Why ice climbing should always be commitment, extreme cold and physical torture ?
Cogne valley is a little ice climbing heaven. Everything there is dedicated to the pleasure. You can find a big choice of different routes from WI 3 to WI 6… all the orientations, from 10 to 600m. Even the access is really cool, marked with signs and a big track. Most of belays are on solids bolts and protected from ice falls.
No additional stress, Just enjoying the moment… Carpe diem.
It is exactly in this mood we decided to climb « PATRI » with Ena. It is a really popular line, and it can sometimes be crowded, but it’s also one of the nicest in Valnontey. To be honest, the nicest icefall I ever climbed in this level of difficulty. Not only because I was sharing it with Ena ;)
You start your day by a « one hour walk » through pine trees forest and little stone houses.
The view on « Grand Paradis » taking first sunlight in the background is like a little meditation. So you are completly Zen and relax, when 3 others parties want to climb « patri » in the same time as you ;)
The route starts with 4 beautiful pitches. Never really extreme nor too easy. Little vertical parts spaced with easier snowfields. Ena is leading this part and seems to enjoy a lot !
A perfect appetizer for the main course which follows. You arrive to this beautiful amphitheater.
On the left is « Patri de Gauche » graded 4 and on the right « Patri de Droite » graded 4+. It looks quite tough for a 4+, but volumes for feet and ice axes are helping a lot (as well as the steps made by other climbers). Anyway it is a realy wonderful 40m pitch.
Only attention is to put on ice quality. The ice fall is taking sun in afternoon. On warm day like this march, the ice became airy and whitish. Just be careful not to be too late on this column. Today we are realy in time with our schedule and we don’t catch the sun before last belay.
A 50m abseil and we can walk down until begining of the route.
The walk back to Valnontey is even nicer on the sun. It feels, it smells like spring. One cappuchino on sunny terrasse to celebrate this hedonistic day and we are back to Chamonix.
Is it our last ice climbing day of the season ? Pitty, we still have so many ideas and wishes. We will come back in this beautiful valley of Cogne… next winter for sure ;)
2*60m ropes (OK with 50m)
Technical ice axes (Anaconda cup)
Technical crampons (Vampire bi)