Experience Journal | Climbing Workshop in Val Pennavaire

We had originally planned the climbing workshop with Matteo Gambaro and the sports association Pennavally for spring, but since the weather conditions did not bode well, we decided to postpone it to the second weekend in July. In April, since two of us participants of the workshop had booked a flight to Milan for Thursday to spend the last weekend of April in Val Pennavaire at the workshop, we did spend it together in Milan at exhibitions and on Lago Maggiore during the day and in climbing sessions in the gym in the evening, ending with a nice dinner and ice cream.



But on 12 July, we finally set off for the workshop in Val Pennavaire.

Val Pennavaire is an alpine valley, with forests of alders, oaks and chestnuts, and rising in altitude beeches and larches. The limestone and fossiliferous reliefs create an almost dolomitic landscape; like the Dolomites, they were formed by the accumulation of the remains of sponges, corals and madrepores that lived in the tropical sea that covered this region 200 million years ago. The rocky ramparts around the village of Castelbianco are fantastic for free climbing. With 1,300 routes and 41 crags, Val Pennavaire is a great spot for climbers. Compared to the nearby famous Finale Ligure, Val Pennavaire area has a wilder look and a more mountainous landscape, which makes it possible for climbing off the beaten paths.


Once we all gathered and meet the instructor, we went to the crag and started by defining personal climbing goals to (begin to) achieve over the two days of the workshop:


"Working on the grade for which you am training", "improving my technique", "refresh climbing safety recommendations", but also "taking nice climbing shots and trying out techniques", such as using the angle slightly from above and alongside the climber (so you can see the face but also the whole body in action).


We listened to safety and technique tips from Matteo and then started climbing on different routes. Before heading back to our base (Colletta di Castelbianco), we stopped to see one of the caves of the Val Pennavaire cave ring.


Photography by Stefano Sartor.


On the second day, after an intense day of climbing and working on our objective, we sat down at a very good local restaurant and reviewed our newly acquired skills, improvements and goals achieved.

Looking back on the learning from the workshop, we are amazed at how much we learned as a group:

  • Balance and energy efficiency techniques in rock climbing

  • Slab, crack and vertical climbing techniques

  • Visualising the route (how it develops and managing potential hazards).

  • Knots and the use of climbing equipment.

The experience was fun, useful and inspirational for future projects.


Photography by Stefano Sartor.


We are planning a second edition of this workshop in October 2022. Be sure to follow us on Instagram or subscribe to our newsletter for dates and other details soon.


Thanks for reading!

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