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Paolo Spreafico reports about ‘La lunga attesa’, the new rock climb established together with Fabio Palma up the marvellous Wenden limestone in Switzerland:

Read the English report on

Download the topo of the route

Ph. Luca Passini

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by Elena De Maria

It’s ‘Wednesday, a look through the door slightly opened: “Sunday is beautiful!” And winking my eye disappears …

“No, stop !! Excuse me, did not you say that we would not be back this year? ”

But I knew I would have had little hope, the decision had already been made, even if two weeks ago he almost swore that it would be the last time, after having been behind the 11 o’clock in the evening shortly after the Gotthard tunnel, surprised by a time not foreseen.

We had also tried before leaving for the holidays, but even then the wall was completely wet and “folded” on the beautiful Blaue Lagune.

Paolo started to nail the route with Fabio more or less three years ago and every time he came back I was informed about the progress of work: “Today we put a spit” he said satisfied, and I thought “but what will have to be so happy , to go well with ‘I’m going to end it in 10 years … “.

I could not make this thing interesting, until, two years ago, just before the beginning of autumn we went to take pictures with Fabio and Luca …
And here we are, at the Wenden parking lot, it’s Saturday and at seven in the evening there are still many cars, a good omen. The weather was nice and tomorrow it should be, so there will be the “handover” between those who have already given today and who will do tomorrow.
We are the only ones in a tent, after having assembled it in the usual place and having eaten frugally we go to warm up from the Felix. Here we meet Ruth, wife of Kaspar Ochsner, who has opened many in Wenden. He tells us a little about his days spent when he accompanied her husband. You immediately create an agreement, perhaps because we are here today to do what she had done many times and perhaps we had aroused a bit ‘of nostalgia for the good old days. After a while he almost chases us, reminding us that the next day would be a long and intense day and it was already late.

The alarm in fact sounds early, we climb the path in the dark and only when we are almost at the top we turn off our front, we get ready quickly and off, we leave. There is a lot to be done to collect the material left and the fixed ropes, which ran like a Christmas decoration all along the way, so that Paolo, taken from his work, forgot to recover and, on the first step of the second shot , the heavy backpack that I carry around wins over me and I fall below the stop: at this pace we will never reach the top!

After half an hour passed to wait, squatted on the small ledge, Paolo finds a solution and climbs free the first hard shot, the third of the way, not too long, but on beautiful very marked veils that do not show signs of old age, without a wrinkle to cling to!
My strategy is to be as fast as possible, so on some occasions, even if I might be able to climb, I do not seek a solution, as well as on the next shot, the hardest of the way, I can only climb a small part and admire these holds that follow one another only to a certain point, but then I do not see any more! Now I understand why they had put us one day to put a single spit! While I’m stopping I relive the feelings I felt two years ago, the day of the photos, when I had heard his scream in the fog and not having bounced high for the fall, I had guessed that he had managed to free it!
We continue to climb and the worry of not being able to get to the top is fading slightly because we are already halfway through and it is still early; but we must not lose concentration, because the unexpected can still be many. The next shot, bolted by Fabio, tackles a nice plaque and I have to commit a lot to climb it … Climbing the fixed and when I get to the next stop I find Paul hidden from the material, we will never bring down all ‘stuff?

I give an eye to the wall: a particular wall without overhanging sockets on the right and nothing on the left: but where do you pass?

This is the famous traverse studded by Fabio and I immediately send him a bit ‘of insults, because here, if I fall, I make a nice pendulum! But the worst is yet to come, when I discover that the next stop is exactly above me, so the possible pendulums are two, one on the way and one on the way back. I therefore assure myself of the other rope that we use from S3 on to recover the sack, which gives me a little ‘more security. Apparently it is not difficult but I’m wrong and while I try to get over the corner, my left hand slips and I fall into space. In the end it turns out to be one of the most beautiful crosspieces I’ve ever climbed, very exposed with an interesting line.

When I arrive at the stop, I discover that the material accumulated so far is a nothing compared to what my eyes see: other fixed ropes and a huge bag stuck in the niche!
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An eye to the clock and, not to be late. we decide that we will still climb the next length, while the last length will only be climbed by Paolo.
The next is a pull that slants to the right with a stretch of rock not exactly perfect and then go straight, where the nailers, perhaps in shortage of material, have put a few protections.

We are almost there, we are at the limit of the time available before the doubles, so Paolo starts immediately on the last pitch. I see him climbing well on the first stretch slightly overhanging by clear closures, then, more and more tired, however, earns the top, but it is not yet time for celebrations.

Quickly we prepare to go down and at each stop we attack a bit ‘for one the fixed ropes, now dry, unusable and unmanageable. Paolo loads the sack that we then fill with other fixed ropes recovered below. And still some doubts: can we return with light or do we have to spend the night in the ledge?

Between puffs and various expletives we are finally on the ground! I arrive first, start to gather all the material and fill the backpacks that will be heavy for the descent from the fearsome hoof …

As often happens in Wenden, we come to greet the ibex who with their eyes of ice scrutinize us and continue to climb better than we do, almost to tell us that this is their home.

Finally we are at the car just before the darkness envelops us completely and only now that the LUNGA ATTESA is over we can celebrate with the famous Swiss pizza of Felix!