Words by Silvan Metz
Images by Silvan Metz and Thomas März
The classic 'Cassin' on the north face of Piz Badile offers great and easy climbing in dry conditions. So how about doing this route in fog and rain to boost the suspense?
This was obviously not our intention. The forecast was fine, and blue skies confirmed it when we left the cars. Due to the huge rock slide on Piz Cengalo one year ago the Val Bondasca was still closed and all official paths lie under tons of broken granite. Instead of stumbling over boulders and searching for the old bootlegger paths we had planned to walk up from Val Masino. This meant a fast descent, but an even longer ascent over two cols.
Bluebird skies still indicated nice weather when we finally arrived at the closed hut. When we left the door the next morning we couldn't see any scars–they all hid in the clouds. Was the weather just playing tricks on us? We'll see.
After scrambling up to the base of the face we saw: Nothing. Of course the fog didn't go away and the rock stayed wet and slippery. We deliberated. The decision every climber should take was clear: Turn around, drink some coffee and come back another time.
We, however, took the decision most climbers would take: Say 'fuck it', climb the wet face and just hope it wouldn't start raining too soon. Alpinists just don't learn. Some really nice, but wet and sketchy, pitches later it started raining too soon.
The famous chimneys turned out to be a very intense stemming action with my Tupilak pack dangling from my harness. We had barley topped out from the chimneys when a stronger rain shower unleashed a worryingly big waterfall through them. We had just escaped a intense washing of us and all our clothes...Meanwhile it got wetter and wetter.
We had stripped down all jackets we'd brought for this supposed summer climb, but when we scrambled the last meters to the summit we got quite cold. So we didn't hang around and started searching for the abseils in the fog. Again I had to learn that, no matter how you set up your rappelling device, rappelling on soaking wet ropes will never be a nice way to spend your outdoor time...
As soon as we arrived at the base of the face the rain stopped and the clouds gave way to a nice clear afternoon sky. Seems like the weather is really kidding on us, or is climbing big faces just some kind of rain dance? Whatever, at least we could enjoy our cake and coffee on the scenic terrace of the Gianetti hut before we descended the last bit to the cars.