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Italian mountain guide Luca “Rampikino” Maspes, whom Alpinist readers will recognize as the co-author, with Herve Barmasse, of Issue 16‘s Mountain Profile on the Matterhorn, is the co-originator of the UP Project, the first chapter of which took place in 2005 on the Chogolisa Glacier in Pakistan’s Karakoram (see Though the second chapter–to Cerro Piergiorgio and San Lorenzo in Argentine Patagonia in January 2006–was not as successful (early in the trip, Maspes was injured by rockfall in base camp while the team was attempting a new route on the northwest face of Cerro Piergiorgio; later, Herve Barmasse, Matteo Bernasconi, Lorenzo Lanfranchi and Giovanni Ongaro managed a straight-forward couloir on the elusive San Lorenzo rather than their original objective, the north-northeast face), Maspes did not take the summer off. Rather, with a host of friends, the garrulous Rampikino established eleven new notable routes this summer in Italy’s Central Alps. Escaping the oppressive heat, Maspes’s three-month binge of long traditional and sport climbs ravaged the under-developed walls of Valmasino, Valmalenco and Val Grosina. Maspes depended on the local talent of his friends Rossano Libera, Giovanni Ongaro, Giuliaano Bordoni, Fabio Salini and Anna Ceruti, among others, to open new lines and vanquish old nemeses.

Rossano Libera on the first ascent of Juvergogna (5.10a/b, 250m), Pizzo Porcellizzo, Central Alps, Italy. The route was one of eleven notable lines climbed by Luca ?Rampikino? Maspes during the summer in Italy. [Photo] Luca Maspes

On June 15 Maspes returned to an unclimbed pillar on Quota (2493m), choosing the same line that literally incensed him and Oscar Meloni sixteen years before when lightning struck them at the climb’s base. Returning with Ongaro, Bordoni and Ceruti, the four alpinists scaled the pillar with a mix of trad gear and bolts, naming it Tuono (5.11, 300m). Two weeks later, Maspes recruited Bordoni for another ripe first ascent, this time on the unclimbed south face of the Sasso Maurigno (ca. 3000m). Roping up for the vertical pillar on the first half of the climb, the pair then soloed to reach the summit ridge of the new I Fiori Di Giada (5.10b, 550m). June and July also saw the FFAs of trad routes Obelix (5.11a/b) and a 5.11c variation into Maspes’s new route, Tutto Vero (5.11a/b A1, 400m with bolt belays).

Craving more, Maspes ventured to Ringhio (5.11a/b, 450m), on the southeast face of the famous Pizzo Badile in Val Porcellizzo. Climbed only three years ago by a party of four, Maspes ventured solo. Self-belaying on three of the more difficult pitches and free soloing the rest, he completed the route’s first solo ascent, one of his most proud summer accomplishments. His expeditious climb exited along Via Vera (Gilardi-Corti 1972).

Still fast and light a week later, Libera joined Maspes to tackle Juvergogna (5.10a/b, 250m) on Pizzo Porcellizzo and, more notably, Velociraptor (5.11c) on Cengalo Peak, in two alpine-style days. Unsated, Maspes climbed numerous lines in the Valmasino, including the cracks and slabs of Ferro E Sungia (5.10a/b, 350m) with Ceruti and Giovanna Novella.

Maspes, Libera and Bordoni hoped to capitalize on the fine July weather by trekking into Val Grosina for an attempt on the vertical 600-meter south face of Cima Viola (3374m). The trio survived an unusual nocturnal thunderstorm that unnerved their high bivy. Summiting the next day, they capped the summer season by opening the wall’s fourth route, Viola Bacia Tutti (5.11a, 800m, 17 pitches). Temporarily stymied by three weeks of horrendous weather, Maspes snuck in a few final sport ascents when the sun returned this fall, opening Il Triangolo D’oro (5.10d, 250m), Malenconia (5.10d, 500m), Kriminal (5.10d R, 300m) and a variation on Zakimort (5.11b).