First day on the ice – pretty cool

Waking up to clear blue skies, freezing temperatures in Cogne on Sunday morning we were all excited about the first day of climbing! The smell of Italian cappuccino from upstairs was another reason to quickly get up and get ready. Our hostel is located on a nice, sunny face up the valley, so we thought we’d better check the gear in the “warmth” instead of down the valley by the freezing ice-fall (erm, ice falls are normally freezing cold… hence the ice.  Let’s just say it was fresh in the morning, eh :).

Crampons, ice axes, ice screws, harnesses, ropes and all the rest of it ready to be tried out so after a brief by the guides we finally came out after a few hours of faffing around. We went to Cascade de Lillaz which has been described as the “busiest ice climbing spot on earth for beginners” because of its easy five-minutes-walk-from-the-parking access and relatively safe learning spot. Such a great feeling to climb on ice, its impressive structure with water flowing behind is truly beautiful (and scary!), and it took some time to break in the gear and really trust the grip of the crampons and ice-axes. Incredible how strong the ice is though – we practiced some belay techniques like the abalakov thread and were surprised how well it held up. Other useful tips include “keep your head straight and let your helmet take the ice falling from above – i.e. don’t look up!”. It took some time to teach our brains that simple message it seemed, instinctively one always looks up! We all got up in the end and marched down again – it was the perfect day to introductory ice-climbing. It certainly built up some appetite vs. the travelling day before – returning to the hostel we quickly realised why they serve 6 course meals here… every dish tastes great after a day in the outdoors!

Full house

Tomorrow we’re off to Cascade Rovenaud in Valsavarenche for continued adventures… stay tuned…

Aude enjoying her first sunny ice climb!

Tasting Italian ice...cream 😉

Just about to turn around and jump on the icicle - Denise in action 😉

The sky may be the limit but obviously not for Bojan 🙂

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