Looking for a nice route to warm up for bigger climbs or for you to debut on multi pitch climbing? The ‘Primi Sogni’ (6a) near Campeggio Arco in the Arco Valley is an obvious choice
‘Primi Sogni’ (6a, 5c, S2, R1) is a 180 meters, five pitches sport climbing route in Arco Valley in the Trentino region in northern Italy. The route is located just next to Campeggio Arco in the northern outskirts of the Arco village. If you are staying there taking a hit on ‘Primi Sogni’ (6a) should be a no brainer. Finding the route is pretty easy – head west from the camping site into the boulder field and follow the main trail onto the Via Ferrata Monte Colodri. The Via Ferrata in itself is a great half-day outing in itself, so on a resting day from climbing you could consider this. Follow the Via Ferrata Monte Colodri until it takes a sharp left turn and you see slabs on your right.
Wonderful warm up
‘Primi Sogni’ is Italian for ‘first dreams’ and could refer to the route being a wonderful warm up route for bigger climbs in the Arco Valley. This was exactly what we used it for, when I visited Arco with a group of fellow rock climbers from my local climbing gym in Denmark. Several did not have prior multi pitch experience. For lesser experienced rock climbers ‘Primi Sogni’ (6a) is a great way to introduce multi pitching as it features many different types of climbing and steepness, and for more experienced climbers it is a great way to get back in business if you haven’t touched rock for a while.
The route is grade 6a, 5c, S2, R1. This follows the French grading system and the S and R grading systems for Severity and Risk. According to Arco Plasir, the guidebook I used to map out the range for climbs we would do during our stay, ‘Primi Sogni’ (6a) is a mixed traditional climb, where you can place your own protection on critical places. Being a S2 the route is bolted quite well – there are maybe 2-3 meters between bolts, so there are actually really no need to bring a trad rack. You could bring two cams (Black Diamond C4 size 0.75 and size 1) if you want to practice setting your own protection. If you bring a trad rack anyway, the R1 grade indicates there are plenty of opportunities to place your own gear. This is a good route to practice placing your own protection. The 6a grade indicates the overall grading based on route length, crux and the sustained difficulty, while the 5c indicates the crux passage. I would reckon that even though the crux is only graded 5c, you should be comfortable climbing 6a.
Check out my video from ‘Primi Sogni’ (6a) below or look it up on Youtube at https://youtu.be/I7sSUccRNa8.
The difficulty of ‘Primi Sogni’ (6a) is not very sustained. The route starts with two really easy (but long) pitches on slab – the first slab pitch is grade 3a and the second is grade 4c/5a. We simul-climbed the first pitch in our approach shoes and if you are comfortable doing this you don’t need your sticky rock climbing shoes. The second pitch features a really nice, exposed traverse of 4-5 meters near the end, where you could place your own protection to avoid a swing should you take a fall.
The ‘Primi Sogni’ (6a) really starts on the third pitch. This is a 25 meters steep slab pitch that follows a fine dihedral running up the route. The two cams could come in handy here as there are 4-5 meters between the bolts. The climbing is not hard, graded 5b/5c, but as bolts distance is usually 2-3 meters on ‘Primi Sogni’ (6a), you suddenly encounter a longer distance that could shake even they very best multi pitch climber. You definitely have to step up your mental game. The belay station is just at the top of the dihedral to your right.
The fourth pitch features an exposed traverse on tiny holds and a chimney with pretty good holds both for your hands and feet. There are plenty of cracks to place gear, but a really nice line of bolts run on your left side. The chimney leads you to a nice ledge with a tree on your right with the belay station next to it.
The crux is located on the fifth and final pitch. It is almost a vertical corner with an overhang about 8-10 meters into the pitch. You can see it from the belay station below. The overhang is formed with a couple of boulders that at some point of times has slid into the corner to form this awkward looking rock formation. To overcome the crux you need to perform a pretty strenuous power move with your feet dangling below you. It is fun, but hard. When your have conquered the crux section the difficulty eases up and you climb a corner for the remainder of 10 meters until you reach the top of ‘Primi Sogni’ (6a), where you are rewarded with the beauty of a near 360 degrees view of the whole Arco Valley! Even if you are a grade 9 rock climbing guru and you can climb ‘Primi Sogni’ (6a) blind folded and your hands tied to the back, topping out is spectacular!
Descending ‘Primi Sogni’ (6a) can be done several ways. Go left onto the Via Ferrata Monte Coldori back down to your starting point, of follow the dirt trail right along the ridge line if you are up for more adventure. After about 100 meters you will reach an antenna, pass that and continue following the trail until it leads into a tiny forest. Here the road splits in two with a signpost that says ‘Santa Maria Di Laghel’ – follow that! The descent will take you down a hiking trail towards the village, and when you see a church turn left onto a paved road. Follow that until you are downtown Arco. Pay Pasticceria Conti D’Arco a visit for an Espresso, before conducting a shopping spree in one of the many climbing shops.
Essential gear needed on ‘Primi Sogni’ (6a)
Bring two 60 meters half ropes and two cams (Black Diamond sC4 size 0.75 and 1), then you are good to go. There are really no need to bring nuts or hexes, but if you want to practice placing your own gear bring a set of cams. Also remember to bring a 120 cm sling and four screw gate carabiners, a breaking device with guide mode (Black Diamond ATC Guide or Petzl Reverso), so you can build a dual point anchor. There are bolted belay stations between pitches with pretty good places to belay from.
Have you repeated the ‘Primi Sogni’ (6a) in Arco Valley in northern Italy? Please leave a comment below and share your experiences.