Ice climbing in the Valle delle Meraviglie Ice climbing in the Valle delle meraviglie, Svizzera
text and photographs by Nicolo' Berzi
Guide Alpine Milano
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Icefalls, crystal worlds and frozen planets, lightly touched upon by the sun's warming rays. Lost valleys reached via slippery slopes, backs heavily bent under the incredible weight of the rucksacks. Pre-dawn starts, feet and toes freezing cold, crying out for blood and warmth. Ice that shatters into a thousand pieces onto the climbers below, fighting hard for every centimeter of good solid ice. Every now and then the thought that climbing in the sun at Finale would have been better than standing beneath this barrage of falling ice, dislodged from the climbers above. Because invariably there's someone above, breaking more ice than you do. If only they learnt how to place their ice axes, for heaven's sake!

And then of course the places you visit are always the same and are followed by the same bar afterwards and the same exaggerated story telling by the local hotshots. Before leaping into your car, trying hard not to think about the endless journey home.

O.K., the image conjured up is a bit gloomy, but allow me to exaggerate a bit. How else could I tempt you with the other side of the coin? How else could I convince you to explore an unnamed valley which ice climbers haven't yet set foot in? Some sneakily say its because the Swiss army have good aim and it's a lot wiser to stay away from military ranges, but they don't shoot every day. And up 'till now they haven't hit anybody!

Anyway, this area is new and although it's best to read the instructions carefully before use, it's also something different and a great alternative to the usual places, where the greatest uncertainty is whether they'll be someone on your icefall, and whether getting up at 5.00 am is early enough to avoid the falling ice from above…
Happy ice climbing in Switzerland!

Speeding up Jet Leg during the first ascent. Switzerland