Val di Mello climbing: new Escudo del Qualido route by Caterina Bassi, Martino Quintavalla
Caterina Bassi reports about the first ascent of El despertador fotonico, a new multi-pitch rock climb established up the south face of the Escudo del Qualido in Val di Mello, Italy, with Martino Quintavalla.
Last year Martino Quintavalla and I walked into the upper Val Qualido to make the first free ascent of Fiori nei Cannoni on Escudo del Qualido. It was during one of these visits that Martino's trained eye noticed some unclimbed rock on the righthand side of the wall. We promised ourselves we’d return to try and add a new route to the magnificent Escudo formation.
Last October we spent four days spread out over four weekends to establish El Despertador Fotonico. Climbed ground-up with trad gear where possible and otherwise equipped with 10 mm stainless steel bolts and abseil rings at the belays, this is a beautiful and varied route up excellent rock past beautiful slabs and a difficult finishing corner.
The route owes its name to the alarm clock, which punctually woke us up at 5am on each of the four weekends spent establishing and freeing the climb.
We recommend a repeat in autumn in order to enjoy, just as we did, the warm and peaceful ambient provided by autumn up in the mountains.