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Be not solitary, be not idle. / Every man is, or hopes to be, an idler.
Dr Samuel Johnson, The Idler

Tue Feb 05, 2002

La Thuile

Dear Journal, this weekend I was snowboarding in La Thiule with Julien, a newfound amico. It was my first time in this part of the Alps, and the resort seemed somewhat shabby as there was not good snow cover low down. The pistes were more open than what I had previously experienced in the Dolomites. I guess I prefer the tree-lined slopes.

Conditions were not fantastic, but this meant the piste was not crowded and there was ample snow for my ability. I found Julien to be a very proficient skier of the telemark variety and I spent the day playing catch up. The weather was clear, and I got my first view of the grand mass of Mont Blanc across the valley.

Tue Feb 12, 2002


Dear Journal, I have finally made it out onto real rock. Lecco, 45 minutes from Milan the closest climbing spot for the Milanese. Our crag was called Galbiate, apparently much frequented by the Milanese due to its easy access. Perched up on a hillside overlooking Lago di Annone it is small, compact and with routes of all grades on either slabby or vertical rock.

Sunday we ventured further abroad climbing up from Lecco a whole new world revealed itself, dense wooded hillsides and jagged snow capped mountains suggested we had arrived in another country, but we were still just outside Milan. This was Valsassina a high valley dominated by the Grigna, a truly alpine mountain covered in rocky outcrops. Today however this was not our destination, we were heading for Barzio and the crags of Angelone which we found near a car park at the foot of a ski lift.

The climbing here is on discreet buttresses on a steep wooded hillside. It is generally slabby and technical in nature with short pitches some of which can be run together to make longer climbs. The view was fantastic, dominated again by those same dense woodlands. I was surprised to find that it is possible to climb in the mountains at this time of year. It was sunny and warm, quite incredible.