There was another six inches of powder to contend with today. The trail up the hillside was still present and there was a hard crust beneath the fresh layer of snow to aid ascent. On closer inspection it became apparent that we had yesterday been looking at an icy couloir further right called Pattinaggio Artistico as the first pitch of Sospiri Ibernati was absent. The former route now seemed the best option for squeezing another climb in without drama. Pattinaggio Artistico Direct incidentally looked in top condition.
|The absent first pitch of Sospiri Ibernati (WI4+)|
|Pattinaggio Artistico Direct (WI5+)|
The belays were difficult to locate due to the fresh snow but fortunately Anna uncovered some bolts close to the route that facilitated the down-climb into the couloir. I somehow then missed the first set on belay bolts on the right side of the couloir despite sweeping the rock clean in the immediate vicinity. I made ice screw belay higher up beneath the crux steepening.
It was a pleasant finale to the trip to see Anna lead the crux of the route. Arguably it was another hardest lead for her with the short icefall being around 80-85 degrees and probably harder than typical conditions. She made another ice screw belay higher up and looked exhausted upon joining her.
|Below the crux step|
|The crux ice|
|Easy snow slopes|
|The penultimate pitch|
We followed a trail North through the trees, which eventually dropped down to meet the slopes above E Tutto Relativo from where we picked up yesterday’s descent. It was 2.40pm by the time we were back in Lillaz. I reckoned we had 20 mins to play with so there was time for a hot chocolate and panini impressively filled with an inch of cheese.