Though the team recognized the area’s potential, developing routes proved difficult. Between extreme conditions and widely varying rock quality, the going was often treacherous. They found themselves making adjustments as they climbed higher into the valley, where the limestone changed frequently and without warning.
Even when the rock quality was good, the ascent could be risky. Due to the elevation, weather would change in a moment’s notice, leaving the team caught in blizzard conditions—high above their last pieces of protection.
The team spent days moving gear and hiking to bigger walls in search of longer routes, only to be forced to abandon their plans when the newly discovered rock wasn’t good, or the line wasn’t possible given the amount of time left in the day.
Jacopo: “Every crag offered a different style of climbing and a different type of rock; we switched from bullet-hard technical gray limestone to steep climbing on tufas and crazy features. The rock wasn’t always the best, and sometimes we had to change our goals as the rock quality on the line we picked was too poor.”
Once they found the right lines, the team worked as a unit to develop them.
Emily: “The rock had several thick layers of dirt and sediment that required substantial brushing and cleaning to even find the holds.”
Matty: “As we began to find lines that motivated us, we started bolting and cleaning them to prepare them to climb. Fixing lines by hiking up and behind the routes, rappelling down and placing bolts, and cleaning the rock of dirt was an exhausting and filthy job, but once we began climbing it quickly proved how rewarding the process would be.”
Their hard work paid off. In just five weeks, the team developed nearly a dozen routes together, both single and multi-pitch.