Victor de Cessole

On the Inaccessible Roc

Our unexpected victory over Corno Stella marked a new success, certainly the most important, the magnificent walls of the Argentera canyon: it was certainly the culmination of our many campaigns in the area.

How to accurately estimate the difficulties and risks of such an undertaking? Mountaineering has achieved, up to today, many advances, so that the large peaks of the Alps, which were a lot of effort and trouble for those who first attempted to climb them twenty or thirty years ago, are now easily scaled by crowds of hikers. The Inaccessible Roc, going back to the Corno Stella, for the fact that she has lost her virginity will one day fall into the fashionable peaks? The future climbers will perhaps find its “domesticated” walls? Personally, I believe that they will have their own energetic surprises.

[…] The Mauvais Pas, which only effect the reputation of a minor peak of the Corno Stella constitutes, for the team leader, a terribly dangerous passage, unless it is decided, one nice day, to equip it with a fixed rope along the slab, therefore reducing risks and usefully saving energy.

[…] Where a climb is developed in such an environment is, without a doubt, serious business. It is, moreover, what the Gias del Saut shepherd would have to support while guarding his sheep in the Argentera high valley and assisted our evolution on the rocks of Corno. The day before that of the attempt, he did not understood what type of work we had decided to accept; the next day, very interested surrounding our return to the same place, fully equipped with rope, crampons and ice axes, had observed our comings and goings. He recounted, in the evening, that “we had a bad day and that, in certain instances, fearing sudden illness, had given up watching our movements”.

From: Il Corno Stella – Prima ascensione, in “Annuaire du Club Alpin Francais”, 1903.

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