Spazzacaldeira, Albigna: Dente per Dente, NE Ridge Direct (via Nigg) and the Fiamma 

We came down from the Sasc Fura hut with a vague plan to do a shortish valley route (6 pitches of up to 6b) further down the val Chiavenna,  but managed to get on the wrong route (someone squeezed an extra one in since our guide was published) and then abandoned it halfway up in favour of sampling the nearest gelatteria. Hard to get psyched for valley cragging after such a mega day! 

We then repaired to the Bregaglia and the charming campsite at Vicosoprano. What a lovely spot! We caught up with Ian and Clair and gatecrashed the CC / AC meet, and were treated to a veggie feast (thanks Clair!) 

Next day we all got the first cable car up to the Albigna reservoir and set off to climb the Spazzacaldeira. Super accessible big day out, only 10mins from the top station. 

We started off up Dente par Dente, a 9 pitch 6a/+ up the two “pillars” to the right of the grassy triangle in the middle of the photo above. 

This brings a meeting with the classic NE ridge, and on this glorious day the scene of a major traffic jam. There must have been a dozen climbers in the small cirque at the base of the ridge, and no one was going anywhere fast… Time for some avoiding action, so Jim and I took a left turn and diverted onto the Nigg Direct, another fun 3 pitches of 6a taking us nicely around the bottleneck. Meanwhile, we had a great view of Clair and Ian on the voie normal 

Back onto the main ridge and another few pitches of scrambling / traversing leads to the top of the crest, from where a 20m ab and a few hundred metres walk / scramble brings you to the foot of the Fiamma. This is a 30m much photographed fantastic-looking blade of granite – allegedly the symbol of climbing in the Bregaglia (though I’d have thought Piz Badile would have a fair shout at that…) 

We bumped into a great pair of Swiss climbers, with Norbert celebrating his recent 70th Birthday by ascending the Fiamma with Andreas. 

Whilst we waited I made a more direct ascent via the tricky Fuoco e Fiamma, 6b, 

before doing the regular route followed by Jim… 

… and Clair, who’d caught us up in an example of excellent coordination. 

A great day out – about 16 pitches and at least 600m of climbing. A dash down to the dam, a quick look at the “art” installations (including a Piaggio van dangling half way down the dam wall…. )

…and we were up at the Albigna hut with 15 mins to spare for beer before dinner was served. 

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