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[TR] Dolomites - Various 9/10/2011

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Trip: Dolomites - Various


Date: 9/10/2011


Trip Report:

My wife and I spent our 3 week honeymoon in NE Italy – most of it focused on exploring and climbing in the Dolomites. We rented a small car and climbed during the good weather spells in the mountains and when the weather deteriorated, we hung out and cragged in and around Arco – the Italian town made famous by the Rockmasters Climbing Comp held there every summer.


Our mighty 1.2L mountain ride


There’s no choss in the Dolomites


Apparently September holds the most stable mountain weather conditions and this Sept was spectacular. Besides two short storms, we could have climbed in the mountains every day if we didn’t take rest days and go to Venice!



West face (Dulfer) route of Cime Grande di Lavaredo (UIAA V+, one of the Dolomites most iconic peaks)


We arrived in a whirlwind set of flights with a short but deteriorating weather window. We starved ourselves on sleep and hitched up to the Tre Cime di Lavaredo area where we climbed the West Face (Dulfer) route on Cime Grande (UIAA grade V+). The steepness of the routes and somewhat looseness of the rock took a little getting used to, but we could tell that we were going to like climbing in the Dolomites. The route tops out on a choss band some 100 meters shy of the summit. We dropped back and gear and solo’d to the summit to save time before clouds totally engulfed the peak. Our fatigue kicked in on the complex descent; we made several routefinding errors due to lack of concentration on the descent which cost us 2-3 hours we figure.



Summit of Cime Grande di Lavaredo


Huts such as this one (Auronzo hut near the Tre Cime di Lavaredo) make approaches easy and comfortable! Almost too comfortable if you’re used to the Cascades and other ranges in BC!




The weather turned and we headed to Arco where we ate, drank and got schooled on our first introduction to Arco’s polished, steep and sometimes sandbagged routes! I wore my tightest swim trunks at the crags but was still put to shame by the locals touting pink spandex and excessive tattoos!

We spent a solid 4 days in the Brenta, based out the Rifigio Agostini! This place rocked and the rock quality of the nearby peaks surpassed all the other climbs in the Dolomites we did. Also the massive face of Cime d’Ambiez (1000+ meter wall), a mere 20 mins (albeit steep) from the rifigio makes for quite the backdrop!




We did our first via ferrata which was an absolute blast. You can move so fast on technical terrain cause you don’t have to carry a rope or any gear besides a harness! Awesome! (The only time I’ve moved faster on equally technical terrain is downclimbing the upper Kane Route on Bugaboo Spire. Gotta race all those parties to beat them to the rap stations!!)



We took one of the most accessible routes up Cime d’Ambiez – the 10b? Fox/Stenico route. Hell of a route is all I can say!


We met Al and Sarah? in rifugio Agostini; Al Burgess is a famous Himalayan mountaineer whom many of you will know of. He and his twin Adrian are a classic climbing duo who are known as much for their crazy antics as feats at high elevation.



We took some time for a romantic visit to Venice. Though Venice is beautiful, the food is good and it’s rich in history, it pales in comparison to the Dolomites (IMHO ). We were more than ready to get out of there after two days and return to the spender of the Dolomites!



We head from Venice straight to Sella Pass where we linked the three Sella Towers and climbed one of the easier but steep lines on Piz Ciavazes.



Summit of first Sella tower



The huge wall of Piz Ciavazes


A view over from Sellajoch to (L->R) Grohmannspitze, Fünffingerspitze, and the massive Langkofel




Then we got hit with a huge storm and some low freezing levels (it snowed as low as 2500ft)


The Sellajoch now covered in snow!



Classic Dolomites town – Vigo di Fassa


We finished off with some shorter but super fun routes in the Cinque Torri area


The proud Tofana di Rozes across from Cinque Torri


Lindsey stemming up the Miriam route on Cinque Torre Grande


A view from the top of Langzuoi



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