It has the massive appearance of an Egyptian pyramid, the pointed tip reaching toward the sky like an arrow. The south face of the Poncione d’Alnasca has captivated generations of mountaineers and climbers, from Comici to Bonatti, from Pedrini to Quirici, but outside the local area only a few enthusiasts are familiar with it.
The late Erminio Ferrari wrote about this face, “And more than a mountain, this is a story of men. You can climb the Poncione d’Alnasca with your legs, with your heart, your arms, ingenuity, strength, love, anger, pain. Dreams.” I like to think that this time we were the ones who added a small piece to this beautiful story — we with our dreams and our ambitions; we who shared effort, joy, long falls, nights hanging in our bivouacs under the stars; we who got dehydrated under the scorching sun of May and whose teeth chattered waiting for dawn in December.
Our “Leap of Faith” represents, for me, the satisfying closing of a circle. A circle that opened even before I placed the first bolt on this route, during years in which I viewed the walls in the canton of Ticino as a new world to be explored — a real land of adventure just a stone’s throw from home, where my friends and I went to put ourselves to the test, have fun, and escape from our daily routines.
For all of us, the south face of the Alnasca was the queen of the walls. We looked up at it from the bottom, fearing the verticality of those 500 meters of granite and the long approach that separate it from the valley floor.
Luca Auguadri, who was from Chiasso in Ticino and my faithful companion in adventures and developing new routes in those years, was the first to talk to me about the possibility of freeing a new route on the left side of the Alnasca.
But in the interval between words and deeds, years passed. Years spent repeating and trying to get to know this place and this wall thoroughly, becoming one with the environment, with its smooth slabs and its silences. It took years to convince ourselves that the time was finally ripe to try, to understand that if we waited any longer our idea would vanish like snow in the sun.