I'm a woman

I'm a woman
Photos copyright Laurence Gouault
No reproduction on other media without the photographer's permission.

Monday, 19 February 2018

Repentance, by Stevie Super Haston.

Have you repented? We need to repent! Are you a sinner? 
Do you know the route called Repentance Super? No matter if you don't, I'll give you a little picture with a few words. Repentance Supe is one of the best classic ice climbs you can do, and all the more worth talking about since ice climbing is so accessible to people today. Is it a classic, for sure it is, is it hard, well it can be, what level of joy and satisfaction do you get- big Big HUGE Satisfaction with big indelible memories.

  Sneaking up on Olie.

a few pitches up, with a little polemic, and a fall by another party, seclusion is now not always possible but ice reigns supreme.

"Why". this word was repeated slowly, I was waiting for Francois in the cold of the night, it was something very minus, and I was out side my flat in Italy! I only had travelling and work clothes, my boss Olie had successfully manoeuvred me into saying yes to a bit of Repentance and I was regretting it. Thin running tights with flashing silver highlights are probably not the best outfit for -12 and a red light district! Francois finally got to me before I froze or excepted one of the offered from the working girls. Like I said Repentance!

Repentance o the left.

I know the valleys of northern Italy fairly well but the high valleys of Aosta have been my home. Is Repentance my home? Well as a big sinner I have tried to repent and in truth Repentance I have done with the last ascent 6 times. I probably did the second ascent, at that time I was a very swollen headed and daft hombre, or if I am being kind to myself I just didn't care about reputations. Repentance was done by Grassi, Godfra Perrou, and Damillano, three guys who monopolised all the ice climbing press in Europe, when I did Repentance I thought it a very nice cascade, but only equal to Welsh Cascades done 20 years before. I wasn't that peeved, just noted down in my Black book not to trust certain people, and editors.

Walking up it looks really good.

Our team was Francois who lives  and works as a guide under the Matterhorn, and Olie my boss who lives in Aosta, and me the repenting one who once was a professional ice climber. At the carpark it was -20°C!I don't know about repenting, but I was regretting saying yes. As a man who lives closer to Africa than mainland Italy, the cold is no longer my favourite. We had the best gear apart from my clothes. My boots were summer boots, but were up to the task of -20°C which was not a surprise!

The walking along the main Cogne valley is flat and super beautiful with various cascades frozen into climbing perfection. I haven't climbed any of these cascades for many a year but know the valley from more recent runs, and snow boarding escapades. Even if you walk the valley it is still one unforgettable day. But if its a cascade on your mind, it really has to be Repentance.
We completed the climb to the top and abed off.

The team did well, we patted each other on the back, shook hands etc. My Boss was particularly pleased as I know he has wanted to do this for many a year! Francoise fourth ascent my sixth, just as good as the first time if not better. There was another team on it, they were great too, if you are reading this you guys from Torino, thanks. As for the young man who took a big whipper on the left side of the cascade, you looked solid going up the route on the right after you recovered, bravo.
the climbers bar afterwards.

We walked back sedately from the climb, very happy. I walked alone thinking of all the magnificent climbs I have done, thankful to my partners, thankful to conditions, and my very large portion of luck. If you see a chance take it as the song goes. Frozen cascades will be a rarity soon, they are the last Unicorn. For people who are gear nerds, we used Grivel ice axes, my companions didn't use leashes, I did. We all used G20 crampons, which it is simply impossible to beat, we used Scarpa boots, I used the Rebel which is really a summer boot but was good for me, the other two lads went one warmer. Grivel screws, a selection, but for me the 360° is still the best Ice screw on the market. All three of us used the Stealth Helmet which was great, its lightness makes it unnoticeable, I walked back with it on my head! My clothes were completely wrong as were my gloves!

Memories of Ice are sometimes very nice this was one of them!