A year ago Hans and I met talking about an article which we read in 'de Hoogtelijn'. It was an artical about something we had never heard of before; dam climbing. Reading the article lead to searching the internet, looking for information about dams you can climb. Our search quickly revealed that one of the most interesting dams (the Luzzone dam) would be just about on route to Finale. On the way to Finale we never got to do the dam, since it was still snowing according to the forecast. We decided to skip the dam and move on to the sun.
On our way back from Finale we decided we could always make the detour to at least see the dam. Never even trusting the weather enough to think we would be climbing it. We arrived at the restaurant above the dam (great view!) around 2pm.
A cloudy sky with blue patches in it above us. Seeing that, we could only do one thing: climb the dam that same afternoon! It was said that climbing the dam would take 2-3 hours when you take it easy (I suppose the speed climbing competitors that climb here every year would laugh about that). A quick count told us we would have plenty of time to get up before dark, and cold.
You might wonder how big this dam actually is. Well, here we go: 175 meters straight up, devided into six 35 meter pitches. BIG. Someone drilled 674 holes into the dam and then screwed 674 holds onto the dam. That's one very long route.
A 75 euro deposit and a 15 euro a person payment later we were back in the car, with the key which unlockes the ladder which you need to get to the beginning of the route. Not much later we could start climbing this immense structure (which is very impressive when you look at it from the bottom). The first pitch was the only pitch that was not overhanging. It didn't take long for us to realize that we underestimated the heaviness of this climb, but we continued going upwards. The view (down) got more and more impressive, our car getting smaller and smaller. Climbing the last pitch while it was snowing gave us an extra push not to have to long of a break. 2,5 hours after we started we stood on top of the dam, wauw! This is something we definitly will remember for a long time to come!!!
Without a ladder you won't get to the start of the route. The key is hold at the restaurant at the top of the dam.
Hans is hanging at the top of the first pitch, ready to belay
The route is equiped very well.
Birds (rock swallows) tend to like sitting on the holds.
Sanne just below the final pitch of the route
The view from the top, snow coming in
A few handy things if you're thinking of doing it yourself:
- If you need to know where exaclty the Luzzone dam can be found, have a look at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lago_di_Luzzone
- If the photo's aren't enough, have a look at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lARdpsbz8ZQ
- Remember: you're high up in the mountains so it's cold!
- You can pay in euro's in the restaurant, so no need to get Swiss Francs ;-)
- The walk down to the car is about 2 km's, so take some walking shoes with you. Abseiling is not allowed.
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