Ep. 7 - Ice Climbing in Cogne, Italy with Matthias Scherer

Nov 15, 2023

Cogne is known as one of the ice epicenters in Europe. Located near the base of the Gran Paradiso, the only 4,000 meter peak in Italy, the Cogne Valley boasts over 400 ice climbs and many more mixed and dry-tooling lines. Consistency and accessibility are the name of the game: The microclimate and terrain means ice is reliable year-in-year-out and you can often start your approach to climbs right from your front door.

Matthias Scherer is lucky to have called the area home for the past 20 years. A sponsored athlete for most of his adult life, Matthias has devoted himself to the area and is a wealth of knowledge. In particular, he's established new mixed lines and dry-tooling crags, maintains the bolted belays, and organizes the yearly festival, the Cogne Ice Opening, along with his partner, Tanja Schmitt and her twin sister, Heike.

When Matthias isn't in Cogne, he's climbing further afield in places like the Canadian Rockies and Norway. In total, he's topped out more than 1,000 frozen waterfalls and has curated a Top 100 tick-list that is an envy to any ice climber.

In this episode we talk about the history of Cogne, advances in climbing that occurred here, classic lines, logistics, and really, anything you need to plan your own trip this winter.

Lastly, Matthias would like to thank his sponsors for supporting his adventures: Petzl, Scarpa, Norrona, and Gloryfy, who make the stylish glasses you always see him in. 


1:37 - Starting to ice climb... with soloing

3:53 - Never lose respect for the ice and conditions

5:27 - If you want to enjoy it for a long time, you have to embrace the journey

7:20 - His Top 100 climbs list

8:55 - Ice climbing in Norway

10:10 - Moving from Chamonix to Cogne

11:40 - History: Francois Damilano, and Giancarlo Grassi

12:31 - Being a professional athlete and investing in Cogne

13:51 - Cogne Ice Opening

15:26 - History: Thierry Renault and Francois Damilano

18:44 - What makes Cogne special for ice climbing

22:25 - Challenges of Rjukan, Norway

23:50 - Consistent ice of Cogne and history

34:21 - Types of climbing in Cogne 

35:50 - Avalanche danger

40:21 - Classic climbs

49:17 - Mixed climbing

52:01 - Dry-tooling crags

54:52 - Recommendations for places to stay, restaurants, etc.

Resources and links:

Matthias has climbed over 1,000 frozen waterfalls, and you can see his top 100 list here. To follow along with his adventures, check him out on Instagram @matthiasscherer.

Want to join for the Cogne Ice Opening? It runs from December 14-17 and you find find all the details on their website: cogneiceopening.net


Intro music by Hannah Noelle Enomoto (thanks, sis!).

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© 2023 Ice Ice Beta. All rights reserved.

© 2023 Ice Ice Beta. All rights reserved.

© 2023 Ice Ice Beta. All rights reserved.