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To do nothing at all is the most difficult thing in the world, the most difficult and the most intellectual.
Oscar Wilde, Intentions, The Critic as Artist

Mon Oct 21, 2002

Valle d'Aosta

A splendid weekend in northern Italy. After days and days of greyness the sun finally broke through to give two days of perfect climbing weather. Since the weather was fine there was no need to rush, so an excellent brunch was prepared Saturday morning courtesy of Claudia at whose house we all met. Our destination was Valle d'Aosta were Max had a house. We were treated to fine views of Monta Rosa on the otherwise featureless autostrada from Milan, the snow was returning and it didn't seem to be too long before the ski season would start.

We arrived in Valle d'Aosta mid afternoon and decided to climb at Arnad. These granite crags are in the valley floor and provide short climbs of all grades. Those who like to walk a bit further before climbing can do, and they will find longer routes of 5 or 6 pitches, including the excellent Lomasto Pillar.

The climbing required balance and technique, often using quite small holds and smears well protected with bolts. Out of the wind the temperature was very warm, but as soon as the sun dropped behind the horizon it became cold very quickly. Aosta isn't the most beautiful valley, especially from this view point and the ever present autostrada running its length.

Sunday was a lesson in climbing hard routes. We headed for the Cubo an enourmous cube of granite moderately overhanging with routes of 8a and above. Never before had I seen so many people trying such hard routes all in one place. Most were of course working the routes, but a few such as Alberto Gnerro and Christian Bindhammer seemed to be just warming up. It was quite motivational, so in a burst of confidence I attempted the only 6c at the crag. I wish I hadn't, even though on top rope I just didn't have the stamina and took several rests before reaching the chain and feeling woefully inadequate. Ah well back to the training wall then.


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