Ice Climbing Campsut

Another weekend, another trip to the Avers valley for ice-climbing. This time we chose Campsut as our destination. The waterfall is conveniently located only a few hundred meters away from the parking spot next to the road. The topography makes this safe from avalanches. However, there is a giant icicle forming on the overhanging rock above the waterfall. Lots giant blocks of ice at the base of the fall are a reminder that you definitely want to watch out for that one.

Early morning with beautiful clear skies.
On the short approach.
Getting ready in a sheltered spot.

We started in groups of two, Luigi and me on one side and Arne and Mark on the other. Luigi started on the harder part with a lot of enthusiasm. And then got shut down by the brittleness of the ice. When we started to climb it was -17°C. Cold enough to make the ice hard and shatter like glass. A lot of work making progress in these conditions and many of our ice screws for protection were of sub par quality. Luigi got pumped and retreated halfway up the line. We kept at it for a few more attempts, establishing a veritable highway of hookable holes and steps on the lower part. Eventually Arne came over and gave it a shot. He led the final few meters to the anchor and we finally established a complete line to the top.

Me, before we managed to drive the rope all the way up. This would eventually be a 60 meter pitch that required both ropes tied together.
Mark wasn't feeling super well and sat out some attempts.
An old Abalakov anchor frozen into the ice.

Another party showed up later and we swapped top ropes for a bit. It was a day were nobody seemed super keen on leading (I was a top rope hero all day...) and instead we just practiced running laps on top ropes. Including some games like climbing the rock, climbing super thin, delicate sheets of ice or trying to ascend the easier lines without ice axes. In the end I totalled maybe 220 meters or so.

Curtain of icicles.
We climbed this pillar on the left.
Arne driving the ropes up. The weird flakes in the foreground were quite an experience to climb. You can't really protect them using screws, but on top rope you can try carefully hooking your way up without breaking the delicate structure.
Me and Luigi.
Caveman Sören.
Arne. Spindrift on the right. Giant icicles of Doom on the left. Knot in the rope proving a long pitch.
Thron. Not in great condition. In fact, we got worried about a party of two we saw start up in the morning. Their car was still parked at the side of the road, their backpacks clearly visible at the base of the fall but the climbers nowhere to be seen. This is strange on a climb where you can see the entire line of ascent and descent from the road. We informed the local climbing hostel to keep an eye out for them.


Ice Climbing near Cresta

Luigi is obsessed with ice climbing, it's all he's been talking about the past few weeks. He's monitoring temperatures obsessively, reads all the forums where people discuss conditions and organizes his family outings to locations that allow him to observe the ice forming. Thus, as soon as it looked at all feasible, we went to sample the conditions for real. Arne, Luigi and I drove up to the Avers valley and scrambled down the steep snowy slope into the canyon of the Ferrera creek. The ice was already nicely formed, if a little thin and brittle in places. Luigi led the easiest looking line and installed a top rope so we could all get a few practice runs in. I climbed five variations for a total of maybe 150 meters of climbing. Including the pillar in the middle of the image. Amazing, the kind of confidence a top rope inspires ;-)

On the approach.
The crag. Sören on ice.
View from above.
Arne hacking his way up.
Winter wonderland.
Summit selfie.
Curtain of icicles. We climbed the pillar on the left.
Arne on the pillar.
Not everyone makes it through the winter. It's a very remote and wild valley.
Thron forming. The crown jewel in terms of ice climbing in this valley. Not yet fattened up enough.