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Jacopo Larcher making the first ascent of Waiting for... at Cadarese, April 2022.
Photo by Andrea Cossu
The thin crack of Waiting for... at Cadarese
Photo by Andrea Cossu
Jacopo Larcher making the first ascent of Jeune et con at Cadarese, April 2022
Photo by Andrea Cossu
Barbara Zangerl making the first repeat of Waiting for... at Cadarese, April 2022
Photo by Paolo Sartori

Jacopo Larcher explores dangerous new trad climbs at Cadarese

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At Cadarese in Val d’Ossola, Italy, the South Tyrolean climber Jacopo Larcher has freed two difficult trad climbs: Waiting for ... and Jeune et con.

Jacopo Larcher is intrinsically linked to Cadarese, since it is here that over the years the South Tyrolean climber honed his skills at trad and crack climbing before establishing his masterpiece Tribe in 2019. Larcher has now returned to this pristine granite crag nestled in Italy's Ossola Valley to deal with some unfinished business.

During his first visit over ten years ago Larcher had noticed the crag's immense, untapped potential, not only for crack climbs that have made Cadarese world-famous, but also for what he defines as "more English-style routes" that follow less obvious lines of weaknesses and are consequently harder or even impossibile to protect. During his most recent raids Larcher freed two of these, Waiting for... and Jeune et con.

Waiting for... is located just below the ultra classic Colpo di Fulmine and was cleaned by Larcher's friend Alberto Allevi who also added the belay. The climbing is delicate, initially up an extremely thin crack, then the angle eases off providing technical face climbing. "The moves are always very precarious, requiring balance and body tension. The crack is so thin that you can hardly even crimp its edges" Larcher told planetmountain. In addition, there is only one piece of gear, a ballnut that acts as psychological support in the middle of the crux. The route as graded 8b/R by Barbara Zangerl, who made the first repeat the following week. The Austrian did without the ballnut and opted for a hand-placed pecker instead. Hut ab!

Larcher's other gem Jeune et con is located on a lower tier, close to the famous Bookcake cleaned by Andrea Sommaruga and freed by Nico Favresse. The route tackles the striking arete about 100 meters to the right, which Larcher tried "almost for fun" while working Tribe. He'd work the completely smooth section of rock on a static rope as a warm-up, even if at first glance the start seemed impossible. Over time though he realised that "there are exactly the holds you need. Not one too many, not one too few."

The problem? The arete was unprotectable. "I didn't want to bolt it, so instead, I left it. But the thought didn't leave me and this year I started trying it again." A complex crux right at the start guards the rest of the arete which becomes easier the higher you get, although the moves are always extremely thin. "I really wanted to send it, aesthetically it's one of the most beautiful at Cadda. I managed to place a cliffhook at about 1/3 height. If you fall near the top, while going from the right side of the arete to the left, you'll hit the ground. Without a shadow of doubt." Larcher hasn't put forward a grade as yet but it's certainly very, very difficult. And serious. The suffix RX indicates the possibility of a dangerous groundfall...

Link: jacopo-larcher.com, FB Jacopo Larcher, La Sportiva, The North Face, Black Diamond

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