Pilastro Parmenide, new route up Cima dell'Auta
On 1 -2/08/2012 Italian climbers Giorgio Travaglia and Stefano Valsecchi made the first ascent of Pilastro Parmenide (500m VI + A3+ + 100m of grade II) up the South Face of Cima dell'Auta orientale (Marmolada, Dolomites). The route was started by Travaglia and others in 2010.
Some say that mountaineering is on its way out. We often hear this repeated. But just take this new route, Pilastro Parmenide. Perhaps it'll surprise you (just as it surprised us) that it's graded A3+, and that this is accompanied by grade VI climbing. And perhaps your curiosity will be roused by the fact that this "big wall" ascends the south face of Cima dell'Auta Orientale: a beautiful peak, impressive even, but certainly not as renowned as its famous neighbours, the South Face of Marmolada or the NW Face of Monte Civetta.
At this point you might imagine, as we did, that those who forged this climb are famous alpinists and, so to speak, fairly mature. We'll you'd be wrong: Giorgio Travaglia and Stefano Valsecchi are 21 and 20 respectively. But there's more, since Travaglia first "worked" this line when he was younger, back in 2010, only to then leave it unfinished due to lack of companions.
Here's some further background information: last March these two climbers made the first winter ascent of Ey de Net on Tofana di Rozes along with Enrico Bortolato, and Giorgio Travaglia began climbing with Karl Unterkircher, while his rock climbing mentor (in the Dolomites, of course) is none other than Ivo Rabanser.
At this point things seems somewhat clearer, and it seems natural that Travaglia's passion for alpinism stems from his father, from his mentors Unterkircher and Rabanser, and also from alpine literature. "Some books had a significant influence on me" explained Travaglia "such as Cassin's Capocordata, Al di là della verticale by Livanos who I consider my ideal "maestro", “Pilastri del cielo “ by Aste, “The Bird” by Radici about Jim Bridwell. I learnt how to climb big walls from this. I was certainly motivated by the desire to do things as they did, to experience the same things, the same style which Livanos defines as "Cassin-style", where bivies are no longer something unpleasant but a part of the greater game and accepted, just like climbing on a wall for two or more days. Something I always bear in mind is what once Bridwell said: that he always wanted to establish a route not as quickly as possible, but as best possible, because being a new route you only get one chance do things right! And I remember that when I read these books I did so to learn as much possible, not for fun. I wanted to catch all the details to learn and relive those adventures. And Rebuffat's "Starlight and Storm" deserves a special mention for what it taught me about aid climbing…"
What more can be said about our preamble, about alpinism which is on the way out… perhaps that meaning of and for alpinism is timeless and ageless, and that it's out there, ready to be grasped and last forever, at least as long as there are men and mountains.
TOPO: Pilastro Parmenide - Cima dell'Auta Orientale