Gian Carlo Grassi
The inexhaustible climb of a dreamer
Pioneer of ice climbing in Italy at the end of the seventies; discoverer, among the first, of the boulders of the morainic amphitheater of Susa Valley; alpine guide and explorer of routes and goulotte on the great Himalayan and Patagonian walls.
To the mountaineer Gian Carlo Grassi from Valsusina, Museomontagna dedicates the exhibition L’inesauribile scalata di un sognatore (The inexhaustible climb of a dreamer), opening on April 1st, the day of the thirty-first anniversary of his death, occurred on Monte Bove, in Sibillini mountains.
Curated by Enrico Camanni with Veronica Lisino, head of the Photo Library of the Documentation Center, and Marco Ribetti, deputy director of the Museum, the exhibition tells the intense life of Gian Carlo Grassi through the thread of his images, which outline an alpine and aesthetic research in four continents, always under the sign of discovery and innovation.
The Museomontagna exhibition highlights the multiple mountaineering and explorative activities of Gian Carlo Grassi, ranging from the first youthful attempts on the Cottian and Graian Alps to the affirmation of the sixties, with the first winter ascents and the new routes; from the magical period of the Nuovo Mattino, shared with personalities like Gian Piero Motti and Danilo Galante, to the discovery of goulotte and icefalls, together with his strong friend Gianni Comino; from the systematic exploration of the boulders of the morainic amphitheater of the Susa Valley to the expeditions in the four continents, including a winter attempt to Everest.
Grassi was the great ice specialist, because on ice he was able to fully express his imagination and need for research, but he never privileged a particular terrain, ranging freely from extreme high altitude routes to the boulders of his valley. He maintained with conviction, and demonstrated with coherence, that “a successful passage on a boulder after repeated attempts will offer the same moment of satisfaction as a great ascent in the high mountains”.
In addition to almost one hundred photographs selected from the Gian Carlo Grassi Fund, consisting of more than 15,000 slides, the exhibition also includes alpine materials that belonged to Grassi and to the first period of the modern evolution of ice climbing, between the mid-seventies and the eighties of the twentieth century.
The visitor will have the opportunity to travel through the “many lives” of Grassi, including the magical “crystal garden“, dedicated to the activity on ice between frozen waterfalls, goulotte and seracs, with video interventions by auroraMeccanica | Narrative Space Studio of Turin. Then it will be possible to know the successive passages of the man and the mountaineer, from the adolescent experiences to the great enterprises in the Yosemite Valley; from the boulders of the Susa Valley to the travels in Scotland, from the expeditions on the Andes and in Africa, to the explorations in Canada, Patagonia, Norway and Himalaya. The itinerary concludes with the testimonies of some climbing companions taken from the documentaries by Angelo Siri in 2009 and Elio Bonfanti in 2021.