Cazzanelli and Partners ‘Dream’ Up New Route in Italian Alps

The alpinist’s defining challenge is to confront the impossible. To properly engage the discipline, the athlete must interact with the boundary between what can and cannot be done.

Given that, Dreaming of the Unimaginable sounds like a pretty good way to approach it. That’s exactly what Francois Cazzanelli, Stefano Stradelli, and Emrik Favre did on Mont Blanc du Créton (3,406m, in the Petites Murailles, Italy) earlier this month. The group’s first ascent overcame proposed difficulties of WI4+, M7.

According to Cazzanelli, he first spotted the 600m line that became Dreaming of the Unimaginable some time ago.

“I’d had this line in mind for some time,” he explained to PlanetMountain. “The first section is obvious and can be seen clearly as you skin up the Vofréde valley toward Château Des Dames.”

However, the seasoned climber figured the difficulties would begin in the steep gully above. As the ice starts to peter out higher up, purchase becomes minimal — thus the hard mixed climbing the route eventually rendered.

Strict alpine style

That didn’t stop the first ascent team from adhering to strict alpine style, though. The group left no fixed protection behind on any pitch and installed pitons at just four belays on the way back down (to rappel the route).

For Cazzanelli, the ascent caps off a quick flurry of mixed climbing on virgin terrain. On Feb. 3, he reported the first ascent of La Loose (M6+, 130 m) with Mathieu Maynadier.

I can’t speak for any route with “loose” in the title, but Dreaming of the Unimaginable proved an instant hit. Giovanni Ravizza, Carlo Filippi, and Michele Tixi have already repeated it and endorsed its quality, PlanetMountain reported.

“A not-so-trivial beautiful path opened with two super friends,” Cazzanelli said of the route in conclusion.

Sam Anderson

Sam Anderson spent his 20s as an adventure rock climber, scampering throughout the western U.S., Mexico, and Thailand to scope out prime stone and great stories. Life on the road gradually transformed into a seat behind the keyboard, where he acted as a founding writer of the AllGear Digital Newsroom and earned 1,500+ bylines in four years on topics from pro rock climbing to slingshots and scientific breakthroughs.