Love ice, love life. The Cogne Ice Opening 2015


Matthias Scherer on Hard Ice Direct, Cogne. Photo Angela Percival/Arc’teryx


Ice, ephemeral and fleeting, defining our transient life.

Ice, cold and tough, revealing its secrets with relentless resistance.

And then there is the Ice of the Cogne Ice Opening Festival, where old and new friends meet and the keyword is only one: having fun.

Whether people tackle the ice for the first time or want a tougher challenge, there was something for everyone at the fourth edition of this excellent gathering. People from all over the world reserved their places well in advance and have already set aside some time for next year’s event.  What is its secret? People are SMILING at the Opening. Always.

Clinics were organized over two days and people were happy sharpening their tools, despite unusual warm temperatures all over Europe. It’s cold in winter in Lillaz, didn’t you know? You do know now!

And of course there was the All about the Ice evening, with talks and videos, laughs and tears and the joyful expectation of the raffle.

The evening kicked off with Alex Crudo, member of the Cogne Mountain Guides, talking about the guides’ activities and remembering a prestigious member who sadly passed away this year, Albino Savin. A representative of the Gran Paradiso National Park illustrated the climbing ban on three lines in the Valnontey area because of a bird who has its nest there – the lines you CANNOT climb are Monday Money, Gusto di Scozia, Flash estivo, Flash estivo colonnato centrale, Fiumana di Money. More info here                 Luka Lindic  illustrated his way to alpinism, with images of some of his exploits, such as the Integrale de Peuterey, Rolling Stones on the north face of the Grandes Jorasses – which he free climbed – and his expeditions the world over. Jeff Mercier showed two exciting videos of his link up of three hard routes in Kanderstegg, early this year, with Julien Irilli. Klemen Premrl, who last year enthralled the public with his iceberg climbs, showed a video of his exciting Iceland trip, climbing ice with the aurora borealis in the background, in his the Iceland Trifecta. Matthias Scherer, Tanja and Heike Schmitt rounded off the night with the European premiere of their Stormbringer – No retreat  video on their Norwegian trip.

A big thank you goes to all the guides who helped during the event:  Maël Baguet, Jon Bracey, Matt Helliker, Heike Schmitt, Isabelle Santoire, Cecile Thomas, Maciek Cieselski, Titi Gentet, Patrick Pessi, Jeff Mercier, Patrick Raspo, Marco Farina and Alberto Silver Silvestri.

What are we to learn from all these videos and images? One simple lesson: go beyond your limits, tackle new challenges, but most of all, whatever you do, love life. And do pay a visit to Cogne for excellent ice climbing. As usual, you will not be disappointed.

Proudly sponsored by Arc’teryx, Black Diamond, La Sportiva, Glorify, Sterling, Clif Bar and Suunto.


Many people during the clinics!


We are never short of girls at the Cogne Ice Opening!!


Jeff Mercier illustrating his Kandersteg link-up.


Francois Cazzanelli and Marco Farina talking about their Cerro Torre ascent. I moderated the evening!

Cogne 1

Luka Lindic gets going at dry tooling in Lillaz. Photo Hugo Vincent

Cogne 2

Having fun on Loie! Photo Hugo Vincent

Jeff Mercier Kandesteg cop Rab

Jeff Mercier during his Kandersteg link up. Photo cop Rab


Klemen Premer in action in Iceland. Photo Tim Kemple


Matthias Scherer during his Norway trip. Cop Matthias Scherer/Arc’teryx


When ice climbing is a work of art… at the table. Only at Hotel Ondezana, Cogne


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