February - eventfull month on Piz Badile
The northeast face of the Piz Badile (3308m) was noted as, „one of the six great north faces of the Alps” by Gaston Rebuffat. In February, this coveted face saw three winter ascents.
The team of Christoph Hainz and Roger Schäli climbed the Cassin Route (TD, 800m) on February 17th, a classic, and probably the most famous route in the Central Alps. The route ascends the slabs to the right of center of the face. In dry conditions the most difficult climbing is V (5.8) – VI (5.9), but the rock is often wet or icy. Additionally, due to the aspect of the face, snow readily collects on the climb. All of these factors add to the difficulty of the route. Hainz and Schäli completed the over thirty pitch route in one day. Once on top, the team chose not to bivy at the summit hut, but rather rappel through the night down the North Ridge.
Also on February 17th, Fabio Valseschini started his solo of the British Route (ED1, 600m). This was not Valseschini’s first solo of the Piz Badile. Last winter he made the first solo winter ascent of the Brothers’ Route (TD+: 5.9 A1/2, 800m). Unlike Hainz and Schäli, Valseschini bivied three times while on the route. He completed his climb the afternoon of February 20th.
The day after Valseschini completed his solo of the Brothers’ Route, on February 21st, Rossano Libera started his solo of the Cassin Route. Conditions were much different than during the ascent of Hainz and Schäli. Libera climbed most of the route using ice tools with some difficult mixed climbing. Like Valseschini, this was not Libera’s first time on the Piz Badile. He had attempted the Cassin route several times before in addition to soloing Ringo Starr (ED1, 650m) during the winter of 2004.