Orco Valley Trad Meet, a week of great climb – Ceresole Reale, Valle dell'Orco, Piemonte - 2012, 15-22 september
Since a few years, except for hard and enterprising high mountain alpinism, really less and less played, in many European countries (Latin Countries mainly, but also Switzerland and Germany) a climbing practice more and more supported by artificial means had been becoming the winning practice. Such a climbing style, born into indoor climbing stadiums, was transferred to natural climbing walls, in medium mountain, but also in the high mountain ranges.
Our modern society shows a prevailing propensity of “securisying” all, even the climb, as well as every other social expression; in such a manner, freedom, fantasy, autonomy and personal responsibility are no longer basic rules. Starting from the family imprinting, then the school standard education and job rules, people are on the way to lose their autonomy to think, to project, to create and so, with a unique word, also to dream. Because of such a winning model of life, a lot of climbing lines highly protected with technological means had been realized. The route reflects the character of the first climber, who creates the route he needs: fearful climbers create routes with a lot of bolts, strong climbers use a few ones. First ascensionists really “make-up” a kind of full equipped product, and most of the climbers find convenient “using” it, rather than engaging themselves on not-equipped routes; slowly they are losing the ability to imagine, create and realize something new. This climbing-way dominates the European panorama in different alpine and latin countries.
Of course some important exceptions exist, regarding single persons who escape this mass inclination and accomplish meaningful exploits inside the kind of adventurous and very high difficulty mountaineering, as luckily nowaday exist some areas inside the Alps, as the Dolomites, where trad climbing is still strongly deep-seated. Yet the outstanding cultural model is that of full equipped routes, to climb which good muscles and some quickdraws are enough.
The C.A.A.I. – Club Alpino Accademico Italiano - since its establishment had always believed that trad climb is the most pure expression of mountaineering’s historical values and that the greatest difficulties can be reached only respecting a thrifty use of artificial means and avoiding to use those to supply the loss of technical ability and courage. A struggle “by fair means” as it is nowaday possible, therefore without refusing at all technological news, but avoiding, at the same time, to overwhelm the mountain and its difficulties. Otherwise, what did it mean the struggle? And what a satisfaction in our victory (quite expected since the beginning)?
In the year 2010 C.A.A.I. thought that time of discussion was over and time of action was at the same time possible and necessary. And really, something new was happening in our country: some single routes and some crags started to be climbed in “trad” style or “clean” style, a spontaneous movement involving a new interest in natural climb. Obviously, rock cliffs and walls rich in cracks of good rock are the best ground to develop this kind of climb, and we thought that the high class granite-gneiss of VALLE DELL’ORCO, Piedmont-Italy (50 Km from Turin) well symbolizes the ideal play-ground.
Very hard boulder problems, single-pitch and multi pitch climbs till 400 meters long inside an alpine landscape, a good climate and no problems with local people allow Valle dell’Orco to be a “paradise” for “clean” climbers. The week from 17 to 23 september 2012 has been a full immersion period for about 40 climbers coming from 15 countries (UK, Norway, Demark, Switzerland, USA, Israel, Slovenia, Belgium, Portugal, Czech Republic, Greece, Poland, Germany, South-Africa and obviously Italy). Well, just a week of great climb for young and less young climbers inside an atmosphere of enthusiasm, culminating saturday night in the final concert by the “Back to the Origin”! Some hard climbing problems were solved and many routes climbed along the valley (some new ones), according to the high level of our guests.
Every day, coming back from cliffs, people met and discussed about the news and we were confirmed in the idea that a new style of climbing have to be strongly introduced in our country as an important alternative to the technological climb on bolted routes, now almost universally played, mainly by younger people. In such a way, mountaineering and climbing will be again strong means to increase awareness, ability and responsibility.