Trip Report
MELLOW MELLO: A'AAD GADGIES GONE WILD!
Monday November 25, 2013 3:13pm
Back in 2007 I went on an old blokes bouldering trip to Val de Mello. There’s loads of places to go bouldering in Europe, and locations fall in and out of favour and fashion, depending on who’s done what and what’s getting pushed by magazines, media and manufacturers.

Mello though is special, principally because it has everything, bouldering, single and multipitch sport, trad and big walls. It is an alpine Yosemite, not as in your face as the valley – there’s no obvious El Cap, or Half Dome, despite this, like it’s American counterpart it probably contains a lifetime of climbing. Each year the valley hosts a climbing festival MelloBlocco, this drives development and ensures there is an ever increasing range of problems.

The rock is a good, clean granite and many of the blocks are similar to thoise that litter the floor of Yosemite – without many of the trees. We flew out from the to Milan picked up the hire cars and began the 2.5hr journey to the Valley.
Mello is located North East of Lake Como, the valley lies to the South of the Badile and Bregaglia and East of Monte Dizgrazia. We stayed in the Miramonte Hotel in Val Masino (bouldering on your doorstep), but there’s a wide range of accommodation available, from refugios to apartments.

I guess the location is sub alpine, we went in October when conditions were ideal, cold and crsp (frosty) in the morning but just right in the sun.

I can’t remember any names or grades of the problems, but you’ll ‘get the picture’, the quality was very high……..And while we didn't do anything over 7a+ there's a wealth of hard stuff for those capable. If you are on an extended Euro trip, it is worth serious consideration.

In there somewhere; L to R John Earl, Bob Smith, Rick Barnes, Blakey, ...
In there somewhere; L to R John Earl, Bob Smith, Rick Barnes, Blakey, John Mountain, Alec Burns, Tommy Smith.
Credit: Blakey

This took quite a few goes....
This took quite a few goes....
Credit: Blakey

Blakey 'gettin some'.
Blakey 'gettin some'.
Credit: Blakey


Elder brother Tommy Smith.
Elder brother Tommy Smith.
Credit: Blakey

Looking up the valley towards the Bregaglia
Looking up the valley towards the Bregaglia
Credit: Blakey

Alec Burns climbing
Alec Burns climbing
Credit: Blakey

Bob Smith climbing. These boulders litter the valley floor.
Bob Smith climbing. These boulders litter the valley floor.
Credit: Blakey

Yours truly on something a little weird.
Yours truly on something a little weird.
Credit: Blakey

Alec Burns, big stuff in the background!
Alec Burns, big stuff in the background!
Credit: Blakey

This steep slab had half a dozen sport routes on it, and an excellent ...
This steep slab had half a dozen sport routes on it, and an excellent traverse. A minute from the road, amongst a jumble of similar sized blocs.
Credit: Blakey

John Earl on a photogenic arete.
John Earl on a photogenic arete.
Credit: Blakey

John and John at it.
John and John at it.
Credit: Blakey

John Mountain - spotter : Tommy Smith
John Mountain - spotter : Tommy Smith
Credit: Blakey

John Earl climbing.
John Earl climbing.
Credit: Blakey

A great place - add it to your international list!

Steve




  Trip Report Views: 968
Blakey
About the Author
Blakey is a trad climber from Newcastle UK.

Comments
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FortMentäl

Social climber
Albuquerque, NM
  Nov 25, 2013 - 04:02pm PT
Where do I find this rock. I want it.

FRUMY

Trad climber
Bishop,CA
  Nov 25, 2013 - 07:35pm PT
Thanks - looks great.
T Hocking

Trad climber
Redding, Ca
  Nov 25, 2013 - 07:57pm PT
Sweet looking area!
TFPU
MisterE

climber
  Nov 25, 2013 - 07:59pm PT
That place looks amazing! Thanks for the pics and story.
ß Î Ø T Ç H

Boulder climber
extraordinaire
  Nov 25, 2013 - 10:47pm PT
Jolly good show. Keep a-going lad.
Michael Hjorth

Trad climber
Copenhagen, Denmark
  Nov 26, 2013 - 11:01am PT
Nice ones!
"The Big One" must be the rock Precipizio di Astoidi with the nice route Ozeane Irrationale.

And the very nice big boulder is down valley, Scivolo, where my friend and I did a route back in 1989:

Credit: Michael Hjorth
Blakey

Trad climber
Sierra Vista
Author's Reply  Nov 26, 2013 - 01:04pm PT
The slab from the side. It was frustrating not to have a rope and some...
The slab from the side. It was frustrating not to have a rope and some draws.....It was interesting that above these huge boulders (there were others) there was no obvious point of origin, no huge cliff above, from which it had tumbled.
Credit: Blakey
phylp

Trad climber
Millbrae, CA
  Nov 26, 2013 - 01:33pm PT
It's very beautiful in that area.
Thanks for the memories.
Marlow

Sport climber
OSLO
  Nov 26, 2013 - 01:59pm PT
Great photos. Val di Mello looks like a place giving a sense of silent freedom. I'm not primarily talking about the pure friction slab climbing... ;o)

A link to another website: http://masinoclimbing.blogspot.no/2001/10/val-di-mello-climbing.html
RyanD

climber
Squamish
  Nov 26, 2013 - 01:53pm PT
Good stuff Blakey!


We can always use some more bouldering around here, thanks!
survival

Big Wall climber
Terrapin Station
  Nov 26, 2013 - 01:56pm PT
Good stuff fellows, way to get after it!! Er...in 2007....I mean....
Ezra Ellis

Trad climber
North wet, and Da souf
  Nov 26, 2013 - 07:49pm PT
Stellar Blakey!!!
Blakey

Trad climber
Sierra Vista
Author's Reply  Nov 27, 2013 - 05:44pm PT
So, we get back to the Pension from a days graft, fingers skinned, hot and sweaty, hit the showers and down for supper. After the meal I get out my laptop, and everyone gives me their camera cards as the first beers of the evening arrive.


The Gaadgies. ('old blokes')
The Gaadgies. ('old blokes')
Credit: Blakey

All downloaded we can, at our leisure now review our performances and score points where appropriate. Provide invaluable advice and support, and most importantly wage an unsubtle psychological warfare on each other.

The patter on these occasions is absolutely priceless. Trying to capture it in the Geordie vernacular isn’t easy, but worth a try;

‘Ye wer shyte in the 1980s, an yer still shyte now! Yer nowt but a bliddy dissapointment, ah divven wan te climb with ye tomorrow’ (This passes for Performance reinforcement and support)

‘Look at that man that’s just bollox’ yer nivver gan de that’ (A reality check)

‘Yer footwerks a bag o shyte’, ‘What ye de-in that for it’ll nivver work man, nivver!’ (Technical advice)

‘ye coodn’t pull a blind lass man, yer nivver ganna pull on that hod’ ( Further technical advice - You need to think of another approach)

‘Lissen man, am telling ye, yer just wank, but ye cannet accept it’ (Psyops)

And so on. As the beers flow the discourse is inevitably dominated by the biggest bloke who opines that;

‘Back then we wor the best tha was in the fookin country – neebody cud de any o wor stuff’ Neebody! – Them Peaky bastards wud come up ‘n’ sh#t tha pants man! They aaal just got knocked back, while we wuz doon there deein aal their stuff’

(All of this is said with a very mischievous twinkle in the eye)

More beer arrives ….. and yet more, by which time we are all agreed we were the best in the frikken world. (Well, someone bigger than me’s been telling me so for a couple of hours now, so I’m in the mood to agree…..)

In this stupid, alcohol driven way, manly friendships are reinforced and social bonds developed. But, we are not just friends. The group dynamic is complicated by the presence of brothers, with all the personal and detailed knowledge, rivalry and history that siblings bring. Folks slowly drift off to bed leaving me with the brothers who are now addressing issues they’ve been arguing over for 40 years or more….. (It was ever so)

Eventually we’ve drunk all the beer, the arguing is over and it’s time for bed. We stand up and just as rapidly one promptly falls asleep on his feet. We pick him up, go to our room, stick him on his bed, and slip a sheet over him.

And so to bed…….I’m lying there in the dark, going back over the events of the evening, which have been an absolute hoot, when in the silence there’s an enormous thud, onto the tiled floor of the bedroom. Looking across in the moonlight I see an empty bed – ‘the silly bugger’s managed to fall out of bed’. I wait to see what happens……Nothing, then after a couple of minutes have eventually passed, the silhouette of a head slowly appears over the mattress, checking to see if anyone’s noticed. I’m biting my lip as he gets back into bed and crashes out.

Next day – ‘Crankin’ hard as usual. Magic, absolute magic….
Marlow

Sport climber
OSLO
  Nov 27, 2013 - 04:49pm PT
Haha... that magic is not for the faint of heart...
hb81

climber
  Nov 27, 2013 - 05:16pm PT
A magic, very tranquil place it is indeed.

Tranquility Base
Tranquility Base
Credit: hb81

mello(w) valley
mello(w) valley
Credit: hb81

The "Asteroidi" wall with the classic route "Ozeano Irrazionale" on th...
The "Asteroidi" wall with the classic route "Ozeano Irrazionale" on the upper half of it.
Credit: hb81
Blakey

Trad climber
Sierra Vista
Author's Reply  Nov 27, 2013 - 05:39pm PT
Credit: Blakey

Credit: Blakey

phylp

Trad climber
Millbrae, CA
  Nov 27, 2013 - 06:41pm PT
Your (hysterical) description of the dialect reminds me of the day I met my friend Shaw, who climbs in the Lakes District. We met through the internet when he was looking for a partner for a Yosemite climbing trip.

After he picked up his rental car at the airport he came by my house, and we took off for the Valley. We had separate cars since he was staying for 2 weeks and I'd be returning home after a few days. I had the bright idea of us each taking a walkie-talkie, so I could narrate to him about points of geographic and historical interest as we passed by.

This was good in theory but the reality was that after the first few return comments from him over the airways, where I was saying to myself "what the fu$K is he saying, I can't understand a word of it", I told him it might be a better idea for us to enjoy the driving and chat after we arrived.

Fortunately, in person I was (usually) able to figure out what he was saying, and we had a great time together.
Blakey

Trad climber
Sierra Vista
Author's Reply  Nov 29, 2013 - 01:18pm PT
Bob at the LHS of the slab traverse
Bob at the LHS of the slab traverse
Credit: Blakey

Alec Burns climbing
Alec Burns climbing
Credit: Blakey

John Mountain - who is coincidentally the most prolific mountaineer in...
John Mountain - who is coincidentally the most prolific mountaineer in the group!
Credit: Blakey

Rick barnes
Rick barnes
Credit: Blakey
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