Denis Trento and his exceptional spring ski mountaineering in Valle d’Aosta

The abnormal spring conditions across the Alps were exploited to the maximum by Denis Trento who managed to ski almost every day in the mountains of the Aosta Valley. While “looking for the best conditions rather than famous descents”, mountaineering in Trento always starts directly from the valley floor, is fast and light, and sometimes resorts to the use of a bicycle to reduce approach times. .

Nature wakes up in the spring, the animals come out of hibernation, the flowers begin to bloom. And the approaches become eternal, the ascent times become absurd, and the result of any given descent is still very much in the balance.

Since the weather has gone crazy, ideal winter conditions seem to be forming just when summer should be upon us. No need to ask too many questions or complain about the cold, the only right thing to do is to set the alarm even earlier, put on your sealskins and leave in the middle of the night.

Since the duration of these insane winters is normally very limited, it is enough to make the most of the conditions. The time to sit down and rest will come far too soon anyway.

That said, this year it took a lot longer for temperatures to rise normally and it disrupted the biological mechanisms of more than one animal species, including mine. For over a month, I have woken up in the middle of the night and watched the sun rise over 2,000 meters above sea level.

During this extra time, the quantity was only a consequence of the quality. Once I pinpointed the position, elevation and aspect of where the best snow cleverly hid, the trips turned out to be quick sieges where conditions sometimes gave me slaps.

The style that I adopted is the one that I have imposed on myself, or rather that life has always imposed on me, that is to say from the bottom of the valley ideally on skis, or on foot, sometimes even by using a bicycle. This meant that the necessary cruising speed, taking into account the drops and the fact that I almost always had to break a track, had to be fast enough, otherwise the outings would turn into night outings.

The fact that I almost always skied alone was, in part, a consequence of all of the above. There are not many skiers capable of climbing certain slopes at certain speeds. Even though my friend Davide Capozzi, despite his splitboard, certainly doesn’t hang around when we manage to team up.

I don’t want to do an in-depth analysis of other factors, including safety of course, since this topic would merit a separate article. All I’m saying is that every decision was taken with care and after such deliberation. I could write an encyclopedia of all the times I’ve jumped in the mountains in recent years.

It’s hard to pick some highlights from the past few months, but if I sit down and think carefully, some runs actually stand out more than others. These include the three days in Valnontey during which I skied Gemelli with Davide Capozzi and followed with Testa di Valnontey and Grivola East Face. This last one is perhaps the only descent which left its biggest mark, both in my mind and in my legs, given the 2800 m of vertical drop that separates the bottom of the valley from the summit ridge, climbed in about four hours.

The north face of the Aiguille d’Argentière, skied after having left Argentière, is certainly one of my most beautiful and tiring memories. Again, this is something like a 2 mile vertical height gain and ascent in about 4 hours.

Forgetting to turn off the alarm clock at 5am abruptly interrupted the well-deserved rest that I certainly needed the next day. But that meant that, still asleep, I started to flay myself towards Tersiva. The conditions I encountered during the descent were perhaps the real plus of the whole season. Basically, in an ideal world, you are just rewarded for your efforts!

For trivial statistics, here is the almost complete list of the 31,000m of elevation gain from April 20 to May 27. Fortunately in mid-May I went on vacation with my family for a week 😉

Denti del Broglio North Face 1400m vertical drop North del Colmet 1300m vertical drop
Nord del Colmet 1300m of elevation gain
Ovest Paramont 1800m elevation gain
Canali Nord Ovest dei Gemelli 2000m elevation gain
Testa di Valnontey 1900m elevation gain
Grivola East face 2700m of elevation gain
Gervasutti Corridor Round Tower 1000m elevation gain
Ovest Denti del Broglio 1400m elevation gain
Canale delle attempt Dames Anglaises 1800m elevation gain
Nord del Colmet x 2 1500m vertical drop North East Berio Blanc 1400m vertical drop
East Pognenta 1200 D + North Paramont 1800m ascent
North Aiguille d’Argentière 2900m drop North East Tersiva 1800m drop
Nord Colmet 1100m of elevation gain

Connections: FB Denis Trente, Grivel, Karpos, SCARPA, Stefano Jeantet, Salice occhiali, ATK bindings, Sci movement, Pomoca skins

Grivola East Parete

Testa di Valnontey

North Aiguille d’Argentière

North East Tersiva