Cogne Ice Opening 2016 – Emotions within nature

15622014_729711900516095_2671164273620336482_n

Photo Hugo Vincent

 

Ice climbing. The magic of hitting an ephemeral frozen waterfall, defying the elements and living for the moment. Expert ice climbers will tell you that there is so much more to ice climbing than the mere ascent of a line. It’s all about the experience, living here and now, creating strong bonds within your rope party, accepting challenges and facing them head-on.

While the progress in technology, both in terms of gear and clothing, allows you to test your limits, the mountains can always strike back, the power of nature being beyond human control.

What are we to learn from an event such as the Cogne Ice Opening, having now reached its fifth edition? First of all, the human facet is always the most important one: as with any field of life, some people may be more committed than others, but one thing is common to all, i.e. respect for the mountains and those around you.   In Lillaz, where the air is cold and the wind unforgiving, a spellbinding buzz will enthuse and you will find yourself sharing a rope with new and old friends, smiling despite the not so comfortable conditions, hearing motivating stories, and having a good time.

As was the case for the past editions, several renowned and truly respectable mountaineers walked the stage of the All about the Ice movie night this year. From François Damilano to Mathieu Maynadier and Rudolf Hauser, plus Matthias Scherer , the mind behind the Ice Opening. He is usually on stage to present other athletes, while he was asked a few questions by none other than Monsieur Damilano this time, primarily concerning decisions. Matthias showed his spellbinding Anathema film, on ice climbing in Norway, together with his wife Tanja and her twin sister Heike, a mountain guide. When circumstances are harsh and the climbing so committing, the power of the rope party becomes stronger than ever. “I have climbed with Tanja and Heike for so long, that a glance is enough to read their minds and decide what move is next.” Conditions can be tasking in Norway – brittle ice along mammoth lines – so team spirit needs to be high. François Damilano, an endless list of first ascents on ice, including the iconic Repentance, under his belt, recalled his first encounter with Cogne, upon invitation by Giancarlo Grassi, and showed a video which marked the evolution of ice climbing from the beginning of the new century, to the somewhat new dry tooling activities. Extreme alpinist Rudolf Hauser explored the media influence into crafting ice climbing videos, and also illustrated his solo project, climbing two lines in the Hochkogel region in Austria (1000 and 1.400 metres) and linking them with a 20 km run, all in just over 11 hours, in 2014. Mathieu Maynadier, who completed astounding first ascents and expeditions in the Karakoram, Alaska, Nepal, Peru, and many other places, enthralled the public with the first video from the Maewan project. The brainchild of Erwan Le Lann, Maewan is a small boat which will go around the world in search of beguiling projects for four years. This first part involved sailing from north Iceland to Greenland pursuing cool lines to ski, thus having a sailor, a freerider and an alpinist on board.

The world is your oyster, it would seem, for the possibilities are endless in the mountains, if you put your mind to it. The Ice Opening has, once again, brought smiles and adventure, fun and commitment. Could the ice climbing season have started in a better way? I strongly doubt so.  Venture out and explore, listen to your emotions and follow your instinct. The mountains are waiting.

 

The event was kindly sponsored by La Sportiva, Arc’teryx, Petzl, Black Diamond, Sterling Rope, Suunto and Glorify.

15589523_1645442612148200_3964134227625260077_n

Photo Nicolas Magnin

15622552_1645521068807021_8537159064867571268_n

John Bracey belaying Nicolas Magnin (Photo N. Magnin)

img_0066

Go girls!

img_0063

Many people are eager to hit the ice.

dsc01233

Matthias Scherer interviewed by Francois Damilano

15541474_730241687129783_806969884502744194_n

Photo Hugo Vincent

dsc01213

15590620_729711903849428_2124636552263360731_n

Photo Hugo Vincent

15492413_730241667129785_6072808488088522730_n

Photo Hugo Vincent

img_0074

Jeff Mercier at the dry tooling crag.

 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s