|This popular route provides the easiest access to the famous summit of Cima Grande. The route is discontinuous as you might expect from a long Alpine route of grade III, but there are passages of excellent climbing. The climb's popularity means that there are some polished sections, though on the flip side the rock is solid and handholds well sculpted. The scenery is superb throughout and the panorama from the summit is amongst the best in the Dolomites.|
The route provides the normal descent for climbers completing climbs on the north face. As such it's worth getting on this climb early to avoid having numerous parties abseiling over your head by late afternoon.
Start at the base of a corner gully/ramp leading left.
Climb the easy ramp leftwards before following the gully above (II). This narrows to form a chimney (III). Climb this before exiting left to follow a short flake (II). Re-enter the chimney briefly, move left again and climb the left wall of the pyramid (II). Move back right below the top (I) to reach a saddle between the pyramid and the main bulk of Cima Grande. Descend slightly to a good ledge (ring belay) then ascend right to another ledge (II). Ascend a groove then move right (III) to another ring belay, then continue first on the right then on the left of the groove (III) before an easy gully leads direct (I) to a saddle on the ridge. Move right (III+) then ascend to another ledge above (II). Cross this right to the base of a vague corner. Climb this (III) (many variations - also possible to climb the wall to its left) passing a plaque on its left side to reach a loose clearing, with a prominent deep chimney above. Climb the vague gully to reach the more solid rock at the base of the chimney (bolt). Don't climb the chimney above and instead move right to another chimney. Climb this (III+) to reach a saddle by a small pillar. Climb the steep wall above (III+) for 15m to a ledge (anchor ring). Climb stepped ground leftwards to the edge of the chimney followed earlier, follow a ramp back right (III+) for 20m then easier ground left exits onto the Ringband Terrace.
Follow the ledge left, passing a possible bivouac, descending slightly to reach a crop of cairns. Move onto the upper southwest face of Cima Grande and follow a ramp left (I) and then a ledge back right to reach a chimney. Climb this (III) diagonally right, exit onto a ledge then follow another vague chimney back left (II). Follow cairns right to then climb over a large detached block in a vague gully (III). Climb a chimney gully left for 30m (I) to exit onto the loose ground of the summit. Continue left easily to the summit. © ROCKFAX
Photo: A gap in the clouds on a the descent of Cima Ovest © monsteratt