A route deserving of its classic status. Although easier than some of its neighbours, Don Quixote exemplifies all the aspects of Marmolada climbing. Expansive slabs, pockets, niches, flakes and cracks characterise this route, with a traditional chimney thrown in for good measure. The route is reasonably well equipped and the rock sound, particularly in the upper tier. The lower part of the route is perhaps less exciting but therefore provides a good warm-up and allows for quick progression in the early hours. Justly popular, it is rare to get this route to yourself.
From Rifugio O.Falier, follow path 610 for 20 minutes to where the path bends sharply left to lead more directly west towards Passo Ombretta, just after large boulder. Just right of this, by a smaller boulder with a faint grey ‘R' painted on the side, take a climbers' path and traverse upwards, ascending east. Cross a scree gully then scramble up slabby rock to reach a rightwards trending grassy ramp. Follow this upwards to reach the start of route below a large leftwards-trending ramp. Be sure to take the correct one - it is the right-hand of the two parallel ramps. The start of the route is sometimes marked with stakes.
1) III, 40m. Follow the gully from right to left to a ledge below a continuation gully.
2) III, 20m. Climb the continuation gully to a chockstone, then step down and move across a ledge to enter a wide chimney.
3) III+, 20m. Continue up the chimney to a small ledge on a little pillar.
4) III, 45m. Climb rightwards on slabby grey rock and belay below a deep corner/chimney.
5) III+, 50m. Head up and left, following a groove.
6) IV, 30m. Continue up the groove then exit right to climb a compact grey slab.
7) IV+, 35m. Climb the next slab direct then left, moving underneath large yellow roofs of Schwalbenschwanz (page 158 )on good rock to a belay in a small niche level with the lowest yellow small roof.
8) V, 30m. Step out to follow a flake above the niche to a break. Either follow the continuation flake left (harder) or more usually, move right and follow the buttress to the right of the flake to reach a belay around the corner, right of the chimney.
9) V, 35m. Move left from the belay to enter a traditional chimney, resplendent with gear and involving some inelegant wiggling to a belay at three-quarters height.
10) III+, 25m. Continue more easily up the continuation chimney then step down and right to a good belay.
11) Climb the slab above, which has a crack in its centre after 5m. Climb this up to a good thread belay on the edge of the large halfway ledge. Possible bivouac.
For the upper section scramble up and over the ledge, moving right and aiming for a large grey niche/cave 70m up the next wall.
12) IV, 40m. Move right up a solid slab then back left to a stance on more yellow rock.
13) IV+, 30m. Continue more direct then right again to a belay below a dark pocketed niche.
14) V+, 35m. From the niche, climb an enjoyable steep pocketed wall through the niche to an exit left - good but unobvious holds. Follow a continuation corner/crack up left to the base of a shallow grey chimney behind the large yellow.
15) IV, 45m. Climb up a corner-crack to the left to reach the top of a pillar.
16) IV, 30m. Move left then climb slabs direct to a belay.
17) IV, 30m. Continue up the slabs, following a break in the rock which runs left to right. Belay on the right (possible alternative belay further left in case of crowding).
18) IV, 30m. Continue following the crack right then move back left and climb more direct to a large slab.
19) VI, 35m. Climb direct up slabs towards a huge rising crack running from left to right, with quite bold climbing on spaced gear, then move left to reach the base of a gear-laced curving crack, leading right.
20) VI+, 25m. Climb the crack - well protected but strenuous - then, at the top, move back left with easier moves to a belay.
21) V+, 40m. It is possible to climb direct to the pegged crack above - a very hard variation which is initially strenuous then very bold - but the original route goes left around the rounded arete, before climbing direct right of the gully, on featured slabs, to a stance.
22) V-, 40m. Climb direct for a few metres then move left on slabs before entering into a yellowish crack. Follow this up to below a shallow chimney on the right. There is a belay level with the bottom of this chimney on the left.
23) IV+, 40m. Climb either of the two chimneys, both on unpleasant loose rock but with straightforward climbing, then follow slabs to reach the summit.
Descent - From the summit descend northeast towards the glacier and the mid station to find two abseil points - if possible use the lower of the two. Make a 30m abseil then a second 60m abseil towards the glacier (or alternatively two 50m abseils) to reach the snow below the bergschrund, then descend steeply to reach the gentler slope of the ski piste. From here either continue to the mid station and take the cable car down to Malga Ciapela (recommended) or continue down the normal route over the glacier, initially on the ski piste then keeping right (be aware of possible crevasses on the glacier, particularly later in the season) to reach a service track. Follow this back to Passo Fedaia. © Rockfax
UKC Logbook Description
Grade 6 UIAA. Don Quixote is justifiably the classic line and, consequently, also the most repeated on the wall. The route climbs the characteristic rounded arête and pillar to the right of the routes Conforto - Bertoldi and Phillipp - Henger. It starts up a series of streaks, easy steps and grey slabs first leftwards than rightwards, to then continue up a series of fantastically compact limestone. After the ledge at mid-height the route becomes even more interesting, to finish up some incomparably beautiful grey slabs.