/ First time in Dolomites
Options for going are end of may, start of june & start of august. Any ideas of the best time to go?
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.
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!
> 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!
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
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
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!!
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.
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.
If you have a car, Cannazei or Campitello below Sella is a good base.
Thanks for all the advice everyone.
When you get there buy this book:
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.
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.
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:
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:
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.
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.
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?
> 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.
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 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.
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.
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...
> 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.
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.
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.
> 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.
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
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