'Bold climb whose name is reminiscent of undertakings in Yosemite Valley, up El Capitan. This however is a wonderful free climb.' These are the words used in by 1984 Roberto Bassi to describe the multi-pitch rock climb Mescalito in his cult guidebook 'Arrampicare in Valle di Sarca, on the limestone white of Arco and surroundings.' How right he was!
The climb established ground-up on 25 November 1982 by Renato Bernard and Renzo Vettori up the Rupe Secca, the large rock face that forms part of Cima Colodri, is a marvellous outing just a stone's throw from the center of Arco. The line is renowned as one of the most beautiful rock climbs in the entire Sarca valley, initially graded VI+/A2 but nowadays, with the addition of bolts at the belays and the pitches, it’s been slightly 'tamed' and results in a great 260m climb (9 pitches) up to 6c/6c +.
The rock is fairly polished due to the numerous repeats, in particular the corner at the start, a section on pitch two and the crux on pitch 3. Generally speaking though the route is still great fun. An absolute classic dating back to the early 80’s that even today proves exciting.
P1: The start is below an obvious red corner placed to the left of the immense wall of ivy, initially somewhat polished by the repeats before continuing with a fun corner and finishing up an overhang with plenty of holds. (6a)
P2: The second pitch starts easily and then reaches the characteristic “bell-shaped funnel" that gives pitch its grade (6c). This pitch is very polished, with feet placed on precarious and slippery footholds. Good jamming technique gets you past this section easily (otherwise resort to pulling on bolts).
P3: The third pitch starts with some violent moves on two greasy crimps (the only polished section on the entire route that actually makes things harder) and feet smeared on not very much to reach a good sidepull from where you can clip the bolt (can be done A0 aid climbing). From here the pitch ascend a fantastic vertical, technical slab. (6c)
P4: The fourth pitch joins various features. It starts leftwards for about ten meters and then climbs a beautiful red vertical slab up to a ledge. Traverse along this rightwards for about twenty meters to the belay. There is an intermediate belay on the ledge, but it’s better to skip this! (6a)
P5: Pitch five deals with the pleasant grey corner that ends on a technical slab which, in turn, leads leftwards to the belay (6b)
P6: Pitch six: this is the most beautiful pitch. It starts with a spectacular red slab and ends on a pumpy overhang with good holds (check out the moves and then go for it, it's easier than it seems) (6c+)
P7: The seventh pitch starts with a traverse leftwards beyond the arête, before climbing a beautiful, slightly overhanging pocketed slab (6a)
P8 & P9: The eighth and ninth pitch are easy (5a) but nevertheless by no means trivial, up the pocketed slab and somewhat runout gear. With a rope of 60m rope, if you extend your runners to avoid the rope drag, these two pitches can be climbed in one.
From the summit follow tracks rightwards to reach the Colodri Via Ferrata, descend this.
12 quickdraws, threads, if you're worried about long runouts take 2 mid-size friends for the first and last two pitches (not indispensable)
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