Bruno Detassis [Photo] Giulio Malfer

Bruno Detassis

Posted on: December 1, 2003


Climbing can only be explained as a great passion. I obviously wasn't devoted to the mountains continuously; I had to work, I had a family—just like everyone else—but I felt this great passion burning inside me...and I gave it my time with enthusiasm.

I didn't like using too many pitons, and so I needed ability and preparation. I was always prepared, and I only ever attempted what I felt capable of climbing free. I loved free climbing: it gave me an indication of my possibilities. Free is a source of great satisfaction for climbers: it's a yardstick of personal ability. And I always searched for this, in all my routes.

I always interpreted liberty as being one thing, while the submission to someone else's commands—which I never liked—was something completely different. And so, when facing wars, when facing suffering, I always tried to smile. Perhaps this is my true life force.

How are things now? June turns the grain gold and matures me. I'm 93 now: things are fine, I take what comes. It's hard, for everyone, to take what comes, but one manages.... Reasoning, one manages.

—Bruno Detassis, "The King of Brenta," free-climbing proponent, mountain guide, climbing philosopher, keeper of the Brenta Refuge in Italy's Brenta Dolomites.

Recorded and translated from the Italian by Vinicio Stefanello

Bruno Detassis: curriculum vitae

1932: Via Dibona, Croz dell'Altissimo, Brenta, new variant. Northeast face, Monte Daino, first ascent. Steger Corner, Punta Emma Catinaccio, second Italian ascent. Via Diretta, Southeast face, Paganella, new route. Southwest face, Cima Margherita, Brenta, first ascent.

1933: West face, Crozzon del Brenta, first ascent. North face, Dos di Dalun, Gruppo Brenta, first ascent. Southwest face, Cima Tosa, Brenta, first ascent. Northeast face, Cima Tosa, Brenta, first ascent. South face, Punta del Comedon, Pale di San Martino, first ascent.

1934: Northeast face, Brenta Alta, first ascent. Southeast Spur, Sass Maor, Pale di San Martino, first ascent. Northeast face, Campanile Pradidali, Pale di San Martino, first ascent. South face, Cima Canali, Pale di San Martino, first ascent. North face, Spiz d'Agner, Pale di San Martino, first ascent. Gruppo Monti del Sole, various first ascents.

1935: Guide's Route, northeast face, Crozzon di Brenta, first ascent. Diedre Grande, Monte Casale, Valle del Sarca, first ascent. West ridge, Gran Vernel, Gruppo Marmolada, first ascent. West ridge, Piz Serauta, Gruppo Marmolada, first ascent.

1936: Via Detassis, Southwest ridge, Croz dell'Altissimo, Brenta, first ascent. Via Canne, d'Organo face, Piccolo Dain, first ascent. East face, Campanile Agostini, first ascent.

1937: West face, Pillar Cima Tosa, first ascent. Northwest face, Eiger, new route. East face, Cima Tosa, Brenta, first ascent.

1949: Campanil Basso, first winter ascent.

1952: West face, Cima Tosa, Brenta, first ascent.

1956: Winter crossing of the Alps.

1957: Cerro Torre, Argentine Patagonia, attempt.

1949-2000: Keeper of the Brenta Refuge.

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