La maîtresse des chamois
Before reaching the dam of Place Moulin, the road makes two wide bends. Leave the car at the roadside at the first of these (on the left side) and walk down until you reach a group of houses. Cross the river on a bridge, then climb up the opposite side of the valley to reach the start point. Warning: steep and fragile terrain. 40 minutes from the bend in the road.
Probably the most famous Valpelline ice climb when it comes to medium-high difficulty. Its fame is surely deserved, so much as to be absolutely recommended to all ice climbing enthusiasts with a little spirit of adventure. In fact, we are not exactly in the typical comfort zone of the Cogne valleys; before planning the climb, it is necessary to consider a number of factors including, of course, the snow. It may seem lengthy when approaching it, depending on the road viability to the dam of Place Moulin.
The ice climb is characterised by a big stalactite jump at the start point (of varying difficulty depending on its formation), followed by a higher section that seems easier but anchors need to be applied for safety. Fixed anchors (spits) were present once, but even the solid expansion bolts were wiped away with the mighty rush of the summer waters.
Technically, it is comparable to Stella artice in Valeille … but requiring a greater effort overall.
Length: 200 m
First ascent: E. Marlier, C. Rosset 1989
Altitude: 2050 m
Coordinates: Lon.: 7,48074 Lat.: 45,891793 – UTM (ED50) – X: 382213,61 Y: 5083345,98
L1: pretty vertical jump that can be approached along different lines. Belay at the end on ice. There used to be a belay on the rock to the right (spit) that can no longer be used.
L2, L3, L4: the difficulties of the ice climb decrease considerably. You climb belaying at will on ice to the end of the waterfall.
Descent: abseiling along the ice climb (abalakov).
Text and photos taken from Effimeri barbagli (M. Giglio, 2014), the complete guide to ice climbs in Aosta Valley.