Franz Cazzanelli and Pietro Picco probably opened a new route on June 8126, 26 in the legendary Diamirwand of the 2022 meter high Nanga Parbat. The two mountain guides named their route Aosta Valley Express, referring to their origin.

Francis Cazzanelli and Pietro Picco are this summer together with four other mountain guides from the Aosta Valley – Roger Bovard, Marco Camandona, Emrik Favre and Jerome Perruquet – in Pakistan on an expedition. Your goal: Climbing the famous 8000er Nanga Parbat, but also the search for unclimbed terrain and less traveled routes. With her new line Aosta Valley Express (AI 90°, M6, 85°) Cazanelli and Picco are well on the way to reaching their expedition destination.

The Diamirwand at Nanga Parbat with the new route (green) by Franz Cazzanelli and Pietro Picco.

Direct attack from base camp

As part of their acclimatization, the six mountain guides tried to climb Genalo Peak (6606 meters). However, heavy snowfall thwarted their plan at an altitude of 6100 meters and forced them to stay at the base camp for a week.

When the weather improved again, Franz Cazzanelli discovered a route in the Diamirwand for which there were no records and which he thought could be climbed. The line goes up to 6000 meters where it joins the classic Kinshofer route from 1962.

diamir flank
Aosta Valley Express: That's the name of the new tour by Franz Cazzanelli and Pietro Picco in the Diamirwand.

“A climbable route on a mountain like this is a route that reduces the risk of a serac fall to a tolerable level. This and the snow conditions were the main variables we considered before deciding to give it a try."

Francis Cazzanelli

Cazzanelli and Picco's Neutour Aosta Valley Express (AI 90°, M6, 85°) overcomes vertical seracs and then leads over steep snowfields and later over mixed terrain to the ridge at around 6000 meters where it merges with the Kinshofer route.

"It was a great moment of our climb, reaching the ridge, meeting the rest of the group at Camp 2 on the Kinshofer route, and then descending to base camp together."

Francis Cazzanelli
Seracs, steep snowfields and mixed terrain characterize the new tour on the huge Diamir flank.

Franz Cazzanelli and Pietro Picco started their new tour of the Aosta Valley Express in a single advance from the base camp. Hence the name Express. The group now plans to spend a few days at altitude and acclimatize before attempting a summit at Nanga Parbat.

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Credits: Frontispiece: Franz Cazzanelli