Mutant X-ICE in Gran Paradiso

The X-Men are a team of mutant superheros and especially one has the ability of cryokinesis where he can freeze anything around him, even turn his body into ice. What most people do not know is that he regular visits a place in the Gran Paradiso National park, known to us as “X-ICE FALESIA”. Despite all the hard work that has put in to create this place and its maintenance, it remains free and open for the public. In the last years of operation, it has become one of the premier ice climbing venues in the Orco valley. It is home to more then 30 named ice and mixed climbs, most within a 5-minute walk from the parking place. Orco valley sometimes referred to as “little Yosemite, hosts some of the best alpine rock climbing in the Western Alps on the iconic walls of Sergent, Caporal and Torre di Aimonin to natural protected climbing on cliffs such as Il Dado and Tramonto Area. In winter, on the other hand, this area hides as well some mythical and beautiful ice routes that few people know about. A way to steer clear of overcrowded icefalls to give a safer, more silent and adventurous climbing experience.

The aim of the course is to build on your skills and progress to more technical aspects that will help you to climb more efficiently. From single pitch ice climbs where skills and techniques can be taught at a pace that is right for the participants, with continuous feedback, to more challenging and longer multi pitch ice climbs. There are even great opportunities to learn lead climbing skills for those people interested. Just contact us to discuss your ambitions and proposals, so we can put together an appropriate program tailored to your requirements.

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The nights we spend in excellent and cozy mountain hotels around in Noasca, offering high quality meals that satisfy most visitors, sometimes even within walking distance to the ice climbs, a place to dry the wet clothes and to take care of yourself by having a good night’s sleep.

Prerequisite skills
As with most mountain activities, ice climbing requires a good level of general fitness in order to be able to cope with long days out in a cold environment, both approach and climbing wise. This course is suitable for all levels of experience and ability, from beginner to expert. However, please be aware that for safety reason, on longer and more technical routes, we cannot promise making an ascent until we have seen how well you are currently climbing. Of course if you feel you lack some knowledge or uncertain of your own level, please feel free to contact us. We will do our best to give you the best experience possible.

This course is suitable for the cold mid-winter season and the best period is from late December to late February. However, early season ice can provide many opportunities for great climbing and can be a bit more solitude in most famous venues.

Program for the week
As with all waterfall climbing, in the Alps, the best strategy seems to be to choose objectives that work best with the current weather, ice and avalanche conditions. Rather than choosing some specific climbing objects in advance it is wise to wait until arrival and see what looks particularly good and attractive. The following program is a typical long weekend course. There might be changes due to weather or snow conditions.

Day 1 Thursday : Arrival day in Noasca – Meeting
Arrival day in Noasca. The hotel will be available for check in the afternoon and in the evening we have a gathering to discuss the plan for the course. If you want to spend additional days before or after the course please let us know.

Day 2 Friday: X-Ice Falesia
The first day you will go for a day of introduction, or refresher for those who have climbed before, on the artificial Ice-Park X-Ice with some amazing ice formations and they are just a short walk from the parking. The main focus is to climb as much as possible so that we can look at your technical skills, analyzing your climbing technique and coaching when needed. We will touch important things such as ice screw placements, racking systems, double rope technique, stances and belays, assessing ice conditions, mixed-climbing techniques and attempt routes at the higher grades for those with previous climbing experience.

Day 3-4 Saturday-Sunday: Orco Valley
Classic icefall climbs in Orco Valley to build on skills from the first day and progress to more technical aspects that will help you to climb more efficiently. The climbs will be carefully chosen so that we can evolve in a good pace. We are happy to be very flexible to ensure that we climb where conditions are best and attempt the routes most suitable for the course participants. Some examples of routes include:

  • X-Ice Falesia (WI3-6 M) – a amazing place with some super ice lines.
  • Balma Fiorant (WI4+ M) – a classic route with a steep column.
  • Bellagarda (WI2+) – superb route for first approach of multi-pitch climbing.
  • Crazy Ice (WI4+/5) – longer approach and not always in condition.
  • Candela di Piantonetto (WI5) – with stable snow conditions a must to climb.
  • Gecco Lavico (WI4+ M) – a superb mountaineering route up a deep couloir with varied pitches.

On Sunday we finish the course with a debrief and personal advices for the future.

Day 5 Sunday : Departure day
Day of departure back home.

Small groups
We only take 1-2 climbers/guide during these courses (if the scope of the course is towards a first introduction we might even agree to go with 3-4 climbers/guide in rare cases). Some courses there are two guides with independent groups working together. However, we move independently so that the groups can climb different lines.

Personal equipment
The following is a general equipment list, all communal safety equipment (e.g. ropes, ice screws, rock protections, etc) is provided by us. If you have any questions please feel free to contact us. Equipment marked with * can be provided by your guide when needed. Experienced climbers will find it best to bring their own tried and tested personal equipment.

• One pair of technical ice axes, such as the Petzl Quark, Nomic or Grivel Matrix.*
• Harness, with adjustable leg loops and gear loops.*
• Crampons, technical model, such as Petzl Dartwin, Lynx or Grivel G14.*
• Helmet*
• 1 Belay device with a HMS screwgate karbiner.*
• 2 large locking HMS karabiner.*
• 2 Prusik cord.*
• 1 sewn tape sling 240 cm.*
• Poles, adjustable that can be mounted on a backpack.
• Backpack, 35-45 liters, with straps for climbing equipment.
• Ski goggles, “orange/yellow/clear” lenses to be used in windy weather.
• Sunglasses, category 2-4.
• Rigid mountaineering boots, a B3 rated boot is most suitable.
• Gaiters
• Gortex jacket or similar.
• Gortex pants or similar with ventilation possibilities.
• Mountain trousers combination in some softshell fabric or similar.
• Down jacket
• 2 pairs of base layer, synthetic or wool.
• 2 pairs of warm socks.
• Mid layer
• 2 pair of technical climbing gloves
• Insulated gloves, mitten type.
• Warm hat to fit under a helmet.
• Balaclava to protect your face in windy cold weather.
• Head torch with spare batteries.
• Sun block
• Water bottle (1-2 liters), since we do not recommend Camelback systems.
• Small medical kit.

• Professional Mountain Guide authorized by UIAGM/IFMGA.
• All transport needed during the course.
• Hotel half board accommodation in twin double rooms (a single room can, where possible be arranged at additional cost).
• Top quality X-Mutant ice climbing.

Not included
• Lunch and drinks during the days.
• Personal climbing equipment (see list above).
• Travel to/from designated meeting point.
• Mandatory insurance to cover mountain rescue costs.

Number of days: Short and Long Weekend – Single Day.
Price: Please contact us.

Please use the form if you have any questions or want us to contact you.

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