/ Information about Cogne?

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ScottyG - on 26 Dec 2017
Hi all,

I am planning a trip to Cogne in January for about a week. I was wondering if the collective community of UKC has any helpful information regarding accommodation, specific areas to stay near or to avoid, and any other handy hints and tips about Cogne. Going on a reasonable budget and intending to hire a car but would like to keep the cost down as much as we can.

Thanks, Scott
Hay - on 26 Dec 2017
In reply to ScottyG:
Been a couple of times.
Personally reckon; fly to Milan, hire car there (miles cheaper than Geneva) stay in La Barme.
La Barme is more expensive than self catering but the breakfast and dinner are more than enough food for the day. Drying room good and you can walk to some of the cascades from the hotel.
tjhare1 - on 26 Dec 2017
In reply to ScottyG:

Fly to Turin rather than Milan unless price dictates otherwise - smaller quicker airport and significantly closer to Cogne! Which week? We are going 20th and returning 28th. Would you be interested in sharing hire car from airport to Cogne? Staying in Ostello la Mine for 3 days then Barme for the other 5.

niallsash - on 28 Dec 2017
In reply to ScottyG:

Cogne can be busy so get up early and get to your route early. It has a rep for being super busy but I've always found it manageable. Experienced local climbers tend to be impatient where climbers like yourself on a trip tend to be more social etc. Cogne is reasonably cheap compared to UK but beer may not be much cheaper tbh. There's only a couple of very small mini markets there in town itself (unless someone can tell you of others I missed) you get just about what you need. There's a couple of climbing shops too you'll be able to replace and axe or ice screw but not much browsing to be done. Going out for a local pizza is nearly as cheap as cooking and they are super.
We stayed in the La Barme as mentioned above and found it get value & comfortable.

Pay Attention - on 28 Dec 2017
In reply to ScottyG:

Be prepared for snow.... lots of it. When I was there the avalanche risk ruled out most routes in both valleys. Just getting to the closest low-risk routes would have been faster and easier with skis and snow shoes. Lillaz was a trudge through knee deep snow. There are some amusing short ice falls in the gorge below the road when everything else seems risky or too difficult.

kevin stephens - on 28 Dec 2017
In reply to ScottyG:

Walking poles can make a massive different on the approaches, the farther you walk up the valley the less busy (and hence dangerous) it is likely to be. A lot of abseil stations are located for 60m (rather than shorter) ropes
Big Lee - on 28 Dec 2017
In reply to ScottyG:

This is probably academic, but if I went back I'd consider taking the cross-country skis as some of the approaches were partly along ski tracks I remember.
Dr.S at work - on 28 Dec 2017
In reply to ScottyG:

take 60m ropes - its what the belay/ ab stations are set up for.

nation1 - on 30 Dec 2017
In reply to ScottyG:

Going for second year running and staying in centre which we found on air b&b, we usually fly to Geneva but we will have the my Blanc tunnel charge, car hire we usually go on Argus car hire they are usually ok price wise but please read terms and conditions as it’s a comparison site. Avalanche risk u must keep an eye on. Had a great time last year and love the alpine scene, compared to Rjukan it’s quite, We headed over to valsavarenche/ Pont valley with stunning views of n face of the Paradiso. We parked in the car park that people use for the Chabod Hutte and there are a few great routes within walking distance. Good luck and have a good time, I’m there from 12-21
Misha - on 30 Dec 2017
In reply to ScottyG:
Good bolted belays generally so take a guide type belay plate to make it easy to belay your second.

Snow chains or preferably winter tyres essential. You won’t be able to get up the valleys from Cogne or even to Cogne itself without if there’s snow. Check what you are / aren’t getting with the hire car.

Get the new guide book called Effimeri Barbagli even though it’s in Italian - really good photo topos. Also the author runs an eponymous conditions page on Facebook.

Pizza in a little cafe/bar more or less across the road from the tourist office is recommended and they have a new routes / conditions book. La Barme also has a book and they post photos of the hand written updates on their website I think.

French is generally understood in the shops etc. English - if you’re lucky!

As noted above, avalanche risk is a major consideration after fresh snow. After a few days though most of the approaches will be tracked.

Enjoy, it’s a beautiful place.
tjhare1 - on 31 Dec 2017
In reply to Misha:

I'd been thinking winter tyres would be a good shout but am struggling to find hire companies that will do that - have now booked with chains but could change. Any recommendations?
Misha - on 31 Dec 2017
In reply to tjhare1:
Depends where you book. Geneva French side generally not. Turin / Milan I suspect also generally not. Geneva Swiss side generally yes but check.
Martin Bennett - on 01 Jan 2018
In reply to tjhare1:

After our first 7 or 8 Winter trips to Cogne and one to Gressoney we realised there are regulations re Winter Tyres and chains which are country specific. Can seem complicated when hiring in one country and travelling to another. If going via Geneva (second best option after Turin for distance) the Swiss regs do not insist on Winter tyres but you must carry chains. In France chains are required in certain places at certain times - signs will tell you where and when. Foe 90% of Italy their regs do not insist on Winter tyres. However in Val d'Aosta (including Val di Cogne and adjacent valleys) Winter tyres must be fitted or chains carried.

Thus it's simple really - get Winter tyres and chains. They may well be required and carrying them will keep you within the law and insurance requirements. Hiring is easiest but depending on the deal (they are known to charge up to £10 per day) it can be cheaper to buy from a supermarket on arrival (if you get there when they're open) and throw them away once back at departure airport. We have known the car hire desks to have run out of chains and so be unable to supply them even though booked, or provide the wrong size!

I find Auto-Europe car hire website to be especially helpful in showing what's included and what's not. They're also very very good at helping you reclaim spurious charges which may later appear on your credit card bill! Or ring them and get them to find their best deal for appropriate size car with Winter tyres and chains. They often have deals which include these extras and/or second driver etc etc.

Enjoy Cogne - it's the best.

lardbrain - on 01 Jan 2018
In reply to Dr.S at work:

I find inducing stretch in a pair of 50m ropes to be a much better workout, although quite slow...
aliebling - on 02 Jan 2018
Anyone have info on a new edition of 600 Best Icefalls as per the commend on the cordee site:

Otherwise, is the 2014 edition of Effimeri Barbagli the latest and greatest guidebook?
SteveM - on 09 Jan 2018
In reply to aliebling:
effimri barbagli is my preferred book.

Any info on conditions and what’s been getting done? I’m watching the Facebook pages and Avi forecast, we’re out in cogne for the last week of Jan. Looking forward to sitting in bar licone with the reports book open on the table in front of us
Post edited at 07:33
Annabel Tall on 12 Jan 2018
In reply to SteveM:

I am out here now. nothing has been done in either of the main valleys since sunday. 2 days of constant heavy rain (yes rain!) over the weekend followed by very heavy snow triggered  avalanches of all types down to the valley floor in both valleys including across the roads. I’ve snowshoed into both the valleys as far as i can get.  Many of the routes have been washed out and there’s been no access to anything.  visitors this weekend will have their work cut out getting in.  People are only getting in with snow shoes or skis and that’s just the valley base not the climbs. meanwhile the skiing conditions are superb, snowshoeing is an alternative sport and the pizza restaurant’s still open. room for improvement. 

GarethSL on 12 Jan 2018
Bezz - on 12 Jan 2018
In reply to Annabel Tall:

Doesn't bode well for my arrival on Monday...

Annabel Tall on 12 Jan 2018
In reply to lberry:

the snow’s getting more stable every day and the weekend will have people bashing routes into the climbs. then we’ll find out  


nation1 - on 12 Jan 2018
In reply to Annabel Tall:

Thanks for the update , we are en route right now a party of 4. 

Bezz - on 12 Jan 2018
In reply to Annabel Tall:

Thanks - that’s reassuring , fingers crossed - temperatures look good too. I’ve been looking forward to my annual week of ice climbing , was worried it might become a week of bouldering...and I’m rubbish at it!! 

SteveM - on 12 Jan 2018
In reply to Annabel Tall:

thank you for the info, please let us know what conditions look like next week


Annabel Tall on 13 Jan 2018
In reply to SteveM:

Conditions are improving. The weekend crowds from Turin have done their job and ploughed paths through to at least some of the climbs. It’s very cold so the snow’s stabilising and routes are rapidly refreezing. You’ll have a great time

Bezz - on 13 Jan 2018
In reply to SteveM:

I should be arriving sometime Monday, will post updates on conditions whenever I get chance 

nation1 - on 14 Jan 2018
In reply to ScottyG:

Some local info, I’m here until next Sunday. Very cold over night, -11 this morning at 9:15 in champlong,  Today we have climbed cascata di champlong, we pitched the bottom pitch, then waded through very deep snow to the last but one pitch which is a beautiful ice pillar guide book lll/3 but felt more of a 4. We have made tracks for future parties. Note....... we have left two v threads In situe, there may be bolts but I couldn’t find them as there’s just so much snow. Will post on tomorrow’s adventures 

GarethSL on 14 Jan 2018
In reply to ScottyG:

Climbed Gran Val today. Did it in two pitches, couldnt find the bolts at the top of P1 so started up the fun bit to P2 to get to good ice. P2 was ok but P3 and 4 are just snow. Lots of running water behind the ice and a open hole at the base of the first pitch.

As nation1 mentions, we too couldn't find any anchors as there was so much snow. So some downclimbing and v-threads (ours were naked) to descend. We saw upto 20+ people on Patri today and a couple on Repentance (Matthias Scherer & Tanja Schmidt report brittle ice). Most of the ice in Valnontey is in to some extent, but there is a lot of snow. Almost every gully has avalanche debris at the bottom which makes getting to the base of routes a chore.

nation1 - on 15 Jan 2018
In reply to ScottyG:

Climbed sentiero dei troll today, climbed 3 pitches then abseiled off,  slightly different conditions to when I climbed it last year, plenty of ice but not very steep, calf’s we’re burning a wee bit so not very pleasant from a personal point of view. As I remember from last year it was pretty much easy angled ice from pitch 3 upwards until the last but one pitch which was a very short ice pillar so we sacrificed the short steep section for a beer ????

GarethSL on 15 Jan 2018
In reply to ScottyG:

Mooched up Valeille today, but found most routes in 'not worth the effort' condition. As with Valnontey lots of avalanche debris and one really impressive mud/rock/tree slide.

  • Tuborg is ok, steep for the first pitch with lots of snow above.
  • Candelabra del Coyote is there but in hard condition with a thin pillar and curtain.
  • Chandelle Levure was totally banked up with snow for the first three pitches. 4th pitch was forming but barely touched down. Upper pitches just snow.
  • Cold Couloir was very thin with lots of snow.
  • Hard Ice in the Rock is a long thin dagger that hasn't touched down, saw a team gearing up at the base, no idea if it went.
  • Stella Artice had not touched down for the second pitch.
  • E Tutto Relativo was thin with fresh rock/snow debris at the base a load of snow in the middle and the third pitch was nothing but a small curtain.
  • Lau Bij has an ok first pitch but the second appears to have either melted or fallen down, with little ice on the traverse.

We settled on Cascada di Champlong having seen the crowds on Lillaz (went back to do the 1st pitch in the afternoon).

Was very warm today with rain/ snow forecast for tomorrow, freezing at 1800m apparently.

CurlyStevo - on 15 Jan 2018
In reply to ScottyG:

Chains are shit, they break all the time and you keep having to take them on and off. Winter tyres are the staple imo.

cannichoutdoors - on 18 Jan 2018
In reply to CurlyStevo:

Bump. Anyone got any more recent update than Monday. Just packing for next week, and wondering whether I need to take a Scottish rack to build my own belays etc. 


Misha - on 18 Jan 2018
In reply to cannichoutdoors:

Don’t know re conditions but most of the belays on the popular routes are bolted. Obviously save a couple of screws for the ones that’s aren’t (can’t always tell but sometimes you can). 

cannichoutdoors - on 18 Jan 2018
In reply to ScottyG:

Thanks Misha, but I've been out to Cogne a few times. I would agree the belays are usually bolted, but there were reports a week ago that the belay bolts/chains were buried in snow and hard to find.

GarethSL on 19 Jan 2018
In reply to cannichoutdoors:

On the popular routes belays are quite ok to find. Just a few were buried. We haven't needed any rock gear yet but do have a few nuts and a couple of cams handy should we need them.

The avalanche danger is currently at 4, and there have been a lot already, including one set off by a climber on the approach to Monday Money.

Valnontey is ok for most of the routes, Valeille is much thinner, but going back up today to see if there is anything safe.

Temperatures for next week are not the best. We had +6°C in cogne yesterday and it's getting much warmer over the weekend apparently. 

Bezz - on 19 Jan 2018
In reply to cannichoutdoors:

have been in Cogne all week, climbed Lillaz Gulley, Cascade de Lillaz and Patri plus a load of routes at the small crag next to the river half way up to Lillaz. We had little trouble finding the bolts at belays on the multi pitch routes but some did need digging out


SteveM - on 20 Jan 2018
In reply to lberry:

What have the masses been up to this weekend?

Bezz - on 22 Jan 2018
In reply to SteveM:

I left on Thursday evening I'm afraid but forecast didn't look great for Sunday / Monday (snow/rain) so suspect it'll all have changed by today. Good luck if you are heading out - stay safe. 

SteveM - on 23 Jan 2018
In reply to lberry:

Thank you, we got here Saturday and will be here until the end of the week.

We’ve climbed Cascate de Lillaz (busy on a Sunday, quelled surprise! Bit slushy in the 4th pitch) and Cascate di Champlong so far (WI4 in its current condition but nice to do something new for us). Also walked into Valnontey on Monday: teams were on Acheronte and Patri but I didn’t see anyone on anything else. In addition, in last few days we have seen plenty of cars in the pull off for Molina (below the road between Cogne & Lillaz): 50’ wide section of ice reported with ~6 lines available. Plus, in the Bar Licone log book: Repentance was climbed.

The tracks have been well tramped into Valnontey as far as Patri/Acheronte but no further - I did another flat 1/2 mile over the bridge but snowshoes/skis are needed. Loads of old avalanche debris all along the valley, the weather’s been mixed but ok so far with some fresh snow, a morning of drizzle and then bluebird skies today. Out if the sun it’s been below zero degC all day today.



SteveM - on 26 Jan 2018
In reply to SteveM:

Replying to myself as we’re leaving tomorrow - but not a lot to add to the list above apart from what’s on the Hotel de Balme website. It’s dropped about 1-2 inches of light snow today which will change things up a bit - skiing in Pila (above Aosta) was a useful distraction. Good weather forecast to return on Sunday

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