Dolomites, and a "50th Anniversary Climb!"

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Brokedownclimber

Trad climber
Douglas, WY
Topic Author's Original Post - Sep 27, 2013 - 01:43pm PT
I just returned from a 3 week trip to Europe, that featured 18 days in the Dolomites and the beautiful Val Gardena. The first few days I stumbled around in a jet-lagged condition, going from Seilbahn to Seilbahn with my trusty camera. I'd been studying guidebooks all year, and wanted to get a first hand look at all the wonders contained therein, along with pictures.

I'd been in e-mail contact with guidebook author and alpine guide, Mauro Bernardi. I didn't have a partner from home, so I decided to spend my money on something worthwhile: climbing!

The first day we could make connections and get out was the 8th of September, and since I hadn't been doing much other than Health Club workouts all year, the Cinque Torri was an ideal starting point. I had an ambitious list of climbs for a goal.

We warmed up on Torre Latina, Regular Route; UIAA Gr. III+, which translates into 5.3/5.4 on the YDS scale. Three pitches, 270 feet of climbing, and 2 rappels to get off. Sorry; forgot to take out the camera on that one.

Our second goal was supposed to be Torre Quarta Bassa, Regular Route; UIAA Gr IV-, or 5.4/5.5. Alas, there were already 2 parties on the route, and 2 more waiting at the start. So...as an alternative, Mauro suggested we do Torre Lusy, Regular Route as an alternative. Fine, said I...

Torre Lusy was an "old friend" of mine, since I'd climbed it BITD, while I was wearing a "free Green Suit, 3 squares and a flop," as service in the U.S. Army was known at the time.

In fact: We set out to climb Torre Lusy, Regular Route exactly 50 YEARS TO THE EXACT DAY that I climbed it before, 8 September 1963. What a strange coincidence. I actually thought it was really pretty cool!

Some pictures:
Torre Seconda, which is comprised of 3 separate towers touching one an...
Torre Seconda, which is comprised of 3 separate towers touching one another: Torre Lusy (left most tower), Torre Barancio (center tower), and Torre Romana (right tower).
Credit: Brokedownclimber

Torre Lusy involves about 400 feet of climbing done in 6 relatively short pitches, and is a real world YDS 5.5, with quite a bit of very nice climbing.

My decrepit a$$ on the first pitch of Torre Lusy, Regular Route.
My decrepit a$$ on the first pitch of Torre Lusy, Regular Route.
Credit: Brokedownclimber

Mauro has described the first pitch as "abgespeckt" in his guidebook; due to the enormous amount of traffic seen by this climb, the holds are all quite polished and chalk is advised. It takes what would otherwise be a pretty simple 5.4 pitch and makes it feel slightly insecure.

Climbing on pitch #4, steep and spectacular...only 5.4/5.5!
Climbing on pitch #4, steep and spectacular...only 5.4/5.5!
Credit: Brokedownclimber

Torre Lusy actually is touching Torre Barancio at this point. Nonetheless, it's a wonderfully exposed bit of climbing.

Finishing off the pitch.
Finishing off the pitch.
Credit: Brokedownclimber

A short but slightly more difficult section (5.5/5.6) leads to a large level platform just below the actual summit block. As a difficulty comparison, think: "Men With Cow's Heads," or "Solar Technology" in Joshua Tree as equivalent difficulty for this climb, except this is a much bigger undertaking.

Mauro Bernardi and myself on the summit block of Torre Lusy; 8 Septemb...
Mauro Bernardi and myself on the summit block of Torre Lusy; 8 September, 2013.
Credit: Brokedownclimber

Mauro and I had overtaken 2 other slower parties of German speaking climbers, both of whom were "having difficulties" with getting down from the tower. I seem to recall they were having trouble getting their 2 ropes tied together for the fabulous 150 free rappel off the back of the tower. The weather was deteriorating rapidly, and Mauro leaned over and said we really needed to get off because the weather was turning to $hit. There was a pletheroa of extra anchors, so Mauro decided that he could lower me off faster than any other way, and he'd do an intermediate anchor rappel. Nothing like a free, 150' lowering job; pretty spectacular. After we were both on the ground, none of the other climbers had made it down yet. We scurried down the trail on the East side as it began to rain. We were able to get between several big boulders/fallen tower sections in a cave for a while. After the rains eased up, we called it a day after only 2 climbs of 9 leads and 670 feet of climbing. If the weather hadn't crapped on us, we had aspirations for at least 3 more routes. Oh well...

On the way back to Wolkenstein, we stopped at a tiny Albergo and the proprietress announced there was a just finished batch of home made lasagna ready. A no-brainer! That with a nice glass of red wine and some dessert made it an OK day in spite of being $hat upon by the weather gods.

It really didn't occur to me until later that we'd made a 50the Anniversary ascent.
Rick A

climber
Boulder, Colorado
Sep 27, 2013 - 01:55pm PT
That's a dream trip, for sure!

Did you remember parts of the route from 50 years ago , or was it mostly a blank slate? Memory is a funny thing.

Rick

Brokedownclimber

Trad climber
Douglas, WY
Topic Author's Reply - Sep 27, 2013 - 02:02pm PT
Rick,

I remembered the start being a lot nicer 50 years ago, when Maurizio deZanna and I were the only 2 climbers in the Cinque Torri at that time. The weather may have played a role in how my memories were brought back; this time with gimpy and achy knees. At least we still just cruised the route in good style, which is always important to me.
guyman

Social climber
Moorpark, CA.
Sep 27, 2013 - 02:29pm PT
Outstanding...

50 years on the stone, way to go.
Marlow

Sport climber
OSLO
Sep 27, 2013 - 02:30pm PT
Congrats with the 50the Anniversary ascent!

There's three climbers on the central tower, Torre Barancio.

Edited: Brokedown - I can see them now.
Brokedownclimber

Trad climber
Douglas, WY
Topic Author's Reply - Sep 27, 2013 - 02:36pm PT
Marlow-

Look carefully and you'll see an additional 2 climbers in the dihedral formed by the juncture of Torre Barancio and Torre Romana. The Nordverschneidung Route is rated UIAA IV+, but others here have rated it as 5.7+. That was "on my list," that got wiped out by the weather---twice!
My final climb of the trip was Torre Quarta Bassa, Normal Route that was supposed to be a warm-up for another 3 routes. Again, we were weathered off , but by falling temperatures that led to a snowfall later in the day.

Guyman-

I've been at it for 54 years now; started life as a Eldo climber, in the "pre-prancer" days ;)

Rodger
T Hocking

Trad climber
Redding, Ca
Sep 27, 2013 - 02:41pm PT
SWEET REPEAT 50yrs. later!
TFPU
Tad
guyman

Social climber
Moorpark, CA.
Sep 27, 2013 - 02:43pm PT
Wow... that would be 1959.... or so.

I was 6.

Keep climbing, keep living.
klk

Trad climber
cali
Sep 27, 2013 - 03:36pm PT
awesome! selva is possibly my favorite place in the world.

mauro did a terrific job on those guidebooks.

which place did you stay at?
Captain...or Skully

climber
Sep 27, 2013 - 03:39pm PT
Digging it, Rodger. Damn good share right there.
klk

Trad climber
cali
Sep 27, 2013 - 03:57pm PT
Mauro has described the first pitch as "abgespeckt"


btw, abgespeckt or abgespecht is the common tirolian/suedtirolian term of art for "polished" or greasy."

the tirol is known for speck, a local specialty-- smoked pork.

the appropriate american translations would be "baconized." not as fun as it sounds, at least en route.
Brokedownclimber

Trad climber
Douglas, WY
Topic Author's Reply - Sep 27, 2013 - 03:58pm PT
klk-

I stayed at Albergo Silvana. Great hosts and wonderful food. I even developed a taste for "Forst" beer brewed in Bozen (Bolzano).
Brokedownclimber

Trad climber
Douglas, WY
Topic Author's Reply - Sep 27, 2013 - 04:02pm PT
klk-

Mauro has a volume 3 for the Groednertal nearing publication in either late 2014 or early 2015. That will make 6 guidebooks, and all of them are extremely successful.

Yes, the term "Abgespeckt" is not very complimentary. Of course, I'm not a dedicated chalk user. "Slimy and slippery" seems to be the connotation.
Brian in SLC

Social climber
Salt Lake City, UT
Sep 27, 2013 - 04:02pm PT
Fantastico!
Cragman

Trad climber
June Lake, California....via the Damascus Road
Sep 27, 2013 - 04:03pm PT
Awesome stuff, Rodger!

TFPU!
Ezra Ellis

Trad climber
North wet, and Da souf
Sep 27, 2013 - 04:16pm PT
Good for you Rodger, I love itally!!!

Glad you are still gettin after it!!

Best,
Ezra
donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Sep 27, 2013 - 06:14pm PT
Nice going from Chengdu Roger! See you in COR next spring. Now i'm off to an area i first went to a mere 32 years ago.....nothing in comparison to your calendar.
Crump

Social climber
Lakewood, CO
Sep 27, 2013 - 09:26pm PT
Always had double big love for the Cinque Torre.. Such a sweet and friendly place. Umberto the former Refugio host was one of the best, making foam mountains like the Tri Cima on your cappuccino.. The night, back in '87, that Freddo, Crazy Shirley and I were given Umberto's full grappa tour still makes my brain hurt...

Always went to that tower group first. Didn't Sir Fred climb that recently?

The Dolomites are... quite possibly, ... heaven on earth.
Darwin

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Sep 27, 2013 - 10:22pm PT

Impressive, inspiring and the TR had photos!!!!

Thanks!
Brokedownclimber

Trad climber
Douglas, WY
Topic Author's Reply - Sep 28, 2013 - 02:02pm PT
Here's another picture from that wet and cold day; looking towards the Torre Quarta area; Quarta Alta is the rectangular tower at the left, and Quarta Bassa is the pyramidal tower front and center. As you see, lots of climbers out that day. The more distant spire/tower is Torre Inglesi.

We had Torre Quarta Bassa as #2 on my "dance card" for the day, but the hordes had already arrived. So, we instead climbed Torre Lusy, and it turned out being a "50the Anniversary Climb."

Torre Quarta Alta &#40;left&#41; Quarta Bassa Lower right-center&#41;,...
Torre Quarta Alta (left) Quarta Bassa Lower right-center), and Torre Inglesi (distant center).
Credit: Brokedownclimber
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