Tuesday 26 July 2011

Orco Valley

In an attempt to find some elusive sunshine, a team of 7 Chamonix climbers headed down to the Orco Valley, just north of Turin, in search of dry rock. The Orco is known as a granite mecca, and is said to contain the "hardest crack in Europe". Unfortunately I was on a mileage mission, otherwise I would have obviously bagged it.

The drive from Cham is about 2.5 hours, so not too bad at all, and very scenic. Once there we had 3 days exploring the numerous crags and climbed everything from bolted slabs to off width horror shows, and everything in between. I have to admit that we didn't feel that the Valley lived up to it's reputation, but there is still plenty of climbing to go at, and I would be happy to go again. The most common complaints were that the crags were quite broken, with numerous grassy ledges everywhere, and that the ethics seemed a little confused. There is apparently a constant circle of bolting, bolt removal and re bolting, so the nature of the routes changes regularly.

Despite these quibbles, I had an awesome time, and it was great to see the sun! I'm sure it's going to make it's way over to Cham soon. Here's a few shots to remind everyone here what dry, sunny rock looks like!

Peter climbing slabs - a rare sight. "There's no grips!!!"

Getting confident now

Van living

Amazing corner crack high on "Pesce D'Aprile