The Alpine meet is run every year but is not put onto the St. Helens Mountaineering Club card because it is organised by the Alpine Club. It is a requirement that everyone on the meet is experienced in Alpine Climbing or has a mentor to show the ropes. St. Helens members have been major participants in the past but this year we were fewer than usual with only 4 members.
Ken had gone on his own and expected to be mainly walking but a good run of fate was awaiting. One of the “Climbers Club” girls (Claire) wanted to climb whilst her husband was cycling the passes. This led to some great climbs in the Albigno valley up to 10 pitches of perfect granite including ‘Via Meuri, Pix Dal Pal, and Piz Balzette’.
Dave and Tom arrived with a wish list of challenging routes. This was Tom’s first Alpine Trip and he was feeling macho to the point of death defying but thankfully Dave was on hand to tamper down his ardour to realistic expectations. Their first series of climbs, however, were enough to frighten and tire even the most experienced alpinists. They tackled the 7 pitches of Via Felici (7a) then the 16 pitches of Spazzacaldera and the 5c Fiama. No wonder Tom looked doolally after this tiring, hard experience.
|Success on the Fiama|
Dave went on to climb the 3900 metre snow covered Piz Palu from Diavolezza with two Wayfarers Terry and Dave. The wind was so fierce that they turned back just below the summit.
|Piz Palu snow ridge|
Other places visited by the team were Vho crag, a granite outcrop blasted out to make the old road, and the excellent via feratta routes of Chiavenna.