Dolomites – June 2012

Last weekend we had a a fairly productive weekend on the Dolomites with Teppo.

Our plane arrived in Milano at 7 pm on Friday evening. The weather forecast was crappy everywhere else but the Dolomites looked very promising. The week before there had been bad weather also in the Dolomites but now for this weekend the temperatures were rising and the isotherme was supposed to be at 4000m. It was time for our second go on Marmolada!

Marmolada: Don Quixote (6, 800m) – June 16th, 2012

The settings were quite much like last October but now we knew the right strategy. This time we had small packs, light weight running shoes (mine were 212 grams per shoe), no crampons and no bivy gear.

After this trip I can tell the light is right strategy works very well. The cragging attitude definitely had it’s benefits during the approach and on the steeper pitches.

Despite the gear I felt slightly tired the day after our ascent, though. I recon it was more the hiking than the climbing. Climbing 650 vertical meters is not that bad but hiking 800 meters up, climbing 650 meters and hiking 1500 meters down is what trashed me. After all I’m a guy who makes phone calls and types keyboad nine to five in the office for his living. And Finland is really not one the best places to train for this sorts of thing.

For anyone else planning on the Marmolada I can tell later in the season it’s possible to avoid the long walk outs by making use of the Rifugio Fariel and the Malga Ciapela cable car. But being early had it’s benefits also – we were the only climbers on all of Marmolada!

The good thing about getting knackered is having the rest day. Being totally out of condition, we had plenty of time to sleep and drive around in the Dolomites. It’s one of the best places on earth to drive around since the scenery is pretty and the roads are curvy. Eventually we also came up with plan B and parked our car near the Tre Cime di Lavadero.

Cima Piccolissima: Via Cassin (7-, 350m) – June 18th, 2012

I’ve been looking up the north face of Cima Grande for some years now. Last autumn it was me who had the second thoughts and now Teppo wanted to relax his nerves. He said he had enough of exposure on the Marmolada which I can completely understand.

Browsing through the Tre Cime guide book Teppo found a perfect alternative for us, though. The book said Via Cassin on Cima Piccolissima was supposed to be a perfect introduction to the steep climbing of the north faces. It had three steep pitches in the start and some slabby pitches on the top which is more or less any of the north faces in miniature size.

All in all the route went with no problems for us. The day was sunny and we enjoyed the climbing quite a bit. Never in my life I’ve climbed anything so steep but so easy and with so variable gear before. The good thing about the old gear was that there was plenty of it.

Mandrea: Ego Trip  (6b+, 300m) – June 19th, 2012

A stop in Arco is a part of any Dolomites trip. It’s the half way stop to the Milano airports and there’s plenty of good climbing around.

The shops are nice, the ice scream is good and the pizza guy makes super good pizza. The only bad thing is that the temperatures can be quite high in summer. But you can get around this by waking up early and taking the afternoon swim in the Garda lake after you’ve done the days climbing before noon.

We topped our route at 11 am which was still ok. The last two pitches were hot but anything before was super nice. Steep pocketed climbing and not polished at all.

Quick swim in the Garda Lake on the way to the airport crowned the trip!

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