Via Napoleone discovered in Val Torrone, Val Masino
Giovanni Giarletta reports about the first ascent of Via Napoleone, a new climb in remote Val Torrone high above Val Masino, initiated by Manuele Panzeri and Pietro Tentori about nine years ago and completed this August.
Val Torrone is one the wildest valleys in all of Val Masino. Located high above the valley floor, the path begins by ascending through a beautiful forest before winding through a narrow gorge, beyond which a large amphitheater opens up full of towers and granite walls that dominate the entire valley. Its wild and lonely appearance is partially put into perspective by the Manzi-Pirrotta bivouac; placed above the moraine this acts as a shelter for those few hikers and mountaineers who venture up here.
Though his visits have become less frequent in recent years, in the past Manuele often made his way up here to leave his mark. having fallen in love with the authenticity of this place, almost a dozen ground-up first ascents are his, as are a series of first repeats.
Three days off and stable weather were the perfect combination to return to the valley and complete a half-finished project… four pitches had been forged nine years ago. So, while enduring the sweltering heat and loaded like mules, we set off from San Martino. After each step the tiring approach was made worth it by the spectacular nature and by dinner eaten below the bivouac and under an almost full moon.
Having located the start of the route, the next day we ascended the first four pitches previously climbed ground-up during the first attempt. The first half of the day was spent sorting out some of the pegs and adding a couple of bolts to those previously drilled by hand. The send half was spent searching for the most logical and least compact line, up completely virgin rock, heading towards that rocky bow we’d seen from the bivouac comprised of many small granite spires.
TOPO: Via Napoleone, Val Torrone