In June we published the news report of Maurizio Manolo Zanolla's new multi-pitch in the Italian Vette Feltrine. The route in question, "Solo per vecchi guerrieri" attracted our attention because of it's beauty (as can clearly be seen from the few photos we published two months ago) and the way in which Manolo recounted this adventure. And also, last but not least, because of the difficulty of this super route... which touches upon the 8c/9a mark. All that was left to do was resolve the final riddle, i.e. to free it in a single push. And the other day Manolo did just that.
And so? Manolo told us "it was pretty demanding" - how could we believe that it wasn't. No doubt it was tough both physically and mentally. And the result? "I reckon the first three pitches are, give or take a touch, 7c, 7b+ and 8b, with 7b/c obligatory climbing." What about the final pitch? Well the last pitch, after much hesitation, caution and confronting remains what was said originally: somewhere in the region of 8c and 9a, with 7c/8a obligatory.
It's clear that the route now awaits a second ascentionist to confirm the grade. And it's equally clear the young Nicolò found the best synthesis of all: the wall with no name has now been dubbed "Gran burrone", or great void!
by Maurizio "Manolo" Zanolla
Ciao Daddy, did you go to the Gran burrone today as well? Yes Nicolò! And how did it go? OKish! Ah... This was this summer's refrain whenever I returned from “Vecchi Guerrieri”. But the other day, after having been out with Cristina (to whom I really owe a great deal) during a sunny and windy good weather spell - August was strange and rainy - when Nicolò asked me whether I had "beaten the route" I finally answered yes...
This proved a completely different undertaking to the first ascent... I almost immediately freed the first three pitches and think that they are more or less
7c, 7b+, 8b with 7b/c obligatory) but whenever I reached the fourth pitch I ended, sooner or later, falling...
I don't think it was due to lack of "energy", although for various reasons I don't really feel to have ever been on top form this summer, and also because during the first ascent I really strained by tendons and capsules.
I now feel as if a weight has been lifted off my shoulders and I can be much more objective, but nevertheless I think it's hard to grade the last pitch, I'm missing recent comparisons (this summer I climbed this route only).
The last pitch is a strange one, it has good rest points but it's also really touch and go and doesn't need great stamina... although good finger strength and footwork are paramount... Yes, it's hard to grade this pitch which I believe offers various solution, but perhaps my first impressions were right and this comparison could help explain: it's slightly harder that "Appigli ridicoli" because it's less continuous, and as such it resembles "C’era una volta a Cornalba" because of these interludes and really hard moves. I feel it also resembles "Bain de sang"... even it's not as compressed it's twice as long and fairly run-out (300m above the ground). Last but by no means least, it's the last pitch of a route which is never particularly easy right from the outset, and as such it's tough both physically and mentally. All this leads me to suggest a grade somewhere in the 8c - 9a mark, but naturally this is only a proposal...
I'm not sure, had I concentrated on this pitch only perhaps everything would have been easier but I preferred to climb the entire route instead of just that pitch... The only thing I'm certain about is that it's really, really beautiful, that it proved hard work and that my son suggested a good name for that face - "Gran burrone" - the great void!
Photo: Manolo climbing "Solo per vecchi guerrieri" - photos: Oskar Piazza (top) and Walter Bellotto (side ).