Trip Report
Dolomites! Summer 2018
Friday October 5, 2018 8:36pm
Credit: BrassNuts
I thought I would spin up a trip report of climbing in the Dolomites this summer to give some Euro flair to the TR tab 😊 Although I had climbed low down in the Dolos back in í95 for a couple of days on a business trip, this was my first dedicated trip to the Dolomites. My friend and climbing partner Steve was keen to go and get this bucket list item checked off, so we left Boulder on June 21 for a summer solstice treat!

Credit: BrassNuts
A quick map pic to show the areas we travelled to. We flew into Venice which is easy and itís only a 2.5 hour drive to Cortina, where we based for our 17 days in Dolo land.
Cortina
Cortina
Credit: BrassNuts

Summit of Torre Grande, Tofana di Roses behind
Summit of Torre Grande, Tofana di Roses behind
Credit: BrassNuts
After the usual long flight across the pond and an 8 hour layover in London, we eventually got to Venice very late at night, woke up early the next morning, drove to Cortina, checked in, grabbed our gear and with much jet lag on board went up to the very convenient Cinque Torre area our first afternoon.

Credit: BrassNuts
We had nice although cool and windy weather and were able to get in two 4 pitch routes on the Torre Grande, a fun 5.10a and an easy 5.6 romp. Very different rock, amazing views and twiddling around with various options for protection woke us up a bit!
Credit: BrassNuts
Credit: BrassNuts
We did a second day at Cinque Torre with more fun routes and cool/windy conditions and also checked out the open air WWI museum areas.
Credit: BrassNuts
Credit: BrassNuts

Sass Dahlcia sport routes
Sass Dahlcia sport routes
Credit: BrassNuts
The next day we headed over a couple of passes to the Sass Dahlcia formation for some sport wanking. Fun routes, good rock and great views as usual. The weather was a bit unstable as would be the theme for most of our trip, so it was a good low commitment destination.

The amazing Tre Cime
The amazing Tre Cime
Credit: BrassNuts
Our first rest day, we joined the hoards and hiked around the amazing Tre Cime area after waiting in line and paying our 30 Euro entry fee.
Credit: BrassNuts
Incredible formations to share with 300 of your closest friends, and this was the slow season!
Credit: BrassNuts
We had the Cime Grande on the list, but the weather was too cold and unstable for us, so unfortunately we were never able to check off that puppyÖ but the refugio food was excellent!

The 2000' wall of Pia Ciaveces
The 2000' wall of Pia Ciaveces
Credit: BrassNuts
Another day we opted for a 9 pitch 5.11 called Roberta 83 on Pia Ciaveces. This turned out to be a pretty good adventure for a sport climb as the bolts seem to space out more and more the higher you go (hint: take a thin rack).
On Roberta 83
On Roberta 83
Credit: BrassNuts
Nearing the top of Roberta 83
Nearing the top of Roberta 83
Credit: BrassNuts
That combined with sketchy weather made for a fine adventure! Very steep, continuous and exposed with the usual amazing views and motorcycles rat racing up the pass road below us.
At the top anchors on Roberta 83
At the top anchors on Roberta 83
Credit: BrassNuts

3 bottles for less than 5 Euros!
3 bottles for less than 5 Euros!
Credit: BrassNuts
Yes, red wine is good and cheap in the Dolos 😊

Via Merriam on Torre Grande
Via Merriam on Torre Grande
Credit: BrassNuts
Another twitchy weather day found us again at the Cinque Torre area for more convenient climbing, complete with the Italian army joining in the fun. It was kinda crazy with all the soldiers climbing, rappelling, yelling along with the multiple warship choppers all over the place. Only in Euro land!
Credit: BrassNuts

Tofana di Roses, SE arete is the obvious line on the right side
Tofana di Roses, SE arete is the obvious line on the right side
Credit: BrassNuts
The weather was looking better for another day, so we opted for the SE Arete of the Tofana di Roses (Primo Spigolo). This is a very cool 14 pitch 5.8 old school route with great position and exposure. Some of the pitches look like they are held together with caulk or something, but the terrain was surprisingly solid. Itís only about a 35 minute hike to the base, but the descent is fairly long and incredibly exposed in places!
Credit: BrassNuts
Credit: BrassNuts
Credit: BrassNuts
Looking back up at the descent from the Tofana
Looking back up at the descent from the Tofana
Credit: BrassNuts

On Ultima Thule, bike racers on the pass road below
On Ultima Thule, bike racers on the pass road below
Credit: BrassNuts
A partially stable weather day prompted us to choose a 7 pitch 11b sport route called Ultima Thule on the Sass De Stria formation. This was a fun route with modern bolting which wasnít a bad thing after some of the other protection scenarios we had experienced so far (it doesnít get any more old school than the old routes in the Dolomites!) During the climb, a huge citizens bike race went by below with thousands of riders as well as lots of accordion playing and wine drinking!

Credit: BrassNuts
We took a cable car up to the summit of the Laguozi for a rest day, wandered around through tunnels and clouds and enjoyed a summit refugio meal before a wicked storm moved in that afternoon.
Credit: BrassNuts
Just in case you forgot a camera for a selfie, push the button and pic...
Just in case you forgot a camera for a selfie, push the button and pick up your selfie on the web! Grazzi!
Credit: BrassNuts
Hiding out at the gift shop/cafe on Falzarego Pass during a storm.
Hiding out at the gift shop/cafe on Falzarego Pass during a storm.
Credit: BrassNuts

Laguozi Piccolo West Face
Laguozi Piccolo West Face
Credit: BrassNuts
Climbing on the Laguozi Picollo West Face the next day gave us our first experience with extensive threads for protection and a little higher than normal choss factor. Great views again, especially across to the war tunnels and parts of the summit via ferrata including a cool bridge.
Credit: BrassNuts
classic Dolo thread
classic Dolo thread
Credit: BrassNuts
Credit: BrassNuts
View from the large choss ledge system part way up, the Marmolada in t...
View from the large choss ledge system part way up, the Marmolada in the background.
Credit: BrassNuts

Credit: BrassNuts
Via en Codise on the Col D Bos near Falzarego Pass was a pretty cool 10 pitch 5.8 that was a good choice for an unstable day. It was a surprise to find about 500í of mandatory 5th class scrambling after the route proper was over to meet up with the via ferrata that leads to the exit ledges and trail. Lots of people on the via ferrata despite the sketchy weather.
Credit: BrassNuts
The old WWI hospital on the approach hike was interesting and sobering. So much history in this area!
Credit: BrassNuts

Punta Col de Varda, Comici NW corner
Punta Col de Varda, Comici NW corner
Credit: BrassNuts
We tried to climb at a new area almost every day out, so next we decided to do the Comici NW corner on the Punta Col de Varda near lake Misurina. A pleasant 10 minute lift ride saves 1500í of wear and tear on the knees and gives way to a quick 25 minute approach to the 7 pitch 5.7ish route. A classic direct line with variable climbing and interesting protection and route finding, classic Dolomites. Windy and cool but it didnít cut loose until after we enjoyed cake and coffee post climbing at the refugio 😊
Credit: BrassNuts
Credit: BrassNuts

Cima Piccola, Yellow Edge is the obvious right hand arete.
Cima Piccola, Yellow Edge is the obvious right hand arete.
Credit: BrassNuts
The coolest climb we did was up next, the Yellow Edge on the Cima Piccola in the Tre Cime area. This is an incredibly exposed 13 pitch 5.9+/5.10a. This is a popular route, so we opted for a second shift approach. After our usual coffee laden hotel breakfast we headed up to the formation where 2 parties were already on route, but after a short wait we got on the route and had a dose of history and exposure.
Credit: BrassNuts
Credit: BrassNuts
Credit: BrassNuts
Exposure for reals!
Exposure for reals!
Credit: BrassNuts
We were the last to summit that day with our late start and got a bit of a storm on the summit which thankfully quickly abated to intermittent drizzle as we did the 8 rappels and snow tongue descent, which of course leads to a dinner at the refugio shortly thereafter!
Credit: BrassNuts
Arriving at the summit of Cima Piccola
Arriving at the summit of Cima Piccola
Credit: BrassNuts
Credit: BrassNuts
Credit: BrassNuts

The first Sella tower
The first Sella tower
Credit: BrassNuts
Our last climbing day we did the historic (1920?) Trenker Crack on the first Sella Tower. A classic and polished 5 pitch 5.8 loaded with the usual soft iron pins and great views.
Credit: BrassNuts
Credit: BrassNuts
Credit: BrassNuts

Overall we climbed 13 of 17 days while in the area with 106 pitches of classic Dolomites climbing. Everything from well protected obvious climbing to where the hell am I and where is the frikkin gear type climbing. The area is spectacular, the food is great, the driving is somewhat maniacal. Make sure to put it on your list if you havenít already been!!!
An Alpine Chough, a frequent visitor in the Dolomites
An Alpine Chough, a frequent visitor in the Dolomites
Credit: BrassNuts
A beer in Venice to finish the trip!
A beer in Venice to finish the trip!
Credit: BrassNuts



  Trip Report Views: 996
BrassNuts
About the Author
BrassNuts is a trad climber from Save your a_s, reach for the brass....

Comments
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Comment on this Trip Report
T Hocking

Trad climber
Redding, Ca
  Oct 5, 2018 - 09:00pm PT
Way to git after it!
Looks like ya had an awesome trip.
Thanks for postin up,
Tad
Fat Dad

Trad climber
Los Angeles, CA
  Oct 5, 2018 - 10:34pm PT
I can tell from your ear to ear smiles in every photo what a lousy time you had. I and the wife hung out around Sella Pass on our honeymoon years ago and loved it. No climbing other than a via ferrata, but the wine, scenery and speck made up for it.
Contractor

Boulder climber
CA
  Oct 6, 2018 - 05:46am PT
Thanks of conveying the extra cool element of climbing in the midst of such rich human history. Well done on all accounts guys!
mouse from merced

Trad climber
The finger of fate, my friends, is fickle.
  Oct 6, 2018 - 06:03am PT
TRs seldom get better, Brassnuts. I used to dream of Yellow Walls and Yellow Edges when younger.

Sounds like it was a totally bitchen experience for you and I sit here slavering over your fine pix.
tradmanclimbs

Ice climber
Pomfert VT
  Oct 6, 2018 - 06:05am PT
WOW!
Marlow

Sport climber
OSLO
  Oct 6, 2018 - 06:16am PT

Brassexcellent. No need to go to the Dolomites, just read the TR...
phylp

Trad climber
Upland, CA
  Oct 6, 2018 - 06:39am PT
Did you find an English guidebook(s), or did you get all your info about the routes from the Internet? First time I went to the Dolomites in the early 90s, most of the info I could find was in Italian or German.
The mountain weather in general seemed particularly unstable this summer. We had 2 weeks planned in mid-July for the Eiger and Chamonix, and it poured almost every day. Fortunately, we were able to be flexible and had a great time in southern France.
Brandon-

climber
The Granite State.
  Oct 6, 2018 - 06:54am PT
That was an excellent TR. Iíve been fascinated by the Dolomites for as long as I can remember and have yet to visit. Thanks for the tour.
Charlie D.

Trad climber
Western Slope, Tahoe Sierra
  Oct 6, 2018 - 07:02am PT
Awesome Dave, thanks for the stoke.
Fritz

Social climber
Choss Creek, ID
  Oct 6, 2018 - 07:18am PT
Stout work, fine photos, & great commentary lad! It appears you had worse weather, but more of an adventure than we did on our "Dolomites-light" adventure Sept 6 - 14.

http://www.supertopo.com/tr/HOTEL-TO-HOTEL-HIKING-WITH-HEIDI-JERRY-ANGIE-IN-THE-DOLOMITES/t13352n.html

And thanks for identifying the Alpine Chough. We were befriended by 4 of them on the summit of the Plattkofel, 9,704', & quickly were trained to toss them crumbs, which they always caught.

Credit: Fritz
donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
  Oct 6, 2018 - 08:17am PT
Thank you for the incredible TR...great pictures!
neebee

Social climber
calif/texas
  Oct 6, 2018 - 10:00am PT
hey there, say, Brassnuts... wow, this is wonderful... super, wonderful!!

thanks so much for taking the time to share all this...

wonderful pics, wonderful stuff!!!


:)



edit:
yes, hope you can tell!!!

i LOVE LOVE LOVE, the dolomites!



edit:
wow, thanks for teaching me (us) about this neat bird:

"Alpine Chough"

going to go read about it now... :)
frostback

Social climber
great white north
  Oct 6, 2018 - 11:27am PT
Great report -your pics hiking down the toffana brought back memories doing the same, we stopped to take some sun in with our nap being interrupted by the clacking of germans and their trekking poles, My Tyrolean friend looked at me and said "jah, I rather they march with poles than rifles"
Rick A

climber
Boulder, Colorado
  Oct 6, 2018 - 11:55am PT
Now that's la dolce vita!

Great photography as usual and looks like tons accomplished despite the weather.

You two are a super-strong team; I imagine you passed a lot of parties.

SteveW

Trad climber
The state of confusion
  Oct 6, 2018 - 11:56am PT
As good as the slide show, but where's my food????
Kalimon

Social climber
Ridgway, CO
  Oct 6, 2018 - 03:28pm PT
Sooperb!

Thanks for the great information and positive vibes.
BrassNuts

Trad climber
Save your a_s, reach for the brass...
Author's Reply  Oct 6, 2018 - 07:04pm PT
Glad some of the gang enjoy the pics etc., it is a spectacular place, kind of like a limestone Yosemite over every pass :-) I hope to get back again and focus on some cycling, photography and via ferrata in addition to the climbing.

Phyl - we used the British Rockfax guide almost exclusively as it was easy to understand despite it's frequent errors...

Amazing view towards Sella Pass from the top of the Marmolada.  Althou...
Amazing view towards Sella Pass from the top of the Marmolada. Although we didn't/couldn't climb the Marmolada, a spectacular 3 section lift goes to the summit for incredible vistas!
Credit: BrassNuts
steelmnkey

climber
Vision man...ya gotta have vision...
  Oct 8, 2018 - 07:32am PT
Bump for some nice TR!!!
ddriver

Trad climber
SLC, UT
  Oct 8, 2018 - 09:23am PT
Thanks for the stoke. Spigolo Giallo is high on the list.
clode

Trad climber
portland, or
  Oct 8, 2018 - 12:36pm PT
Ah yes, the Mighty Dolo-Mighty! Great TR! TFPU!
moacman

Trad climber
Montuckyian Via Canada Eh!
  Oct 8, 2018 - 03:55pm PT
Very nice..Thanks for sharing..............

Stevo
norm larson

climber
wilson, wyoming
  Oct 8, 2018 - 04:08pm PT
I've always thought it all looked like choss over there but your T.R. makes me want to go. I've never heard anybody say that they wasted their tome going to the Dolomites. I need to go. Thanks for the stoke!
Jan

Mountain climber
Colorado & Nepal
  Oct 8, 2018 - 04:51pm PT
Great trip report. The Italian Tourist office should hire you. Thanks!
mike m

Trad climber
black hills
  Oct 8, 2018 - 07:44pm PT
Wow great write up Dave.
Tom Patterson

Trad climber
Seattle
  Oct 8, 2018 - 09:07pm PT
Really fantastic TR, Brassnuts! Thanks for bringing us along!
go1dens4

Trad climber
Melbourne, FL
  Oct 9, 2018 - 06:49am PT
Been to that area before but have not climbed there yet, thanks for the TR looks like some great stuff out there!
ddriver

Trad climber
SLC, UT
  Oct 9, 2018 - 06:54am PT
Did you find an English guidebook(s), or did you get all your info about the routes from the Internet? First time I went to the Dolomites in the early 90s, most of the info I could find was in Italian or German.

There are British guides from that era. James covers most of the range. Churcher did a translation of a Dinoia Casari select guide and more recently Kohler and Memmel did a very nice select guide in English.
Dingus Milktoast

Trad climber
Minister of Moderation, Fatcrackistan
  Oct 9, 2018 - 07:11am PT
Cheers!

DMT
John Duffield

Mountain climber
New York
  Oct 9, 2018 - 07:29am PT
wow, that is nice

Love Italy. Funny thing, I found skiing there overall cost-wise on a par with Vermont. Lift tickets are substantially lower and the savings cut into the airfare overhead. Booked for Cortina.
Brokedownclimber

Trad climber
Douglas, WY
  Oct 9, 2018 - 08:44am PT
Nice TR Dave! Why not add a few more photos?
Rick A

climber
Boulder, Colorado
  Oct 11, 2018 - 02:37pm PT
Spigolo Giallo
Spigolo Giallo
Credit: Rick A

When I was last in the Dolomites, in 1976 with Mike Graham, we hitchhiked separately from Chamonix (Mike had met a beautiful blond, Wendy--as it turned out his future wife--so I was the proverbial third wheel).

Mike got to the Lavarado hut a day earlier than me, so he found an Italian partner for the Yellow Edge. I got there just after they got down and missed getting to do it.

The photo is by Mike of his Italian partner. Note the mountaineering boots, which actually were not much of a disadvantage on the steep incuts of the Dollies.

If the creek don't rise, I hope to still get it done.

Thanks for the motivation, Dave! Again, those are some outstanding photos.



divad

Trad climber
wmass
  Oct 11, 2018 - 02:58pm PT
Thanks, brings back some great memories.
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
  Oct 11, 2018 - 04:10pm PT
In the aging climber sweepstakes, Dave & Steve are what I call survivors. Woot!

I've been up the Yellow Edge/Spigolo Giallo.
To Germans, that is the Kleine Zinne.

Yellow Edge, Cima Piccola, Dolomites.
Yellow Edge, Cima Piccola, Dolomites.
Credit: Tarbuster

Yellow Edge, approaching the crux.
Yellow Edge, approaching the crux.
Credit: Tarbuster

Yellow Edge, crux section.
Yellow Edge, crux section.
Credit: Tarbuster

Yellow Edge, lead climber negotiating the crux.
Yellow Edge, lead climber negotiating the crux.
Credit: Paulcke & Dumler's "Hazards in Mountaineering"

 I think the idea of expanding the next trip to include some cycling is an excellent idea.

...............................................

http://www.supertopo.com/climbers-forum/254274/Spiffy-Dolomite-Vacation-Thread
Mungeclimber

Trad climber
Nothing creative to say
  Oct 11, 2018 - 04:18pm PT
As I mentioned before, really enjoyable.

Elbsandstein and Dolomites are really the only European spots I feel like I should visit.

Did I ask you where you guys stayed?
BrassNuts

Trad climber
Save your a_s, reach for the brass...
Author's Reply  Oct 11, 2018 - 04:57pm PT
Hey Rick, thanks for the great old time pic and Roy, for the almost as old time pics :-) Great exposure on that crux pitch!

We stayed at the Hotel Olimpia in downtown Cortina the whole time. Great central location and the hotel/service was very good but parking is a pain and it's pretty noisy in that zone in the evenings. If I go again, I will stay in a quieter area of which there are a few down by the river in town for example.

If you're not willing to eat ham and cheese sandwiches in the Dolomite...
If you're not willing to eat ham and cheese sandwiches in the Dolomites, you will likely starve ;-)
Credit: BrassNuts
Ouch.  What can you say ;-)
Ouch. What can you say ;-)
Credit: BrassNuts
dgbryan

Mountain climber
Hong Kong
  Oct 11, 2018 - 05:43pm PT
Stay up in Pocol .... 5kms from Cortina, minus "the bells, the bells ..."
DanaB

climber
CO
  Oct 11, 2018 - 06:22pm PT
You mentioned interesting protection scenarios, and I agree. I went there once, we did approximately 100 pitches of the older routes, e.g., the Comici on the Cima Grande, the Cassin on the Cima Ovest, the Vinatzer route on the Marmolda, and we placed 3, perhaps 4 pieces of gear. That compact limestone - no places that we saw for nuts or cams. In addition, the attitude, judging by the amount of fixed pitons, is that if you lead grade X you won't mind soloing two grades below that.
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
  Oct 11, 2018 - 07:18pm PT
Wow, you really checked off the bucket list, Dana!
Would love to see some photos if you have any?
Smokey

Trad climber
Colorado
  Oct 12, 2018 - 12:25pm PT
Great TR!

Trenker was 1913....!
DanaB

climber
CO
  Oct 12, 2018 - 01:48pm PT
Wow, you really checked off the bucket list, Dana!
Would love to see some photos if you have any?


Sorry, a few snapshots is all I have. Perhaps I can get someone to scan them.
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