/ First time in Dolomites

This topic has been archived, and won't accept reply postings.
leon on 22 Apr 2012
Where would people recommend as a good first place to visit in the Dolomites? Want to do mainly stuff @ VS & below. Somewhere with a decent bar and somewhere to eat if possible as it is a holiday after all...

Options for going are end of may, start of june & start of august. Any ideas of the best time to go?
Richc on 22 Apr 2012
In reply to leon: corvara is a great base, camping at colfosco, lots of climbing/vf and mountain walking within reach, have fun!
Phill Mitch - on 22 Apr 2012
In reply to leon: I would say the weather will have a chance of being better in August, the down side is that it will be more busy.
There is loads to do around the Sella area so I would recomend you start there.
It's worth saying, to take a helmet as there is some loose rock so beware.
The Via feratta are very good in that area too, so I would recomend you have a look at picking one of those for a change too.
I can highly recomend an ascent of the funffingerspitzen traverse at about S4a, if you can start early to avoid the queue.
So many places though I am sure you can't fail.
Have fun.
victorclimber - on 22 Apr 2012
In reply to leon: most folk on here would go for Sella ,but drive a bit further to the Palla Group ,get up to the Pradadali hut and enjoy ..
LJC - on 22 Apr 2012
In reply to leon: We went August last year and managed to sort our rest days for when it rained. I agree with all the points above, Camping Colfosco is a good base, loads to do around the Sella pass. You can walk from the campsite to Corvara in no time, and there is a good Spa 15min out of town for shopping.

Be aware that you might be picking routes which are easy for single pitch, but 10+ pitches of it is quite tiring, be sure you treat them like mountain routes and not British cragging! If you are after something akin to a British roadside crag to try cranking harder on, Cinque Torre is a good bet. You can drive right up to the rock, but they close a gate a certain times of the day so that they can milk tourists with 'off road' taxi services to the top!
Phill Mitch - on 22 Apr 2012
In reply to LJC:
> (In reply to leon)
>
> Be aware that you might be picking routes which are easy for single pitch, but 10+ pitches of it is quite tiring, be sure you treat them like mountain routes and not British cragging!
Good point. We did a 14 pitch VS, I was totaled for 2 days and I was climbing E2 at home. You need to start early and climb fast to avoid afternoon storms. It's a good idea to be plenty fit.

leon on 22 Apr 2012
In reply to leon:
What do you guys think about the Fanes area? I was considering it because it is reasonably close to the Cima Grande, which is somewhere I would like to climb on a subsequent trip.

Which airport do you recommend I fly into?

Also do you climb on a single rather than doubles for speed?

Gear wise would you take a normal rack for limestone?

Finally, I take it I need a rucksack (mine are all 35l) to carry shoes, water, food & something warm for the walk down?

Thanks for the advice
Chris the Tall - on 22 Apr 2012
In reply to leon:
Have you read my article http://www.ukclimbing.com/articles/page.php?id=86 ?

More importantly have you read the articles by James Rushforth, who actually knows what he's talking about

http://www.ukclimbing.com/articles/page.php?id=2708.

Corvara, cortina and arraba are all good bases. Cinque torri is a good place to start. Don't be too ambitious on your first couple of routes, it's a foreign country, things are different there!

And my one big tip - have a good look at the route on the walk in. Work out where it starts and where it goes. By the time you get to the bottom of the crag it may be too late. But only a complete muppet will manage to go off route for 8 pitches out of 12!!
JLS on 22 Apr 2012
In reply to leon:

I normally end up going into Venice airport but if you find flights to Innsbruck that would be better.

I generally use my half ropes as twins ie both ropes clipped into the same runner. This works well if you extend the runners. Typically I have 6 or 7 of my draws set-up with 60cm slings.

The rack doesn't need to be special or large - there are a lot of pegs to be clipped.

Depends what you're doing but you shouldn't need to be carrying very much in the sac - we usually manage with one between two or two very small packs for water and a water proof.
ripper - on 22 Apr 2012
In reply to leon: I'd definitely go four double ropes, for the added abseil length. Might be worth thinking about Canazei or Campitello in the the Val di Fassa - very handy for all the routes in the Sella and Pordoi area, and equally close to the Rosengarten/Catinaccio, which has some great routes in your category. Both towns have supermarkets, shops, takeaways, bars, etc
LJC - on 23 Apr 2012
In reply to leon: Can't comment on Fanes in particular, but mostly eveywhere is close enough to drive if you want to check an area out or just go for one climb.

We used doubles as many routes have ab descents. Some routes have downclimb/walking descents with only a few short raps. We didn't find any with more than 30m ones (ie a 60m half, doubled over).

Rack wise, just a slimmed down normal rack. If the climbing gets hard for the given grade, there will be lots of pegs or other fixed gear to clip. But it's not sport climbing, and where the climbing is considered easy for the grade, there will be no gear. A lot of belays have some fixed gear, as do the ab points. It's worth taking some tat if you know you will be abbing a less popular route as there is some nasty stuff up there!

A 35l pack will be fine. I used a 22l one, carrying a light windshirt and fleece, a hat, 1l of water, some food and my shoes on route.
GrahamD - on 23 Apr 2012
In reply to leon:

If you have a car, Cannazei or Campitello below Sella is a good base.
leon on 25 Apr 2012
In reply to leon:
Thanks for all the advice everyone.
BruceM - on 26 Apr 2012
In reply to leon:
When you get there buy this book:

http://www.libridimontagna.net/Arrampicare-in-Val-Gardena-e-dintorni

and/or the one beneath on Cortina (depending on where you end up). They're full of amazing climbs at the low-mid grades and the topos are invaluable.

These books are 10,000 times better than any others for lower grade climbers. And they will inspire you to return over and over (and in our case over!) again to do more.

The best place! Pity car hire has got so expensive.
Fiona Reid - on 26 Apr 2012
In reply to BruceM:

Agreed re. the quality of the these guidebooks, they are very nice and streets ahead of the Classic Dolomites Climbs book in terms of the topos/accuracy etc. There is however another option now depending on which areas/routes you plan to do.

There are two new books in English which were printed last year and available via Cordee plus various UK climbing shops, e.g.
http://www.cordee.co.uk/book-list.php?search=mid+grade+trad+rock+western+dolomites&schcat=0&...

These were originally available in Italian/German but English versions were published last year. I took a look at them at a shop in Canazei last month and thought they look pretty good. The list of routes covered by each can be found on the publishers website:

http://www.ideamontagna.it/public/pdf-libri/IV-grado-dolomiti-occidentali-1_eng.pdf
http://www.ideamontagna.it/public/pdf-libri/IV-grado-dolomiti-occidentali-2_eng.pdf

The list of updates/corrections plus a fair number of photo topos can be found on the authors website (in Italian). If you click on one of the books on the left hand side followed by the "Indice Relazioni" tab you'll get a table listing all the routes in that book with photo topos, see:
http://www.quartogrado.com/

Cheers,
Fiona
BruceM - on 26 Apr 2012
In reply to Fiona Reid:
Wow. Those new english guides look really good. Would eliminate any confusion about the descents, which perhaps is the only possible problem with the "great" Italian books (going up is always well described and pictured, but sometimes the Italian descriptions of the descents require careful intrepretation).

Thanks for the links.
Erstwhile on 26 Apr 2012
In reply to BruceM:

While the Bernardi Mauro Italian guides are good, they are also well known for under-grading and "underestimating" overall difficulties.

The new English translations mentioned above are of the original "IV Grado" Italian series that was enormously popular here, largely because they are written for "normal" climbers by normal climbers (not by grade IX super-heroes).
I also note in passing that the translations were by real mother tongue climbers who know the area well, rather than house translators. The volumes also include quite a lot of biographical info about the first ascentionists, which helps while away down-time in your tent.
ripper - on 26 Apr 2012
In reply to Erstwhile: not sure if i'm being thick here - but I don't understand the difference between vol 1 & 2.
Also for a week based in Canazei, in which I plan to climb mostly in the Sella, Pordoi, Val Gardena and Rosengarten/Catinaccio, they don't seem to offer that many routes. Really worth having, on top of Kohler/Memmel's Classic Dolomite Climbs, do you think?

beardy mike - on 26 Apr 2012
In reply to ripper: Kohler/memmel is a total bunch of arse. There are so many errors in it I don't understand how it's still selling well. Just not worth using other than to identify routes you want to do. If you can't rely on a guide what's the point of having it in the first place? The Bernardi guides are good, but expensive, but at least they are comprehensive. So sometimes you need to take the grades with a pinch of salt, but atleast the topos are accurate and well described in terms of strategy for the climb.
Erstwhile on 26 Apr 2012
In reply to ripper:
> (In reply to Erstwhile) not sure if i'm being thick here - but I don't understand the difference between vol 1 & 2.
> Also for a week based in Canazei, in which I plan to climb mostly in the Sella, Pordoi, Val Gardena and Rosengarten/Catinaccio, they don't seem to offer that many routes. Really worth having, on top of Kohler/Memmel's Classic Dolomite Climbs, do you think?

The difference between Vol 1 and Vol 2 is a bit of an oddity because there is none ... i.e. they both cover exactly the same area. The explanation is that the original (effectively Vol 1) was enormously popular in Italian. So they published Vol 2 providing "more of the same" - effectively an extension to Vol 1.

Altogether 33 routes for your areas (24 + 19).
Whether they are worth having ... that obviously depends.
ads.ukclimbing.com
ripper - on 26 Apr 2012
In reply to Erstwhile: hmm - still not clear!
I managed a week following Kohler/Memmel without any major problems, my first time in the area. just wondering whether to invest in another book to cross-ref, see alternative lines etc for second trip this June. Or I might just the the Ron James East & West which I see is available for a tenner
beardy mike - on 26 Apr 2012
In reply to ripper: The Ron James is much more comprehensive in its coverage, as are the descriptions. But they haven't broken from AC convention and provided decent colour photo's or topo's, which IMO is a weakness. It does however give more information than most in terms of the actual climbing. As always no one guide is sufficient I find, and you end up getting several and interpolating between them and taking the one you think most relevant.
Erstwhile on 26 Apr 2012
In reply to ripper:
> (In reply to Erstwhile) hmm - still not clear!
> I managed a week following Kohler/Memmel without any major problems, my first time in the area. just wondering whether to invest in another book to cross-ref, see alternative lines etc for second trip this June. Or I might just the the Ron James East & West which I see is available for a tenner

I abandoned trying to use the Ron James guide years ago - just didn't work for me. This new offering is more in the modern idiom but with long detailed descriptions of ascent AND descent. It also breaks out of the terrible Dolomites "classics" thing (which results in everyone doing the same, often not so great, polished routes) with a mixture of some old favourites but plenty of outstanding new routes, some "book" published for the first time.
GrahamD - on 26 Apr 2012
In reply to ripper:

I used the Kohler guide exclusively when I was based in Canazei/Campitelo for a fortnight and found it excellent in all respects.

The only additional guide I got was a local cragging guide for short days / evenings.
ripper - on 26 Apr 2012
In reply to mike kann:
As always no one guide is sufficient I find, and you end up getting several.

that's esactly they problem! I could end up spending as much on guidebooks as on the flight to get out there...
Erstwhile on 26 Apr 2012
In reply to ripper:
> (In reply to mike kann)
>
> I could end up spending as much on guidebooks as on the flight to get out there...

But you can keep the guides for next time, or sell them second hand.
davidbeynon - on 26 Apr 2012
In reply to mike kann:
> "There are so many errors in it I don't understand how it's still selling well."

Good coffee table size and pretty pictures. It did me ok back in 2003, but I know a couple of people who had an epic one one* of the easy routes when they got most of the way up and found that the top pitch had fallen off.

Even if it had been 100% spot on when published I would want something newer.

*can't remember which.
ripper - on 26 Apr 2012
In reply to Erstwhile: true - and I do spend HOURS reading them...
beardy mike - on 26 Apr 2012
In reply to ripper: Well exactly - look on it as an investment...
ripper - on 26 Apr 2012
In reply to mike kann: I'll refer my bank manager to you :)
GrahamD - on 26 Apr 2012
In reply to mike kann:
> (In reply to ripper) Kohler/memmel is a total bunch of arse.

To you maybe, but for me it contributed to a brilliant fortnight out there. I'm not sure which routes you did but we found it clear and accurate for everything we did with good diagrams, photos and realistic times. I guess I'm not alone if it continues to sell.
ripper - on 26 Apr 2012
In reply to GrahamD:
> (In reply to mike kann)
> [...]
>
> To you maybe, but for me it contributed to a brilliant fortnight out there. I'm not sure which routes you did but we found it clear and accurate.

Worked ok for me too - but then I have nothing to compare it to. Given the length of the routes its not fair to compare the topo or photo with the amount of detail that can be shown in a photo of a 10 or 20m route in the UK, and I've never used any other books for stuff of comparable size.
beardy mike - on 27 Apr 2012
In reply to ripper: It is fair to compare it to other topo's of the same route though isn't it. I've been caught out a number of times using the K/M which showed the route going a different way to the way in which people actually go, and also differences between the photo, and the topo, and other times it just being plainly wrong. When I got the Bernardi guide I then compared the routes I'd done and realised where we'd gone wrong! If you didn't have a problem then lucky you but all I'm saying is there are better products out there, which are more comprehensive in every way and which will allow you to avoid the honeypot routes and get you on some of the less travelled routes which are equally stunning.
ripper - on 27 Apr 2012
In reply to mike kann: not disagreeing with you Mike, just saying I personally haven't seen enough other stuff on the same routes/area to compare with. You point is interesting though, and if I can spare the cash I might invest in another book for this year's trip - especially, as you say, to give the option of avoiding the 'honeypot' routes some of the time.
beardy mike - on 27 Apr 2012
In reply to ripper: I think that is THE most interesting bit actually, the avoiding honeypot routes... There is SOO much rock. I mean Sassolungo has a whole CAI guidebook to itself which includes some ski descents and a few ice routes which you just don't find out about in a selected guide. All you see in the selected guide is the Normal route and maybe the North ridge route, but I reckon there's got to be 100 routes on Sassolungo alone! Yeah lots of them will be vile tottering pile so death, but some take beautiful aesthetic lines and you wont see a soul on...

At the end of the day the KM is still in use as a reference for me. I just don't trust it implicitly and I always

This topic has been archived, and won't accept reply postings.