Pitch I - Cascade de Lillaz
© industrialiceman, Feb 2009
Cascade de Lillaz is one of Europe's finest ice climbs. Situated in Cogne, Italy's ice climbing paradise, the route is justifiably popular and has 81 ticks in the UKC logbooks.
It is described in the UKC Logbooks thus:
"5 pitches. One of the most well known and busy waterfalls in Italy! The start can be WI 4 but is usually climbed out with stairs to the top. The second pitch is a short section with a gaping hole in the ice at the bottom. From the second pitch to the last three pitches is a 10 minute walk up along the creek bed. The last three pitches are usually fat and to descend you walk off on the left side at the top of the last pitch. Beware the sluice at the very top which can release huge amounts of freezing water onto the route with no warning!"
In the film below from TVMountain we see Sir Chris Bonington and Mick Fowler make short work of this classic icefall.
Bonington, still happily cruising WI3 at the age of 76, is perhaps Britain's most famous climber, author of around twenty books and first ascensionist of many significant climbs, from UK rock classics such as Coronation Street in Cheddar Gorge, to the somewhat more harrowing 1977 ascent of The Ogre in the Karakoram.
"[Bonington] and Doug Scott made the first ascent of the Ogre (23,900 ft.) in the Karakoram Himalaya and had an epic six-day descent, aided by Mo Anthoine and Clive Rowland, through a blizzard, with Doug Scott crawling all the way as he had broken both his legs soon after leaving the summit. Bonington also had a fall and broke a rib, they ran out of food and when at last they reached Base Camp, starving and exhausted, it was only to find that their companions had given them up for lost and abandoned the camp."
Mick Fowler, now in his mid-fifties, is another legend of British climbing, having also made several important first ascents on British Rock, such as Linden at Curbar, as well as taking his skills further afield, making many notable first ascents on the greater ranges, such as the Golden Pillar of Spantik in Pakistan with Victor Saunders.
See Sir Chris Bonington and Mick Fowler in action in this video:
Sir Chris Bonington and Mick Fowler are Berghaus athletes.