For most of the climbing venues mentioned the avalanche danger is relatively low (there is often a pisted track that runs nearby). The obvious exception is some of the climbs in the Val Lasties that require good snow for the approach. The Sassolungo gully climbs also require a safe snowpack.
In reply to UKC Articles: Yes, great article James. Glad you all managed to get some good climbing done this season. It wasn't yet 'in' when I was there, and I recall Tom came back to the hotel with the gear unused on his day off after a first attempt.
In reply to UKC Articles:
Nice article, although I am inclined to say perhaps just a bit too "rosy". I love the Dolomites too, but ...
Limestone (and Dolomite) landscapes are intrinsically scarce in waterfalls/icefalls because most of the water is underground. The most reliable "local" ice climbing is further west on the big granite areas of Adamello (waterfall mecca), Presanella, and up towards the Austrian border (and of course Austria). These mountains are also higher, so conditions are closer to being guaranteed.
More like the western and central Alps.
Proof of this is that I live more or less alongside the Brenta Dolomites, a beautiful, wild and very large group but I can only remember ice climbing there once, simply because the granite starts the next valley along, and there is no competition with Val Daone, Val di Genova, Val Orz, and so on. Early last winter when "nothing" was in condition we hiked into Val Piana and found brilliant ice climbing.
Having said all that, the relatively small number of Dolomite ice routes (considering the vast extension of the area) do tend to be outstanding and certainly worth doing. Real diamonds in very elaborate and impressive settings. So in this respect the article is spot on.
In reply to Erstwhile: Thanks Erstwhile. I see your point, I don't think I was ever trying to claim it was Europe's premier iceclimbing venue, more a good area that people may not have discovered. Sure there isn't as many routes as some of the large granite ranges.
But with that said there is more than enough to keep you going for a good holiday. There are at least 200 icefalls within an hour's drive from me that form for the most part fairly consistently.
However I don't know the Brenta Dolomites well so couldn't comment, it's an area I'd love to explore more, particularly in the summer!
The Dollies definitely rock, summer and winter. And the scope for new "modern" scratchy routes is just about limitless. You only have to look at what they have done down in the Piccole Dolomiti ...
Drop in if you are over this way. We live at the very top of the Sarca valley, just after Trento, foot of Monte Bondone, on your way to the Brenta - SE face of Cima Ambiez would be good fun, and of course there is always Arco.
I think the main "problem" with our area is the lack of information in English (so well done). I have been trying to convince Capellari to translate (or more precisely pay me to translate) his ice guidebooks for years. I also suggested a combined ice climbing ski touring guide (given that none of these is really covered in Yankee speak). He seems to be reasonably decided to go ahead with the latter - but don't hold your breath ...
> (In reply to Erstwhile)
> "Scarce in waterfalls" and "relatively small number of ice routes"........you clearly haven't had a 'real' look at the guidebook then? There's more ice routes than you could shake a stick at!!!
Actually I have looked rather well at the both the guidebook and the mountains - I live been living in the Dolomites for 8 years and northern Italy for over 20 years. I know what I'm talking about.