HARD REPEATS AND NEW LINES IN THE DOLOMITES

Posted on: August 23, 2007


The south face of Piz Ciavazes (2831m). There are three prominent buttresses on the upper face, separated by two great clefts, which in this picture are hidden just left of the shadows. El Negito (5.12d, 5.12b obl., 250m, 11 pitches, Riegler-Riegler, 2007) lies just right of the prominent arete/prow of the middle buttress. Directly below, the wall on the lower tier is taken by the very popular and ultra-classic Micheluzzi (5.9, 300m, Castiglione-Micheluzzi, 1935), an escape from all the routes on the lower tier being made left along the huge terrace, the Cengia dei Camosci. The arete on the lower tier left of the lefthand cleft (with the prominent roofs) is taken by Italia '61 (A3 5.9, 250m, De Francesch-Franceschetti-Romanin-Vuerich, 1961; FFA: 5.13b, Bole, 2004). [Photo] Claudio Cima

Riccardo Scarian has became the third person to climb Solo per Vecchi Guerreri (For Old Warriors Only), a four-pitch route on the remotely situated north face of an unnamed 2000-meter summit (dubbed El Colaz) in the little-frequented Feltrine (aka Feltre) Group, which lies above the town of Aune, Italy (south of the Pale) in the Dolomites. In 2005 Maurizio "Manolo" Zanolla (aka Il Mago or The Wizard), the Italian rock climbing icon of the 1980s, put up Bisogna Essere Veloci Per Descrivere le Nuvole (You Need Speed to Describe the Clouds) on this previously untouched wall. Manolo rated the crux of this completely bolted, five-pitch route 5.13c, but Rolando Larcher quickly stepped in for a second ascent, found a different sequence and downgraded it to 13b. There is a very steep approach to the base of this wall, making the climb highly exposed almost from the start.

In 2006 Manolo went back to tackle the steep wall immediately right of the arete taken by Bisogna. He found the line more or less devoid of natural protection and placed bolts. The bolts he spaced out on the initial, easier pitches and concentrated in the upper section, where hard moves are never much more than one meter above the last bolt. Manolo likened it to a Bain De Sang at 2000 meters with 300 meters of air beneath the moves (Bain De Sang is the world's second French 9a/5.14d, opened in 1993 by Fred Nicole—Manolo repeated it in 2006). Manolo was not able to make the one day, all-free ascent until August, when he assessed the grades on the first three pitches at 12d, 13a and 13d with obligatory 12c climbing. However, the fourth and final pitch weighed in at a proposed 5.14c, 13a obligatory, or more accurately "somewhere between 14b and 14d but awaiting confirmation." There are some good rests on the final pitch and finger strength plus expert footwork are far more important than stamina. Two months later the route received a second ascent from one of the current big names of Dolomite climbing, Mario Prinoth, who confirmed both Manolo's grade assessment and the very high quality climbing. Prinoth made repeated attempts on the route with the equally talented Riccardo Scarian, but in the end Scarian could not join him on what was to prove the final attempt, and Prinoth made the redpoint with Bruno Pederiva.

Scarian's successful redpoint took place on August 7 and while there is currently no disagreement with the original grade assessment, he commented that it is undoubtedly one of the finest routes he has ever climbed.

Moving to the popular south face of the well-known Piz Ciavazes (2831m), home to one of the great classics of the Dolomites, the Micheluzzi Route (5.9, 300m to the Cengio dei Camosci, Castiglione-Micheluzzi, 1935), the Riegler brothers, Florian and Martin, have added an excellent new line. The superb limestone wall, overlooking the road descending south from the Sella Pass, can be reached from the car in around twenty minutes. It is more than 500-meters high but split roughly in the center by a huge terrace, the Cengio dei Camosci or Gamsband. While the older routes traditionally went all the way, the rock on the upper wall is often considerably less pleasant, and descent from the top involves a via ferrata. These days, no one seems to climb the continuations on the upper wall, but instead traverses left along the Cengio towards the base of the Sella Towers and an easy descent. The lower face, which now offers many routes including a bunch of quality modern multi-pitch sport climbs, came into the news in recent times when Mauro "Bubu" Bole freed the Italia '61 (A3 5.9, 250m, De Francesch-Franceschetti-Romanin-Vuerich, 1961) in 2004 at 5.13b (also read about Bubu's FFA of Donnafugata [5.13b, 23 pitches, 750m] on Torre Trieste with Gabriele Gorobey in the August 14 NewsWire). The free version of Italia '61 now has been repeated several times; the second ascent came just two months after Bubu's, by Florian and Martin Riegler (Florian has redpointed 5.14b/c).

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So, it is interesting that the Rieglers' new route lies on the rarely visited upper tier, climbing the pillar just left of the old Demetz-Gluck-Tuntino South Chimney (5.7), the righthand of the two great vertical clefts on the south face and normally a waterfall. El Negrito climbs close to this waterfall, giving it an unusual ambience. It is eleven pitches long, the first being the crux at 5.12d with obligatory moves of 12b. Thereafter the climbing is generally 10d to 11d and the route partially bolted (take plenty of medium and large cams). The rock is reported to be excellent throughout, and descent is by rappel. The pair completed the line on February 20 after four days of work but came back at the end of May to make the first free ascent.



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