant from the mosre popular climbing areas but not for this reason any less interesting or ambitious. But it's not all over, the area offers plenty of other breathtaking climbs. We look forward to the first repeat..."

La Piovra
Monte Derbianco, Canton Ticino, Switzerland
First ascent: Nikita Uboldi, Ean Barelli and Andrea Cairoli 13/02/2010
Orientation: NE
Altitude: 1300m
Length: 230m
Grade: 4. WI6- M7R A1
Gear: full ice climbing rack, two 60m ropes, 2 x Friends 0.5
Getting there: Take the A2 motorway and exit at Biasca. Continue south for 4km and park at Prosito. From here take the summer path upwards to Monte Derbianco (Monte Bianco, 1130m). Continue upwards for another 100m towards Pianascio, then leave the path and traverse south to coast beneath the rock (close to an qqueduct) and enter a a valley to reach the base of the icefall.
Descent: continue upwards to reach a path. From here continue down to Pianascio and Monte Derbianco. The path is not always obvious.

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