First Winter Ascent of ‘Padre Pio Prega Per Noi and Echelle Ver le Ciel’ - Matterhorn by François Cazzanelli and team

Published on 04.03.2022

Between the 27th of February and the 1st of March, our athletes François Cazzanelli and Emrik Favre, together with Francesco Ratti, successfully made the first repetition and first winter ascent of ‘Padre Pio Prega Per Noi + Echelle Ver le Ciel’ (1.870 m, 7b) on the South face of the Matterhorn.
The first ascent of this link-up was made by Patrick Gabarrou, in 2016, whilst trying to find a direct route to the Matterhorn summit from his previous (2002) route ‘Padre Pio prega per noi’.

This was Cazzanelli and team’s second attempt to climb the route in Winter, after previously trying it in March 2021. They were forced to retreat from that attempt at the top of Padre Pio (4.000 m), after facing extreme temperatures, icy conditions and 1 bivy.
This year, the team managed to free-climb the entire route over 3 days, with 2 very tough bivies on the wall, at 3.900 m and then 4.200 m.
With daytime temperatures of -10°C, dropping down to -20°C at night, the team braved challenging conditions to complete the 41-pitch pure rock-climbing route.

François commented:
"The most difficult moment was before the first bivy because we find the place for sleep in the dark and preparing everything without the light is really complicated.
We are really pleased, because we’ve been waiting all winter for the right opportunity to try this project again.
I really wanted to profit from this dry winter with good weather to complete a great project, and I am happy it was on my home mountain, the Matterhorn.
We are all pleased to have repeated this incredible route in the cold season. Another fantastic vision from the great Patrick Gabarrou".


Ph Lorenzo Belfrond Photographia for Grivel.

François Cazzanelli
, born in 1990 and based in Cervinia (Italy), is part of the Grivel team since when he was a child. Mountain guide, mountaineer and member of Società Guide del Cervino since 2012, he collected many extra-European expeditions, from Patagonia to Himalayas, to the unknown massifs of Sichuan, opening many new routes. 
Favorite Grivel product: North Machine Carbon ice axes.