Maleficent, new route up Cimone della Bagozza in Italy's Orobic Alps
Fulvio Zanetti talks about the first ascent of Maleficent (320mt 7c+, 7a+ oblig), established together with Francesco Beni up the NW Face of Cimon della Bagozza, Orobic Alps. The new multi-pitch rock climb up the symbol of Val di Scalve crosses Spigolo Cassin (Riccardo Cassin, Aldo Frattini and Rodolfo Varallo, 8/7/1934) at 2/3 height.
Cimone della Bagozza (Orobic Alps) is the symbol of Val di Scalve, a somewhat eye-catching peak comprised of sloping, layered limestone. The south face, that looks down towards Val Bione, is steep and covered in vegetation. The north face on the other hand tumbles down into Val di Scalve with 350m vertical drop. It is on this face that, over the years, different routes have been traced. The first was Bramani, established in 1930. This was followed in 1934 by the Cassin route. It wasn’t until the 1980’s that the third route was climbed, namely Val di Scalve ’81, also referred to as Pukajirka. A little later Mary Poppins was added, while in 2000 the face was climbed using a modern approach; the first bolts made their appearance, on the route 100 anni di solitudine.
I don’t know why, but I’ve always had a special connection with this mountain, maybe because it was one of the first mountains I climbed when I was young, maybe because of the mountain’s shape - jutting straight into the sky. Or maybe because it looks like a Dolomite peak, or simply because of the fun descent down the scree. Whatever the reason, I’ve climbed up Cimone della Bagozza a number of times up a series of different routes. I can particularly remember my ascent of the Cassin route about 15 years ago, I climbed off route on the last pitches and ended up doing what is now the last pitch of Maleficent. At the time this pitch was pretty hard and I can still clearly remember those two big threads into which we now threaded our slings.
With this in mind I told Francesco about the possibility of establishing a new route through the central section of the face, up the most compact limestone slabs, to then finishing off on the upper section and that pitch I’d climbed 15 years ago.
Francesco immediately said yes, he too has special ties to the mountain as it’s one of the first he climbed. In addition, his uncle first ascended Mary Poppins and so Francesco had often heard about that 1986 adventure.
We started in 2014, climbing ground-up and placing bolts only where we were forced to rest on skyhooks. We completed our route over 4 days from August to October and reached the summit, having crossed the Cassin route at 2/3 height, where this traverses right. We let winter come and go and then in June 2015 we returned for the redpoint. We operate based on teamwork and since there were two demanding pitches, Francesco worked the third and I the fourth. And we did it! At the end of the day we were both overjoyed!
Putting up a route like Maleficent on the NW Face of Bagozza is particularly important to us. This face is often overlooked and the only route that sees some traffic is the Cassin arete. Bagozza is a mountain that isn’t easily tamed and the grades of the pitches don’t mean much since they fail to take into the overall commitment needed to climb them.
TOPO: Maleficent, Cimone della Bagozza, Orobic Alps
Zanetti Fulvio and Beni Francesco (www.teamorobicline.com) thank: Zamberlan, Grande Grimpe, Gabel, Silverskin and DM Sport Bergamo and NRC occhiali for the technical support and our friend Gambarini Gianandrea for the photos and video.