Riccardo Cassin ....100 today

© Cassin
Riccardo Cassin, the Italian alpinist celebrates his birthday today, he is 100. One of a group called the Ragni di Lecco (the Lecco spiders) who started climbing while based in the town of Lecco, Cassin made over 100 first ascents, mainly in the Alps, and is considered one of the world's finest alpinists with a legacy of ground-breaking routes.

His finest climbs include the first ascent of Cima Ovest di Lavaredo in 1935, the first ascent of north-east face of the 3,308m Piz Badile in 1937, the Cassin Route, and a year later the Walker Spur of the Grandes Jorasses on Mont Blanc. In 1961 he reached the summit of the 6,178m Mt. McKinley (Denali) in the Alaska by what is now known as the Cassin Ridge, which was acknowledged by President John F. Kennedy in a congratulatory telegram to Cassin.

Back in the 1930's just getting to the start of a climb was epic, Cassin remembers:

"I had to work Monday through Friday at a steel factory, so I could only climb on the weekends. I had no choice but to reach the top before dark, because I had to go back to work the next day. And there weren't airplanes at the time, but trains, bicycles, and lots of walking. To get to Mont Blanc to climb the Grand Jorasses, I had to take a train to Pre Saint Didier, bike until Courmayeuer, and then walk to the Col du Gigante, do half of he Mer de Glace uphill until the Rifugio Leschaux, and then get to the Tavola [Plateau] of the Grand Jorasses and start the climb. So I was already warmed up to go up by then! "

You can read an interview with Ricardo Cassin at Riccardo Cassin - The Full Interview: Compiled by Federica Valabrega

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2 Jan, 2009
Happy Birthday Riccardo.
2 Jan, 2009
Yes, Happy Birthday Riccardo, and congrats on this milestone! :-)
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