/ Dolomites VF and Climbing

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Gwilymstarks on 06 May 2013
A mate and I are off to the Dolomites in Aug for some VF & easy rock routes. This is doubling up as a holiday so we would like to have reasonable starts and be done by about 3 - 4pm each day so we can chill out in teh evening

That is as far as I have got with plans so any ideas on:

Where to base ourselves - we will be in my van
Recomended routes
Guide Books
Any thing else you want to tell me to help me plan.

jubolo - on 06 May 2013
In reply to Gwilymstarks: I'll chuck Arco into the hat.
kenr - on 06 May 2013
If you can read a little guidebook German, the most modern and helpful is by AlpinVerlag.at - much of the key info is symbolic / numerical form which can be understood without knowing German.
For those limited to English-language the Fletcher and Smith guidebooks are very helpful, and organized for those relying on public transportation.

VF combing with easy climbing? Many of the VF routes in the Dolomites _are_ interesting climbing routes -- if you don't use the steel cable for aid -- and just make all or most of your moves with hands and feet directly on the rock instead of grabbing the cable for aid. Beware that the placement and anchoring of the steel cables on most VF routes is mainly designes for aid rather than protection -- so actually taking a fall while using a normal Via Ferrata kit attached to the cable is very bad idea likely to result in injury or worse.
(the "protection" ratings and comments in both the English and German guidebooks are fairly oblivious about this -- so just assume when they say "well-protected" they mean well-Aided).

A way around this is to purchase and use the Skylotec Skyrider VF kit, which normally limits the distance of the fall, uses the VF steel cable more like the protection of rope-belayed climbing.

When you read recommendations for which routes, try to find out if they are for climbing the route the "normal" way using the cable for Aid, or the "free" way with hands and feet directly on rock. I would assume that if the recommendation does not explicitly mention the difference, then it's about the Aid method.

kenr - on 06 May 2013
If the weather turns bad in the Dolomites, sometimes it's dryer on the north side of the mountains. Since you have your own van, you can drive over the Brenner pass to Austria.

Austria is the leading edge of new Via Ferrata routes (with a separate AlpenVerlag.at guidebook). If you want the best VF climbing more than WWI history lessons, getting diverted to Austria is a happy accident. The Dolomites have gotten complacent, just living on their reputation among English-speaking tourists. The German-speaking regions know they need to prove themselves to VF climbers, so they've moved ahead.

AlanLittle - on 07 May 2013
In reply to Gwilymstarks:
> easy rock routes.

Hard to be helpful here without some indication of what you regard as "easy"

Jamie B - on 07 May 2013
In reply to Gwilymstarks:

Hi Gwilym, been a couple of times. I'll email you at greater length when I get a chance!
Gwilymstarks on 07 May 2013
In reply to kenr:

Cheers. Useful stuff
Gwilymstarks on 07 May 2013
In reply to AlanLittle:

... up to 6a / VS. Trad with bolted belays fine. We are more about getting some long routes in rather than anything to technical. I intend to be in comfy boots not performance shoes.

A route up with a via ferrata descent would be nice.

Adventurous is preferred over pure climbing. No issue with a bit of aid either.

Gwilymstarks on 07 May 2013
In reply to Jamie B:

Cheers Jamie
henwardian - on 07 May 2013
In reply to Gwilymstarks: I wouldn't "base" yourself anywhere in a van. Just park up on a pull-off or track that leads into the forrest (be sure not to block any access) wherever you happen to be each night after climbing. It's free and you don't have the noise of everyone else in a campsite. Technically it is probably illegal but the Italians as a rule really only have a very vague and ill defined relationship with the law. I've camped there in a tent a lot and so long as you are not taking the piss, nobody seems to notice or care.

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