Saturday, 17 July 2010

Italian Job

This may be a little behind schedule (as i've been back for three weeks...) but I thought i'd keep you updated on my latest trip to Val Daone in Northern Italy! With other members of staff enjoying the UK, i made my latest trip onto the continent to a new and developing valley in the Trentino region, to discover some granite bouldering. On my last trip to Spain in September, we met two Italians who invited us to their local area to check out Daone, and in June we arrived... rain. The irony was not lost, although it gave us four days to check out the local area, customs, and indeed the local hotspot of Arco, albeit for bouldering. However, finally the weather relented and we had chance to camp in one of the most picturesque locations i have ever seen (in a meadow, no less, i thought they didn't actually exist!) and climb some rough and superb granito.

Nudole was the sector we explored the most, a superb venue with steep overhangs, delicate slabs and aretes galore and if you go, it is certainly the place to start. We also checked out two of the other sectors, La Plana and Foresta but beware the grades can vary through the different areas. The sublime Spigolo dell'anguria 7b+ (right)was indeed easier than a similar 7a further down the valley...

Our second Monday also involved a visit to the La Sportiva factory: a really interesting experience, especially after seeing the local DMM factory a few months prior to leaving home. It was intriguing and fascinating to see the care taken on every pair of shoes (each of which goes through 115 pairs of hands) and to realise that the price you sometimes pay for this is occasionally needing to send a pair back.

With Wednesday being my birthday, we tried some highball climbs high in the valley, for which there are some bolts, and it is advisable to take a rope, harness or two, some slings and screwgates. However, the toil on Spigolo seemed to have taken it's toll, as the day turned out to be my last of climbing as i injured my shoulder.

Homeward bound, we stopped for a couple of days in Fontainbleau, before making the epic drive back to Wales. Returning home, tired, broken and with work the next day, i simply had to look back on an eventful and exhausting trip, also involving pizza in Italy, hours of time on the road to cover 3,500 miles, and a lost wallet! Big question: would i go back? Most definitely.

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