“Gondo Crack” is a very logical line, which doesn’t need any bolts to be climbed. Climbed this way it definitely requires more effort, but it manages to transmit stronger emotions.
If I ever find a line similar to “Gondo Crack”, personally I would choose to not bolt it. I hope that our ascent will help transmit this alternative way of experiencing climbing.
During the past few years I have spent a lot of time in Ossola: its granite faces represent the perfect playground for those who love trad climbing and the potential of opening new routes is endless; there are still open projects.
Among these, probably the most famous is “Gondo Crack”, in the crag of Cippo in Switzerland , straight after the border with Ossola, the lines was bolted at the end of the nineties by two climbing icons of the Ossola valley, Maurizio Pellizzon and Alessandro Manini.
It is a narrow crack which diagonally climbs up the slightly overhanging wall; the first section, until a rest, which is 2/3 up the route, is relatively simple, but all the difficulties are concentrated along the last metres. Throughout the years it has resisted all the attempts of the many climbers, becoming one of the better known projects of the area.
After our trip to Spain we wanted to pull out our cams once again, therefore we set off directly towards Ossola.
During the previous autumn we had already tried the route once, but the time had come to free it; we managed to climb it on our second day, sport climbing it, it was clear right from the beginning that freeing it green-point would be the best solution for us, that means only placing removable protections. The route in fact follows a narrow crack which only ends a few metres below the chain; the line is so evident that personally I thought it was possible to climb even without bolts.
So, after a few days of rest we came back, checking out where to place the pro. The first part is protected decently, even if in some points it is best not to fall, while the second section, the crux, is characterised by a long run out on a small cam. The protection seems solid, but you need to climb the crux section, which ends with an airy lunge, without protection; if that cam were to come out, you could fall to the ground. In the end though, we made it we climbed the route without using bolts.
Climbed this way, the route definitely requires a lot more effort, but it also gives strong emotions. If I were to find a line similar to “Gondo Crack”, personally I would choose not to bolt it . I hope our ascent helps to spread this alternative way of climbing, especially in an area like Ossola, a true paradise for trad climbing.