Aug 10 09
After Switzerland we headed to the Dolomites for two weeks. We weren’t quite as lucky with the weather there, the first week was hot with lots of afternoon thunderstorms and the second week was really cold, but it was still good, and we still climbed quite a few (albeit shorter) routes.
Our first climb was the North West Corner or Comici Route on Punta Col Del Varda. It was an 8 pitch chimney climb. The guidebook advises that
…the rock is rich in coralline fossils but one should not go hunting for them in the depths of the chimney system. The best way to keep your boots dry and avoid \’offwidth rash\’ is to refrain from crawling into the back and climbing by elegant bridging.
I’m sure that I managed some elegant bridging but I do also remember finding myself wedged into the back of the chimney struggling to free myself and my rucksack at one point- great entertainment.
On another day we planned to climb a 7 pitch route on Averau but fortunately (as it turned out) for us, my boyfriend’s dad picked up my helmet by mistake so by the time we’d managed to retrieve it, we opted for a much shorter climb on the Cinque Torre- the Via Miriam on the South Summit of Torre Grande. This very popular climb was very polished but I enjoyed the first two pitches. I was just sitting on belay on the third pitch looking at the sky thinking that it was getting dark and I thought perhaps that thunder might be on it’s way in an hour or two. Five minutes later we heard the first crash of thunder in the distance. But luckily with some speed climbing we managed to finish the climb before the heavens opened and only had to ab down in the rain.
We climbed the South West Face of Mount Averau with a slightly earlier start the next day. It was a lovely steep juggy route, with fantastic views of the Dolomites from the top.
In the last week some of our friends and more of Stuart’s family joined us so I did some nice short climbs on the Falzarego and Sella Towers, and some Via Ferrata.
I also climbed the Mariakante on Piz Pordoi for the third time with Stuart’s 16 year old cousin and his mum, along with two friends of mine who were new to Dolomites and alpine climbing. This fabulous route climbs up underneath the cable car and finishes in the cable car station on the top – which is very convenient for descent.
So we set off pretty early to climb the route, when we first arrived the rock was freezing cold, and my friends were getting used to it so we took a while to climb it. The seventh pitch is a fine exposed traverse out of a notch and it lies directly under the cable car, so lots of people were flashing their camera’s at us!
In the end we cut it very fine only just making the last cable car by 5 mins! But I think everybody really enjoyed it, and were very happy to have ticked the route!
Overall a great trip, but I was definately ready for my own bed and some time to chill after 3 weeks climbing.
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