Pizzo della Pieve, first winter solo by Ivo Ferrari
On 25 January 2011 Italian alpinist Ivo Ferrari made the first winter ascent of the Parete Fasana on Pizzo della Pieve (Grigne) by climbing the classic the Via Fasana.
There are some mountain faces which seemed destined to remain in the background, as if they actively shun the limelight. This is the case of the impressive Pizzo della Pieve (better known as the Parete Fasana) which rises up and distinguishes itself from the other noble peaks in the Grigne mountain group close to Lecco. Its 800m, including the summit slopes, are "fearsome" to say the least, so much so that - if by magic - the peak were to be placed next to the more famous faces in the Mont Blanc range, it certainly wouldn't have anything to be ashamed of. This North face was first climbed in 1928 by Eugenio Fasana and Vitale Bramani via a logical and beautiful line which was soloed the first time in winter by Italian alpinist Ivo Ferrari at the end of January 2011. This recent ascent, for those who know the route, can only be described with the following adjective: great! To climb the route Ferrari needed what in climbing jargon is referred to as "balls". And what was also needed was a love for alpinism on massive mountain faces, encompassed by utter silence. This is a form of alpinism which is hard to describe and which therefore can only be experienced first-hand. As it happens, this is exactly what Ferrari has always been doing, in the most natural of ways possible, because this is his personal way of interpreting the mountains and life itself. In short, his alpinism, simple and happy.
THE BEAUTIFUL MOUNTAIN by Ivo Ferrari
Pizzo della Pieve really is a beautiful mountain, wild and severe, clearly visible from the road yet solitary and silent. Its "classic" route, the Fasana, takes a logical line for 600m... in winter you need to bow your head and take your hat off!... I didn't take a hat with me but I certainly strapped my helmet tightly, checked my crampons, clutched my ice axes and climbed with the necessary balance up the narrow ice gully. I never looked down but always upwards to the cornice hanging from the summit lip. Fast, extremely fast, trying to anticipate as much as possible the warm sun...
The route was stupendous, the setting unique, severe enough to provide plenty of excitement. I didn't know Pizzo, but then Lorenzo and his gang opened the door to their enchanted garden and in winter we established Suerte (the hardest route of this genre in the Grigne range) and Anime Salve, then we repeated The Vision... Then when the mushrooms abounded on October I soloed the "Fasana" and began to think about how it would feel to climb the narrow chimney and those corners in winter... I asked my friends, Pietro and Lorenzo and also Carlo who gave me what is needed in cases like these... the right stimulus.
The route had never been climbed alone in winter and this is the best motivation there can be for someone who, like me, is bent on solo climbs. Some time off work and clear skies did the rest.
I don't know what else to add. I'd like to say so much but perhaps I'm in danger of repeating myself. I can't explain fully how I felt, but perhaps it's better this way, everyone should feel and experience different things... I felt at ease, used lightness when I needed to be light and my axes entered to the beat of the crampons. I descended back to valley, tired but happy to have experienced undescribable moments just a stone's throw from home. Thanks Pizzo, Thanks Lorenzo, Thanks Pietro