The first week was just Ally Fulton and I. The plan was to climb hard this week then have a slightly more chilled out week the following week, but forecasts for afternoon thunderstorms deterred us from doing too many big routes. In the end, the whole week felt surprisingly relaxed despite getting a fair amount done.
The first route was the Steger Route on the Catanaccio. This takes the strikingly obvious big cracks visible from the valley. Definitely a three-star line, although maybe not quite the same rock quality or interesting climbing as we got from some later routes.
|Looking up at the Catenaccio. The Steger takes the obvious cracks leading to the highest point on the wall|
|Ally loving the chimneys!|
|Nice exposure on the upper section|
The next couple of routes we did were shorter so avoid thunderstorm risk - the Messner on the Second Sella Tower and Via Irma on Piz Ciavezes. Both were really good routes, short by Dolomites standards but longer than most Scottish routes! The Messner felt pretty bold in places and route-finding wasn't obvious, so it would probably warrant E2 5b back home, whereas Via Irma was technically harder but the difficulties were short & well-protected, maybe E2 5c (or maybe even stiff E1) overall.
|Wondering if I was still on route on the Messner|
|Ally pulling through the roof on Via Irma|
Next, we headed to the Tofana di Rozes, intending to try the Pilastro. Unfortunately though, the weather was still a bit unsettled so we opted for the easier line to the left, starting in glorious sunshine but, in true Scottish style, finishing in the clag.
The second week was more sociable. I did two routes with my wife, Elizabeth. The Hexenstein seems to be one of the most popular Dolomites routes, being relatively easy, non-serious and high-quality. The next day, along with 2 friends, we did the Delaggo on the Cima Casson di Formin, which was less well known and a little more serious but still very good.
|Elizabeth enjoying the Hexenstein|
|The view from just above the hut on the approach to the Marmolada|
|Ally starting across the easy traverse pitch (P10 or thereabouts)|
|Tricky route-finding on the Messner finish|
|Glad to be topping out, even if we had missed the cable car|
|Descending towards the Fedaia pass|
All in all, a great trip and a part of the world that I'll be keen to visit again.