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5th April 2014 a day to remember.

Federico, Camillo, Raffaele, Riccardo, Matteo Luigi and I completed the first descent of Fletschhorn’s ENE face, skiing the Oxygen couloir. Reaching the top was pretty hard: we had to skin and climb 2200 vertical meters in 5 hours. We started from Simplon Dorf (1500m) and we reached 3700m: the top of that face.

The couloir was not easy to locate because it surrounded the mountain and had an icefall in the middle. But Riccardo spent lots of days around Fletschhorn looking for the line, to see snow conditions and more important if the line was continue top to bottom without interruptions.

The climbing section was pretty hard because the snow was soft, almost fresh powder in some spots, we also found some ice in the middle.

After 800m hiking we reached the top, the view was really breathtaking, seeing Weissmies’s E face just in front of us, almost reachable, so close...

Once finished sweating finally the interesting part: skiing, after we earned our turns! The snow was perfect: compacted powder without crust for 700m then beautiful firn till the car.

The very first part of the couloir (50 degrees and extremely narrow) was firn, with ice under it. Then chalky powder. It was really nice skiing at 45 degrees drawing big turns, letting the skis go without fear, playing with each others. Raffaele even had the guts to jump the little ice fall!

In thirty minutes the couloir was over and we skied super-G style the enormous glacial face under the mountain.

Almost at the car troubles begun... It was really warm (it was1:30) and we were really low so we triggered massive wet avalanches, luckily those are slow, but very dangerous because also a small one has the weight of ten trucks... With the avalanches big bowl of snow started to fall... Federico described it as “meteorites falling from the sky”... I CAN’T FIND BETTER WORDS TO DESCRIBE IT... They were big and fast passing through us while we were trying to escape the avalanches... I saw something similar only in cartoons...

Luckily we reached our cars safely and yet stoked for our achievement.   

Fletschhorn ENE Face - Couloir Oxygen

First descent 5/04/2014 Riccardo Vairetti, Luca Zattoni, Federico Rigotti, Camillo Enzio, Raffaele Vicario, Matteo Zamengo, Gigi Pestarini

Fletschhorn: Parete ENE canale di sx "Oxygen",

Descent Difficulty: 5.1 E2 S5 TD-

Steepness: 50° for 80m at the top then 45° and 40° last 200m

Vertical drop: 2200m

Top: 3700m

Snow Conditions: powder and firn

Almost at the top - Raffaele and Riccardo

At the top

Almost ready to go.

Weissmies east face, another dream, another day

Fast and light over the ice


Raffaele shows how to do it!!



Moments of stoke