Sep 23, 2017

Aroletta Superior - vie du Saillant

The peak of Aroletta Superior is suited in Italy, Valpelline, and accessed from the village of Dzovenno. Which is just before Bionaz.
This area is reached via Aosta if your coming from the Italian side or col Grand Bernardo from the Swiss side.

Neighbors outside the rifuigo room window

We headed to this little unheard spot because the weather elsewhere closer to the massif du Mont Blanc was very cold and snowy. Valpelline is often in a sort of weather window when the bad meteo moves in from the north, so it was a perfect time to have it checked out. And, its Italy so it means good food and brilliant coffee!
Sunset at Rif. Crête Sèche

The rifugio, Crête Sèche, is also known for its good standard, good food and nice rooms. And a very good bar. At least summertime. In winter there is no electricity and running water. But in summer, well the spot is excellent and easy accessed. 1.5h walk from the parking on good trails/mudroad.
It is possible to drive much higher up with a 4x4 or a strong vehicle, but I don't advice to do this since the walk is beautiful and easy and more environmental friendly.
The Aroletta Superiore as seen from the rifugio

Arriving at the rifugio we had 2 days of possible climbing. The choice for the first day was easy, the wall of Aroletta looked clean and solid. So just needed to find a route that could work for us.
After a good dinner prepared by Marco we made our plans which was easy; lets decide tomorrow!!
And aimed for a seven o´clock breakfast.
Which seemed to be early enough, since it was really cold, just +2°C and a bit of wind making it feel like -10°!
But after some typish Italian breakfast, the hut was about to close in the next couple of days, so the bread was only used with strong teeth. And the rest of the breakfast, well nothing really... dry hard bread and some indefinite jam, but at least and most important, the best coffee I had in a long time.
Rif Crête Sèche

the voie "du Saillant" 

With the sun raising over the peaks the wind settled a bit and it started to feel more doable. So we packed up and headed of towards the days goal. Heading for the voie "du Saillant"
Prima Ascensione: J.Ph. Bourley, B. Marnette il 27-07-‘06
Lunghezza via: 250 m.
Dislivello: 180 m.
Difficoltà: TD (6a- 5c obb.)
A route that looked doable enough and with a bit of interesting sections.
Finding the base of the route was pretty obvious, it was just getting there that turned out to be the resistance. Didn't look like it was overcrowded with climbers in a year. To be direct, the walk u over the moraine was a small battle. But after close to 2hours we where ready to chalk on.
Per on Pitch 2

The first section is easy scrambling up to a small diedre with one bolt.
Then, it looked easy, which it also was, but super solid rock made placing any gear more or less impossible. 
A 45m pitch and I found a perfect belay with a huge metal chain.
Second pitch. In the top it is described as a little mossy at the start and then a clean diedre. Well, maybe a little more mossy than that!
Very compact rock which now and then becomes loose with small untrusty flakes...making the climbing very precise and interesting. In Swedish we use the word "Fjällklättring" which make a description of not always perfect rock, more like a little bit of everything.
The last bit up to next belay, guarded by two pitons and an old piece of rope, was close to a pure fight. Looking on some doubtful protection below me, I just know it was not a good thing to fall. 
Belaying Per up to me I watch him suffer a bit but after some regular cussing we finally come to share the belay.

Pitch 3
Next one; third pitch is the most memorable. Really good climbing on mostly perfect rock. A nice roof is passed on the left and climbs into a good crack system with nice technical climbing. Which goes up to a perfect hand crack and then a bit of thin but easy climbing to two old pitons.
Me on pitch 4, photo Per Jerberyd

Summit feeling

The start from the 4th pitch is a little bit sensitive but after that it gets on to easy stuff.
Which is good because at this time the clouds are thighting in on us and snow starts to fall out of them. Great adventures!
Per on the summit ridge..
...and very proud over his well used fingers!

So the last couple of pitches needs to go quite fast.
And as often, the very summit turns out to be not as seemed on the photo. We are meet by a very exposed ridge, super alpine and airy, but easy scrambling. The north/east ridge was told to be the fastest way down. Only one issue, finding the anchors. Finding the first one, on the north side, we abseiled down some 15mts and then decided to surround the ridge eastwards. And, there it was. An old but good rappel anchor.
Only one issue, again!!, it looked like the whole ridge could follow us down. The whole installation was built on loose rocks and big stones.
Yes, there is an anchor!
So, moving like balled dancers we gently made our way down. First as described a 45mts rappel, followed by two 50mts rappels...and then a bit of down climbing but now we started to get used to the loos stuff so it was more like just surfing on bad waves!
Rappel terrain...oh la la
Next day...snow


Vie du Saillant
Grade 6a obl 5c
Lenght 250mts
2x50mts ropes (for rappel back)
4-6QD´s (good luck to be able to place any more ;-)
Small set of mid size cams up to #3 BD
Small set of wire nuts

For the descent: scramble toward the North summit. Find the anchor just below the peak and rappel down approx 10-15mts. Scramble up to the ridge and make a short rappel out south east to find the first anchor on the east ridge.

Topo over Superior, no2 is "Saillant"

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