Friday, May 26, 2017

Day 2 around the Grigna: Cresta Segantini

Breakfast doesn't start until 8, so we can't really get an early start, but we're underway as quickly as we can be. There are, once again, low clouds over the peaks above us... ah well, we will hope those burn off. The same trail as yesterday (though moving a bit more slowly due to the packs full of climbing gear) up to the fork with the 8, which we follow this time. Fortunately the group of people we've run into stay on the 7th, so we're alone... excellent! Despite being called "Direttissima", the 8 leads up, up, up by traversing the mountain. Ignoring the misleading name, this is another excellent trail which ends up leading us up ladders, across bits secured with chains and cables, through a narrow chimney, and all of this in a crazy landscape of stone towers. Great fun!
Eventually we make our way to the ridge at the Colla Valsecchi and find our way to the (very well signed) beginning of the route for the Cresta Segantini. Here we put on the gear and head to where the actual climbing starts. We tie on the rope and get underway. We're in cloud but it's not too thick, so visibility is ok; the cloud has the side benefit of keeping the temperatures down. There's a pair of Italians in front of us, but they're far enough ahead that we never have to wait (plus with the cloud we can generally only hear them anyway). Since we don't end up with anyone behind us we're pretty much alone until we hit the peak. The ridge is really a huge amount of fun. It's mostly alpine climbing, but the climbing is never difficult (we're not wearing climbing shoes) and there tends to be a bolt near the trickier bits (and when those aren't there we have a few friends, the stoppers, and plenty of slings with us, so we can improvise). The markings were pretty good, so route finding wasn't that bad (though we ended up abseiling a couple of descents where we either missed the straightforward climb down or there just wasn't one). With our lunch break along the way the full ridge takes us about five and half hours; the book says two to three hours, so we really aren't especially fast. That's something for us to continue to practice,
For the trip down we continue along the really nice trail along the ridge until we hit the intersection between trails 1 and 3 from the previous day. Here we continue down trail 1 to get back to the hotel.
This was our first trip with a new rope (60m Mammut 9.5mm Infinity Dry SD).

The track (plenty of noise due to the climbing):

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