On the Matterhorn off the beaten track. By Stefano (Teto) Stradelli

Published 16/10/20

Route "Innocenzo Menabreaz - Per Nio”, Matterhorn south face, opened by Hervé Barmasse and Patrick Poletto on 14th August, 2000.

First repeaters: Bongiorno Nicolò, Cazzanelli François and Farina Marco on 14th November, 2015.

Second repetition: Cazzanelli Michele, Perruquet Jerome and Stradelli Stefano on 9th September 2020.It has been a long time that we have dreamed of going to check out this side of the Matterhorn, the famous “Scudo del Cervino” (the Matterhorn Shield), a 400-meter high triangle of rock between De Amicis and the Casarotto-Grassi routes. As all three of us live at the foot of the “Gran Becca” (the Matterhorn), we knew that climbing the south face would not be so easy, which is one more reason that spurred us to make this decision. Soon the team is ready: Wednesday 9th September at 5:00 am we left the Oriondé refuge, under a starry sky, for this magnificent adventure. Everything seems perfect, the doubts and uncertainties that run through our minds the night before vanish with the first steps.We quickly climb the first section of the De Amicis ridge which takes us to the starting ledge. From there, we admire the sunrise with the first rays of the sun kissing the wall, time to refresh ourselves and put on the shoes and we start with the pitches. The route is characterized by 6 long pitches between 30 and 50 meters of mandatory 6A + not to be underestimated.In three we knew we were slower, but we thought well that in this way we could share the route and the material equally.The first to open the dance is Jerome, he is entitled to the first two pitches. It is a little-frequented route in the middle of the south face and, not knowing exactly what we were going to meet, the tension was soon felt.We therefore move calmly, paying attention to every single movement, also because the rock, although good, is still the Matterhorn rock. It is therefore not a solid granite and a mistake could be costly because the protections we are able to put are not many and moreover they are particularly random. As soon as we reach the first stop we look at each other and without saying anything we understand that we will have to grit our teeth and work hard.It is obvious that we are not faced with just any climbing route but it is a particularly difficult and demanding route, which actually gives that extra touch of charm. But morale remains high and between one bar and the next at the stop, the tension eases a bit. The time to exchange the material and to read the report and it is now Stefano's time: he is up to the two central pitches. Since Jerome broke the ice a bit with the first two pitches, all that we can do is to continue meter by meter towards the summit, where easier sections alternate with more difficult ones.You just think about climbing inside yourself and nothing else, it almost seems that time stops and suddenly you arrive at the belay where you are happy. Watch the members climb beneath you, admire the south face and Cervinia in all its splendor. The other members arrive at the belay and ask you how you made that step and you can't even understand yourself because you are focused and you only see the goal. Time for a quick drink and off to another tiring pitch that reserves a little surprise: Je and Michi hear hammer blows coming from above but not seeing Teto they can't understand what was happening. Only when they reached the top of the pitch did they realize that Stefano had to make a piton belay as there was only one bolt that moved instead of the real belay.Now it's up to Michi the last two pitches to get out of the shield. Starting from the belay, after a short vertical stretch and an athletic move, Michi reaches a pit from which it is necessary to make a delicate pendulum due to the fragility of the rock to reach the next belay. The last pitch is characterized by a long and pleasant climb up to a stretch at the top of an overhang where we found consistent flows of water.Once off the route, we look at each other enthusiastically and happy but we know that it is not over yet: we still have to climb up to Pic Tyndall always along the De Amicis ridge and go down to the valley along the Lion ridge. On the descent, the tiredness begins to be felt but we are motivated by a refreshment at the Carrel hut by Laurent Nicoletta and Corrado Gaspard. Then in a short time we arrive back at Oriondé satisfied with the beautiful adventure brought home.

The GRIVEL equipment used for the project:

Stealth helmet



Trend Harness



Air Tech Crampons



Alpine Quickdraws



Clepsydra Small carabiner



Master Pro




Stefano Stradelli born in 1993. He has always lived at the foot of the Matterhorn and the mountains have always been his passion. At the age of 3 he began to practice alpine skiing and later, in 2008, he embarked on his path in the world of competitions in ski mountaineering. Thanks to constant and careful training, he joined the national ski mountaineering team, where he applied as an athlete for 8 years. Today he continues to be an athlete internationally. In winter, he derives satisfaction and satisfaction from participating in competitions at an international level, particularly favoring the Grande Course circuit. As for the summer period, he dedicates all his time not only to training in the high mountains or on the cliff but above all to mountaineering, covering new routes and sharing many experiences with his friends and climbing partners.