Via Bonatti on Croz del Rifugio, a rediscovery above Bardonecchia
Edoardo Falletta talks about his discovery of Via Bonatti, established by Walter Bonatti solo in 1951 up Croz del Rifugio above Bardonecchia in Piemonte, Italy.
It sometimes happens to great writers that their novels are simply forgotten about, perhaps hidden behind the genius of their other works, or perhaps simply because they are considered less important than their masterpieces. Sometimes though these works are rediscovered and they are revealed for what they really are, ie works of great art. This phenomenon happened in the climbing world when one of Walter Bonatti's routes fell into oblivion: his 1951 solo climb up Croz del Rifugio.
Towards the beginning of June, while compiling a list of routes I wanted to climb in summer, I stumbled across the phrase: "The route starts 30 meters to the right of the Bonatti route." My initial amazement soon gave way to great curiosity! Were it possible that Walter Bonatti, one of the greatest mountaineers of all times, has established a climb on my backyard mountain, and that in the guidebooks and online there was no trace whatsoever? A great mountain guide from Turin commented laconically "I know nothing" and thus my curiosity grew. So I decided to ask for more information from Silvia, the nice lady at the "chalet delle guide" in Bardonecchia and after some research in her archives she sent me the route info, published in pamphlet in 1970 and, unfortunately, never printed again.
Repeating this wonderful route wasn't that difficult physically, but it was a stern psychological test as placing pro wasn't easy, especially on the upper section where the rock is delicate. But the thought that legendary Walter Bonatti had caressed the very same holds paid off for all the efforts and even provided us that feeling of happiness that only a climber can understand.
I would like to thank Andrea Roche, my climbing partner and great friend, with whom I've shared many climbs and the only person with whom I wanted to share this great adventure.
I hope that many climbers will repeat this route thanks to the information we've gathered, firstly because it's very beautiful and secondly because it is always a great excitement to retrace the same steps of the legend and Walter Bonatti.
TOPO: Via Bonatti, Croz del Rifugio, Bardonecchia