02 November 2011
Italian climber Riccardo (Sky) Scarian has managed the first ascent of an extreme multipitch, Shakti (200 m. 6L 8c 7c/8a obl.), in Val Nuvola, on the border of Region Veneto and Trentino.
On 17th October Scarian made the first free ascent of the route, which was bolted entirely from the bottom. Shakti climbs an unnamed peak of Monte Coppolo, called by the openers Eagles Peak, because eagles were always watching their work on the wall.
Here his report: "Shakti, from the Sanskrit (energy, power), I dedicate to myself and to all those with whom I have shared and share special moments. It climbs a previously-unnamed peak of Monte Coppolo, which we called Picco delle Aquile (Eagles Peak), since the eagles were always watching over us during our days up there.
Val Nuvola, a valley which marks the border between the Trentino and the Veneto, climbs from Lamon, famous for its beans, to the Passo del Brocon. My friend Mario “Zio” Tomas had already talked to me about it a year before. Never-tiring explorer and bolter of routes, Mario had told me about this valley with its huge potential, virgin walls up to 200 m high, incredible rock, smooth slabs and overhangs, so there was everything I was looking for.
The months went by and it needed an injury in July, which fortunately healed successfully, until I found the time to go and check it out when my convalescence coincided with the Zio’s holidays. With a knee still-painful and bruises healing, we set off. I still remember... I was with Mario and Pol; going up the easy path, we started to be able to see the first walls, already interesting, but Zio told us to keep quiet and calm down, the best was yet to come! After 30’ we arrived at the col from where we could admire the marvellous amphitheatre. With the help of binoculars, I started to scrutinise the face and dream of imaginary lines, but my attention was immediately captured by an overhang half-way up one of the faces: my eyes remained glued to it.
So I started to scrupulously observe my dream route. I tried to discover its possibilities and secrets, seeing slabs, cracks and walls that it seemed possible to climb; the question mark remained the big overhang, I looked at it over and over again and it seemed there was a series of holes as far as the end of the overhang, and this was enough to demonstrate there was a faint chance, and so I decided to try in this spot…! On 12 August together with my friend Cristiano, I started to open the route. It was clear immediately that it was impossible to climb “trad”, so I had to drill bolts bottom-up while hanging from skyhooks. Someone once said that climbing is the slowest possible means of motion known to man, well! I think they were right; at most I managed a pitch and a half each day.
On the third visit, with the inseparable Pol, I arrived at the overhang, and it took me a whole day to overcome it, and three hours to resolve the obligatory moves at the finish. It was a great pitch, with obligatory moves at between 7c and 8a, I estimated. The next time, I hadn’t left fixed ropes and I had to repeat the 3 pitches I’d just opened, but the obligatory...I’d forgotten the magic sequence and needed another two hours to work it out. I was destroyed, maybe also because of the heat, and could only mange half the next pitch.
The next time, with Pol, the same script: no fixed ropes, but at least we brought them to leave them for the future. Once again the first three pitches, but much more easily than the time before. I completed pitch 4 only with difficulty, and, exhausted, we decided to descend and leave the fixed ropes. The next time still with Pol and using the fixed ropes, we arrived at the end of the fourth pitch in no time, we prepared the gear… and I set off, hopeful… perhaps hoping to complete the route that same day, I thought it’d get easier, but it wasn’t to be!
After half the pitch, I found a good smooth slab in front of me. I managed to understand the moves only after countless falls and managed to climb it thanks to a shock of adrenaline that shook me from head to foot: at the end of the sequence with the last bolt well beneath me, at the moment of the dyno for what I imagined was a good hold, half the crimp that I was holding broke and while I could already feel gravity pulling me down, I could hear Pol’s energetic incitement as he told me to dyno!!!
My mind was already thinking about the fall, but desperation made me attempt the dyno and miraculously I found myself hanging by one hand from a good hold, yelling. Then I calmed myself down and finished climbing pitch 5. With our throats by now dry, we called it a day and opted for the cold beers that awaited us at the bar.
On the next visit, and unsure of whether I was happy or not, I saw that the last pitch was a pushover, and in a flash we were on the summit.
Now we only needed to close the circle with the RP of what for me is definitely the best and hardest route that I’ve so far put up. It’s a gem: spectacular rock, all types of climbing from steep overhangs to technical slabs, all with massive exposure in a wild and, at the same time, relaxing setting.
17 October 2011, I get up at 06:20, and it’s still dark outside…but things promised well! As I prepare coffee and breakfast it gets light: a splendid autumn day. I say goodbye to Giorgia who wishes me good luck and go to pick up Pol. Today was the last chance to climb the route with Pol (I really wanted to do it with him), then he’ll be away for two weeks and the good weather won’t last forever.
We pause in Lamon for our usual coffee and then proceed to the Val Nuvola. We park the car, and climb the easy path in the crisp air which prompts us to walk quickly. In 40 minutes, maybe less, we are below Eagles peak. The day before I’d fallen twice on the crux pitch…on the last hard move, but feel that this could be “the” day, I feel full of energy and mentally am at the top... Shakti! I set off determined and it all seems easy.
In a flash I climb the first two pitches and arrive at the second stance at the same time as the first rays of the sun, fantastic! I enjoy the view and wait for Pol. Our eagle comes as well to wish us Good Day! Now it’s “the roof”, a fantastic pitch which is also the crux. I set off determined and concentrated and climb quickly and precisely…it’s 11:45 and the dream is already a reality! Three pitches remain. I’m unsure of the grade oif the remaining pitches, because I’ve climbed them only while opening the route; I have an idea, but it doesn’t take into account doing the moves all in one go.
After a long struggle I have to give in, I look and study the moves better and ask Pol to lower me to the stance. I rest 30’ on the route’s most exposed and uncomfortable stance. Then the doubts start to set in, but I still believe I can do it, I have to! I pull the rope and set off again, I climb nimbly and quickly, hoping that a slip won’t betray me, and arrive at stance 4…! Pitch 5 is a bit easier, I manage it first go, then a standing ovation on the last pitch. That’s it! Pol is as happy as I am and doesn’t quite believe it, we abb off and lay down in the sun, enjoying the moment! Then towards home…a good bottle of wine is waiting for us!!!
I would like to thank all those who shared these splendid days on “Shakti ” with me: Mario Tomas “lo Zio”, Cristiano Marinello, Igor Simoni, Michele Gaio, Giampaolo Corona,and in particular the legendary Paolo Loss “Pol” who at almost 60 years of age shares and inspires so many adventures.
I thank: La Sportiva, Montura, Black Diamond, Revò, Gabel.
Approach: From Lamon continue to San Donato at the entrance of the Val Nuvola. Go through it, follow the forest road that traverses the Val Nuvola and climb to the Passo del Brocon (about 6 km), 200 m after the 12th hairpin (little white house) park (lay-by). Climb straight up in the wood under the first rocky walls (5 min.) and from here continue on the path for about 40 min., to arrive at the big amphitheatre
Pitch 1: 7b 30 mt. 5 bolts
Pitch 2: 7c+/8a 33 mt. 8 bolts
Pitch 3: 8b+/8c 28 mt. 8 bolts
Pitch 4 8a 30 mt. 8 bolts
Pitch 5 7c+ 30 mt. 7 bolts
Pitch 6: 6b 25 mt. 4 bolts
Length: 200 mt.
Max difficulty: 8b+/8c
Obligatory difficulty: 7c/8a
Descent: abseil down the route (clip the rope into quickdraws descending Pitch 3).
Equipment: One 70 mt. or two 60 mt. ropes, 8 quickdraws. The route is fully bolted including the stances.
Riccardo Scarian, born in1968 in Transacqua (Trento), works on Mountain Rescue Team of Guardia di Finanza.
Some highlights of his career:
- Via Attraverso il pesce (2nd On sight ascent 1991) Marmolada
-FA Via Cani morti 8b+ (8a obl) 2003 Campanili di Lastei
-Solo per vecchi guerrieri 8c/+ (2nd ascent) 2007 Vette Feltrine
-Bain de sang 9a St.Loup (Swiss) 2006
-Drumtime 8c+/9a Fonzaso 2006
-Il Gladiatore 8c+ Fonzaso 2003
- Boulders up to 8A
-1st National Championship Bouldering 2001
- 5 times winner National Championship Speed