He captured mountains passionately, made better mountaineering gear and blew 100th candle !!!
Posted January 1st, 2014
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Riccardo Cassin (2 January 1909 – 6 August 2009) was an Italian mountaineer, developer of mountaineering equipment and author. Born into a peasant family at San Vito al Tagliamento in Friuli, when this region was still part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Riccardo Cassin had humble origins. When Riccardo was three his father, Valentino, emigrated to Canada where he died in a mining accident in 1913 when aged 29. Cassin left schools at 12 to work for a blacksmith. In 1926, when 17, Cassin moved to Lecco where he found a job at a steel plant. His first love was boxing, but he soon became fascinated by the mountains that tower over Lake Como and Lake Garda.

 Cassin was one of the leading mountaineers of the inter-war period; in all, Cassin made a total of 2,500 ascents, of which over 100 first ascents. 


Cassin started mountaineering around 1930 together with a group known as the Ragni di Lecco (spiders of Lecco). In 1934, he made the first ascent of the Piccolissima of the Tre Cime di Lavaredo. In 1935, after having repeated Emilio Comici's route on the north-west face of the Civetta, he climbed the south-eastern ridge of the Trieste Tower and, with Vittorio Ratti, made a new route of the north face of Cima Ovest di Lavaredo. In 1937, Cassin made his first climb on the granite of the Western Alps. Over the course of three days, 14–16 July, he made the first ascent of the north-east face of Piz Badile in the Val Bregaglia (Bergell), Switzerland, accompanied by Ratti, Gino Esposito, M. Molteni and G. Valsecchi, the latter two of whom died of exhaustion and exposure on the descent. This route is known today as the Cassin Route or the Via Cassin. He would confirm his extraordinary skills climbing again this route, 50 years later, when aged 78.


In 1939, together with Tizzoni, Cassin made the first ascent of a steep line on the north face of the Aiguille de Leschaux. During World War II Cassin fought on the side of the partisans against the German occupiers. Cassin was decorated for his actions in the partisan campaign during the years 1943–45.

In 1975, Cassin led an expedition to the unclimbed south face of Lhotse in the Himalaya, but this was unsuccessful as a result of bad weather.

Cassin began designing and producing mountaineering equipment in Lecco in 1947. That year he produced his first rock pitons; in 1948 he produced his first hammers, his first ice axes appeared in 1949, and 1950 saw the introduction of his karabiners. That same year he produced the "first eiderdown duvet jackets for non-European mountaineering expeditions", these going into production two years later. In 1958 he and his son produced their first harness prototype; this went into production two years later, the same year that he introduced titanium crampons. In 1967 the company became a Limited Company and in the early 1980s it moved from Lecco to Valmadrera. In 1997 the CAMP company bought the Cassin trademark.

Note: The pictures are only the demonstrations of the gear; not necessarily produced by cassin.

100th birthday celebrations

Cassin's 100th birthday was on 2 January 2009. A book, entitled Riccardo Cassin: Cento volti di un grande alpinista ("Riccardo Cassin: One Hundred Faces of a Great Alpinist"), was produced to mark the occasion, containing one hundred testimonies from people connected with Cassin, including Edouard Frendo, Georges Livanos, John F. Kennedy, Reinhold Messner, Carlo Mauri, Walter Bonatti, Gianni Brera and Candido Cannavò.

He died in Piano dei Resinelli, Lecco, on 6 August 2009, aged 100.

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