Euro Ice Meet
Sun 18th Feb - Sun 25th Feb, 2018
Jared Kitchen / Emily Thompson / TBD
THE KMC EURO ICE MEET: 18-25 February 2018
Cogne is a small mountain town in the Aosta Valley in North West Italy. The Aosta valley is a world renowned destination for mountaineers and climbers, and is home to Mont Blanc, The Matterhorn and Monta Rosa, as well as Grand Paradiso, the mountain which names the national park where Cogne resides. The Aosta valley is also known for its ski resorts and boasts 6 along the slopes of the valley, one of which is in Cogne itself. The town resides at an altitude of 1500m and is blessed with a long and reliable winter season which runs from December to March.
Cogne sits between the head of two valleys which branch perpendicularly from the main Aosta valley. Within these two valleys are more than 150 waterfalls, and during the winter season these waterfalls freeze to create one of the best destinations for ice climbing in the world. The KMC are going visit Cogne for the Euro ice meet in 2018, to explore and learn more about the ice climbing there.
The two valleys where the climbing is found are accessed from the villages of Lillaz and Valnontey; both are ten minutes’ drive from Cogne. The climbing is approached by foot with varying durations from 30 minutes to 3 hours. The majority of climbs can be accessed within an hour. There is a huge range of grades and styles of climbing in Cogne, from friendly single pitches and roadside cragging, to more serious multipitch endeavours in the high mountains. It is possible to climb in the sun on long friendly routes, or to hang out in the shade on steeper more demanding climbs. The climbs are all at a relatively high altitude (1500m to 2500m) and give very reliable ice climbing conditions; Cogne is thought to be the most reliable ice climbing venue in Europe.
The guidebook for the region is ‘Cascades autour du Mont-Blanc: Tome II,’ by Francis Damilano and Godefroy Perroux. It is not in English but is understandable thanks to its many pictures and succinct descriptions. The local tourist authority also provide brochure called Cogne - Emozioni di fondovalle (Cogne - Feelings in the valley) which has a map of the area including most of the icefalls. There is also a lot of information online.
The easiest way to get to Cogne is first by plane, then by car. EasyJet operate a return flights to Turin (Torino TRN) airport every Sunday that costs ~£150pp. Car hire can be arranged in advance from £165 for an estate car, and Cogne is ~1hr 45min drive from Turin airport. There is plethora of accommodation options in the Cogne, but the cheapest option is to pre-book a lodge or ski chalet. These can be found online currently at 10-20per person per night. A simple price breakdown is as follows:
£150 + £20 for hold luggage = £170pp
£165 + £63 (excess cover) + 56 (additional driver) = 284/4 = £71pp
£15 (average) x 7 = £112pp
170 + 71 + 112 = £358pp
Additional items such as food and fuel must also be considered but cannot be budgeted here in detail. Alpine and ski insurance is required for this trip: The sum total cost is not expected to exceed £600pp.
Things to consider:
- Cogne has number of friendly locations, single pitch and low grade climbs, however the majority of climbing while accessible is multi-pitch and therefore committing. The destination requires a level of knowledge and skill is possessed by meet attendees, and while suitable for beginners of ice climbing, is not suitable for complete novices.
- Cogne is within a very popular skiing area, and therefore skiing is an option during the meet.
- Cogne is close to Courmayeur and access to the Mont Blanc massive. Ascents of alpine routes are known to be achievable in winter, and therefore alpinism is an option for the meet should conditions allow.
If I want to go?
I you want to come to Cogne this winter, please contact the meet leader/s directly so we can add you and send you some specific information (kit lists etc). We are aiming to book flights and accommodation at the end of December to ensure we get good lodgings. I hope you all consider coming. If you have any questions please contact us.
Jared Kitchen (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Emily Thompson (email@example.com)