Friday, August 31, 2012

SMG Dolomites 2012! Part 1



The Italian Dolomites: where mountain culture and geology converge to facilitate the most outstanding and accessible alpine rock climbing adventure opportunities on Earth. A climber from the Eastern Sierra can really appreciate the contrast here. At home we have craggy and sometimes snowy high peaks juxtaposed against the desert of the Owens Valley. Here in the Dolomites we see steep, gray-orange peaks and spires rising above lush, rolling green valleys. In these valleys are little hamlets situated perfectly to welcome happy climbers and alpinists as they return from vertical adventures. As is standard in the Italian Alps, the food and drink is off the charts and the people are all beautiful and friendly. The climbing is almost to good to be believed. Climbs are steep and juggy, even the easy ones. The easier it is, the less fixed protection it has, and often the pro includes ancient and/or dubious pins. Runouts are long, and falling is not really an option on the easier pitches. On the other hand, there are decent anchors available where they are truly needed. The balance of equipage keeps the adventure level high, requires well-developed climbing skill, and preserves a character of climbing here that celebrates a connection to the spirit of more than a century of vertical exploration here. I challenge any real rock climber to resist the lure of climbing in such an enchanting place, given the opportunity.

Taylor Samuels is one of our regular and most beloved VIP guests at Sierra Mountain Guides. He is constantly prodding us to increase the adventure level on mountain trips. This spring we took him to the most remote and incredible ski venue on Earth - the Wrangells in Alaska with our Alaskan partners at Wild Alpine, so this summer we needed to follow that with something extra exciting. Of course, we scheduled a climbing trip to the Dolomites partnered with our friends at Holimites.

We enjoyed 6 outstanding days before inevitably getting shut down by a little weather, and in that time we managed a 2500 foot via ferrata (iron path) route and almost 50 pitches of technical rock climbing between 5.6 and 5.10, all while visiting WWI ruins, mountain huts, eating amazing food, and of course, enjoying some (ok a lot of) perfectly prepared cappuccinos. The pictures tell the story better than words...

Ferrata Tridentina. Good way to shake the jet lag.


     














Warming up after a rainy 4 pitch climb up Torre Grande 
Taylor engages a local laderhoser

























On the 14 pitch classic Vinatzer Route on the 3rd Sella Tower
Top of the 3rd Sella Tower
Summit Register: "'I Want 2 Piss of Toast' Says Pizza Man"
South Ridge of Hexenstein. Major WWI military peak with a fortress on the top.
Taylor was into Euro conversion vans.
Dibona Hut
Gelato at the hut
Our second night warranted a swig of the hutkeepers homemade Grappa.
Approach to Tofana de Rozes. We climbed the First Buttress, the sharp one with sun hitting the very top of it.
Some anchors can be made acceptable with a little rigging...
...and some cannot. Italian humor.
Loving it about 250 meters up the Tofana route.
Awesome.
High in the Dolimites.
Giussani Hut

Traverse of the Falzarego Towers
Made it down for cappuccino just before the rain.
Taylor haggles for a van

















1 comment:

  1. Great work guys. Looks like fun! Have a pizza for me. -Neil

    ReplyDelete