Parete Medale - Cassin route

Parete Medale - Cassin route

Page Type Page Type: Route
Location Lat/Lon: 45.88296°N / 9.40275°E
Additional Information Route Type: Trad Climbing
Seasons Season: Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter
Additional Information Time Required: Half a day
Additional Information Difficulty: IV - V UIAA
Additional Information Rock Difficulty: 5.8 (YDS)
Additional Information Number of Pitches: 11
Sign the Climber's Log


This is, I think, the most climbed among all the rock routes of middle difficulty in the whole Alps Range.

I myself have climbed this route about 60 times ... it was one of the choices for saturday afternoons in winter, spring and fall, the traditional way to spend the Santo Stefano day and the New Year day, we climbed it even dressed with business suit, necktie included ...
When living in a town wherefrom, in little more than 1 hour drive, you can arrive near a 400m high wall, this is a good opportunity to make a little of stretching and training ...
The Lecco residents, of course, were much more lucky than us, and used to climb here in the late afternoon, after offices or plants closing, so many of them (first of all the "Ragni di Lecco") used to climb it even 30-40 times a year.

The route runs on a 330m high wall (about 400m development) on very safe limestone rock, somewhere looking like marble due to the thousands of climbers passed here, the exposure, with the exception of the "traverso", is low (we used to climb with mountain boots making only 4 pitches and, often roping only at the "traverso")
Climbing with rocks shoes is, of course, a little better, but, in any case this route must not be underestimated.

This was the first route on this wall, during an attempt Cassin had to make a bivuoac (at the 6th belay point).
In the late '30 two more routes were opened: the Rizieri and the Boga (much more difficult) but this route (the Cassin) became the "classic", the test for climbers before going out for Dolomiti campaignes: 30-40 years ago they say that who could climb this route in less than 1,5 hours was ready for it.

The Cassin route is the easiest on the wall, the "normal" route, 3 more routes here are very classic :
  • the Taveggia, right (N) of the Cassin, a little shorter but very amusing : I heard it has become slippery
  • the Boga, left (S) of the Cassin, in the central part ot the wall, a little longer
  • the Bonatti, on the left part of the wall, just very near the edge, rock is still good

    ... and if you don't like these 4 routes, you can choose among 25 more routes, all more difficult (but I've not climbed them so I can't give info)

  • The wall is oriented SE so, in winter better climb here in the morning while in spring and autumn better in the afternoon, in summer the Cassin should be attached not before 5 PM

    Getting There

    From Lecco, once arrived along the SS 36 of Spluga pass, you have to follow for Valsassina using the old road, (not the new fast road under the galleries) to reach Laorca.
    Here you must find a parking site for your car (usually near a school) and start walking, following the signs leading to Medale.

    in few minutes to the old Rifugio Medale (once named "da Zaccheo"), and, along a marked path in the wood to a dirt road that must be followed to a place with some benches
    Straight on to another dirt road than to the left to a fork.
    Follow a path marked in yellow and black up to a small place with 3 big stones, on its right a steep path leads to a lay-by and, on the left, scrambling, to the starting point of the Cassin Route.

    Route Description

  • P1 - follow a ramp toward right then toward left to a ledge hosting a tree. (35m)
  • P2 - Along a short dihedral then to the left, scrambling up to the beginning of another dihedral (30m)
  • P3 - The 1° dihedral (25m) - difficult
  • P4 - Straight up to a ledge (30m) 1 short difficult pass
  • P5 - The 2° dihedral (35m) - the most difficult pitch
  • P6 - Straight on a short wall then to the right ("the Radice") and, along short slabs and a dihedral to a wide ledge (Cassin bivouac) (35m)
  • P7 - to the left, a short wall then to the right along a small channel (35m)
  • P8 - Straight on on easy rocks with grass to a cave hosting a tree (20m)
  • P9 - The "Traverso" (see photos) - the key pitch of the route, much less difficult than it looks but in any case not to be underestimated
    - very fine and good grips - after 10-12 m up to a dihedral to the belay (30m)
  • P10 - Straight on to a tree then along a ramp to a grassy ledge (30m)
  • P11 - along some short vertical slabs up to an easy rocky channel leading to a fork on the ridge where you can find the descending path (50m)

    Warning : the descending path (somewhere aided) can be very dangerous when iced if wearing rock shoes ...

    Cassin route1° dihedral
    Cassin route1° dihedral
    Cassin route4th pitch
    Cassin Route2° dihedral
    Cassin Route2° dihedral
    Cassin routethe "radice"
    Cassin routethe "radice"
    Cassin routethe "radice"
    Cassin routethe "radice"
    Cassin routethe "traverso"
    Cassin routethe "traverso"
    Cassin routethe "traverso"
    Cassin routethe "traverso"
    Cassin routethe "traverso"
    Cassin routethe "traverso"

    Essential Gear

    a 40m rope, some (5-6) carabiniers

    External Links

    parete Medale

    Difficulty table

    PD3 - 4
    3°inf - 3° - 3° supAD5 - 5.2
    4° inf - 4° - 4° supD5.3 - 5.5
    5° inf - 5° - 5° supTD5.6 - 5.8
    6° inf - 6° - 6° supED5.9 - 5.11
    EX5.11a - 5.11b

  • Parents 


    Parents refers to a larger category under which an object falls. For example, theAconcagua mountain page has the 'Aconcagua Group' and the 'Seven Summits' asparents and is a parent itself to many routes, photos, and Trip Reports.