"As always, beyond the technical aspects, it is the human experience that remains most vividly marked, and this adventure was only possible thanks to great teamwork and perfect harmony. Once down in the valley, we decided to rename the route "Enigma", due to the state of uncertainty that accompanied us throughout the ascent, right up to the last pitches, where the compact rock left no hope of finding a way up."
One last piece is still missing to close the circle: the free and single repetition of the entire route. However, winter has arrived and the appointment is postponed until spring.
"In March, we noticed the total lack of snow in the Dolomites and thought: super, let's go in April! After all, the Torre Trieste is in the south, perfect for mid-season."
Spring 2023, on the other hand, is crazy and unpredictable, forcing mountaineers to change plans: they keep looking at the weather, rescheduling, but a good window of at least two days never shows up. The end of June arrives, by which time the summer sun makes the south face of the Torre Trieste hot.
"The proverb says fortune helps the brave and that's exactly what happens. We are too willing to climb and repeat our route, we decide to give it a go, whatever happens, on 24 and 25 June. A sudden drop in temperature makes us climb perfectly, without ever taking off our windbreakers. We take turns on the 28 pitches leading to the summit, cheering each other on and, even though we know the route, being amazed by its beauty but also its intensity. We bivouac, cheered by the fire on the large ledge two-thirds of the way up the wall, and the following day we again touch the summit we reached last November. The Enigma is solved, the last piece of the puzzle is in place; now all that remains is to wait for other teams to come and repeat it, to give us their opinion!"
Ale, in these years you have opened routes on Civetta, Cima Ovest di Lavaredo, Torre Trieste, as well as many other peaks. You are leaving your 'trademark' on the big walls of the Dolomites. Is there a style that your routes share, or do you feel that you have evolved over time?"There are actually quite a few now, I should start counting them. The style is always the same: free opening with traditional pitons and fast protections. The first important line was Chimera Verticale, in 2009, and the style with which I still open today is very similar. The only difference is that nowadays I am much more interested in opening free, without artificial pitches. This was a less important requirement during the first experiences, in the sense that I would also open aid and then try free climbing later. Now on the other hand, you try the protections, fly and climb always or almost always. For example in Torre Trieste I only opened 3-4 metres in aid. I was at the end of a dihedral and there was an unstable boulder that I couldn't risk dropping because it was right above my companions' heads. I therefore decided to climb the artificial. After removing the danger, we also free climbed that short section that was missing."
What changes in your mental approach when you start for an opening pitch or a difficult trad free?"I would say that the biggest difference is that in an opening I am 100% aware of the quality of the protections I place. Whereas on a repeat, if there are protections in place, I have to rely on the skills and work of the opener, it's an act of trust. Certainly knowing the difficulty of a pitch helps, but sometimes on an opening I enter into a competitive trance and a level of concentration that is difficult to achieve on a repetition. Very often in the free throws I found myself feeling more fatigue than I did in the opening!"
What advice would you give to a good climber who wants to try to open something new?First of all, it is fundamental to learn how to bolt and to have the patience to do it.
Then, from my point of view, it's pointless to force very demanding lines when just off to the side there are ramps on which you can climb more easily. Today, the increase in climbing skills allows you to look at walls with a different eye. To open up new routes you certainly have to climb with difficulty, but it is very important to try to open up lines that are logical and respectful of existing lines. In short, as the great Bruno Detassis used to say: You must always look for the easy in the difficult."