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The Climbing Club • View topic - Climbing in the Dolomites, July 15-22

The Climbing Club

at the University of Washington
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 03, 2005 9:34 am 
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During my vacation at home in Slovenia, I took a little trip to the italian Dolomites with some people from my local mountaineering club. Our base camp was the lovely town of Cortina located in a gorgeous valley surrounded by some awesome-looking mountains. My climbing resume up to this point had included mostly sport climbing, sprinkled with a few long alpine routes that I had almost exclusively climbed as a second. So, going on this trip, I thought I would perhaps do a long route or two with someone who was willing to lead, while getting back in my sport climbing shape in the many crags around Cortina. However, a few days before we took off, my friend Uros (who up until then also didn't have much trad/alpine leading experience) pointed out that we both had all the requisite knowledge, we both had technical climbing skills which far surpassed the difficulty of most of the classic alpine climbs in the guidebooks, why not try and climb some of them on our own? So, on the first day, we set out for the Cinque Torri (the five towers), which is more or less a multi-pitch trad crag. They look pretty awesome - a couple of free-standing towers on a mountain plateau... We settled on doing the classic Via Miriam as our first climb, clipped the friends and nuts next to the quickdraws on our harnesses and went for it. The route follows the easiest passages up the steep tower, traversing under some imposing roofs. We had absolutely no problems on the route, which of course boosted our confidence. That evening, we ditched the crag guidebooks and stopped checking out the five-star 5.12s we wanted to project for the week, but instead started eyeing long easy routes.

In the next five days, we climbed a total of 8 routes or so, none of them harder than V+ (5.8?) so they were perfect for learning route-finding, how to place pro etc. The Dolomites are awesome for this sort of thing, because alpinism is a major part of their tourist offering. Many of the classic routes have well-protected crux pitches (usually pitons, sometimes bolts), and all of the routes that we climbed had belay anchors. One or two of the routes actually had markings on the rock to show you where to go - I thought this was a bit excessive and it took me a while to get over it, but the climbing was fun nonetheless. If you go there (which I highly recommend that you do) bring lots of slings - in many places water has eroded the dolomite to create tons of small natural bridges/handles (what the hell is the proper term in english, I have no idea... germans call them "Sand Uhr" or sand-clock) that you can run a sling around. Many pitches offer no other protection. Other than slings, we usually had with us three medium sized friends, a set of nuts, and a couple of draws. We didn't really feel like we needed anything else for the routes that we climbed, although a couple more friends would have been welcome.

Check out some pictures at http://www.astro.washington.edu/roskar/ ... omiti.html

We're definitely going back next summer, probably for at least two weeks. We've got a couple of routes already planned, including one or two on the Tre Cine, which we didn't have time to do this year. This was an incredible trip - I started feeling very confident in my abilities as a leader, something which definitely expanded my horizons as a climber. I've already started figuring out ways of saving up some $$$ for some gear of my own, so that I can start climbing some of the routes around the NW!


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 03, 2005 10:01 am 
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Beautiful Photos. Thanks! (what kind of camera are those taken with?)


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 03, 2005 10:10 am 
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Awesome, man! Way to go out and do it.

"Sanduhr" means hourglass. Were there a lot of pockets or huecos in the rock, too?


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 03, 2005 10:29 am 
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Were you at nevermind last night? Looked like the same guy as the pictures. The Dolomites look incredible, I would love to go sometime.


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 03, 2005 10:58 am 
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Yeah I was at nevermind! Which one were you?

My camera is a Nikon 5900 - I'm really happy with it thus far (small and compact but large enough so that I don't feel like I'll drop it every time I use it), and didn't have to do too much to any of the pictures, but the switch from a proper SLR to a point-and-shoot digital has been harder for me than I anticipated... why the hell can't they have manual controls on these little cameras??? Pisses me off.

Ralph - yeah, there were pockets in places, but some property of dolomite which I can't remember right now makes it so that it doesn't erode like regular limestone. Somehow you get these hourglass things, but otherwise it's a lot of edges. The particular type of rock changed a lot from area to area, even though they were all very nearby - the rock at the cinque torri was completely different than the rock in 'Ada', even though it was just across the valley.


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 03, 2005 11:06 am 
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My partner (older strong guy) asked to borrow your book while you guys were checking out the 10C to the left of us. We were only there for an hour or so after climbing a few routes on deception.


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 03, 2005 12:35 pm 
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 03, 2005 1:03 pm 
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