Riccardo Cassin: One of the Greatest Climbers of All Time

RICCARDO CASSIN — 1909-2009. Italian.

No. 3

Like many great climbers, Riccardo Cassin had a restlessness and independent quality that suited him for vigorous activity and creativity. He fought in the resistance to the fascists in Italy in the 1940s. He boxed ceaselessly, that is, until he discovered climbing. What followed was a lengthy career in the mountains.

In 1935, Cassin and Vittorio Ratti climbed the north face of the Cima Ovest di Lavaredo in the Dolomites.

Cassin made the first ascent of the one of the six great north faces in the Alps, the north ridge of the Piz Badile in 1937.

In 1938, he lead the first ascent of the Walker Spur up to the Grand Jorasses’ Point Walker.

In 1961, Cassin lead five teammates up the south face of Denali, to establish an Alaska test-piece, today known as the Cassin Ridge.

In 1958, he lead an expedition that included Walter Bonatti to Gasherbrum IV (26,001 ft./7,925 m.) in the Karakorum. It is the 17th highest mountain the world and has been called more dangerous than K2. The summit attempt was successful and has rarely been repeated.

He continued to climb very late into his century among us.

This post is part a culmination of a series of posts that considered Who Are the Greatest Climbers of All Time. If you enjoyed this post, please consider following The Suburban Mountaineer on Facebook and Twitter.

Climbing matters, even though we work nine to five.

For some more information, please see his obituary from The Guardian.

And click here to see who was ranked at number two.

Walter Bonatti: One of the Greatest of All Time

WALTER BONATTI — 1930 – 2011. Italian.

No. 5.

Bonatti, climbed in the Alps, Himalayas, and Patagonia.

He was part of the 1954 Italian expedition to K2, and at the center of K2 first ascent controversy.

Bonatti was a prolific first ascentionist and often climbed alone, including the period test-piece Petit Dru (which he climbed over six days) and making the first winter solo ascent of the Matterhorn by the North Face Direct in February 1965.

On an expedition lead by Riccardo Cassin, Bonatti with Carolo Mauri made a daring first ascent of the entrancing mountain that may be more difficult than K2: Gasherbrum IV (26,001 ft./7,925 m.)

Courage, vision, commitment and creativity were demonstrated repeatedly throughout his career. His self reliance and resourcefulness may have enabled his ascent to greatness above much else. David Roberts wrote in The New York Times after his death, “Mr. Bonatti… fully accepted the dictum of adventure that had been true for centuries, but that may no longer hold: if you get into trouble, you have to get yourself out.”

This post is part a culmination of a series of posts that considered Who Are the Greatest Climbers of All Time. If you enjoyed this post, please consider following The Suburban Mountaineer on Facebook and Twitter.

Climbing matters, even though we work nine to five.

Click here to see who was ranked at number four.