Cassin and Gervasutti

From L to R: Riccardo Cassin, Paolo Bollini, Giusto Gervasutti, A. Frattini e M. Mollinato, outside the old Gonella hut (still there!), August 13, 1940. Gervasutti and Bollini had just completed the first ascent of the Gervasutti Pillar on the Freney face of Mt. Blanc (not to be confused with the much more famous Gervasutti Pillar on Tacul), while Cassin had climbed the Innominata.

Relations between Cassin and Gervasutti, the two "hyperstars" of Italian rock climbing during the 30's (after Comici died) were never particularly easy. Cassin, the hard man, considered Gervasutti too much of an aestete. Gervasutti - XX° century most enigmatic climbing figure - spoke well of Cassin, but was quite bitter - and probably self flagellating - about being beaten on the Walker spur. It should be noted, however, that Gervasutti was by far the best "free climber" of the two - and his 1942 line on the East Face of the Grandes Jorasses is leagues beyond the Walker Spur.

(source: archive CAI National Mountain Museum in Turin - Italy)


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astrange - Dec 29, 2011 6:54 am - Hasn't voted

Gervasuttis climbs

Hi Luca,

I have just finished reading Gervasuttis book in the English translation and happened to see your old post.

I Think Gervasutti was very clear in his book about his view on both Comici and Cassin when he writes:

"Other climbers might be more brilliant: Comici, for example and Soldà. Comici climbed for pleasure, both physical and intellectual, and thought little of the actual objective. Cassin was more single-minded: he knew precisely what he wanted to do and the enterprise was completely identified with the objective. For Comici, climbing was an end in itself; for Cassin a means to an end"

He also thinks that Cassin was very blessed with strong partners, like Ratti, who was a very formidable climber in his own way.

It was a really good and interesting read - a classic of mountain literature, and a it gives a good picture on what was happening in the golden age of the north faces.


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