First off we warmed up by doing Metropolis in Triglav North Face and Črni biser in Travnik the next day. Those were some routes I wanted to do for a while. Especially Travnik was quite a long day, but I knew it would be good preparation for some big routes in the Dolomites.
|the traverse pitch in Metropolis|
|the good stuff|
|climbing in Travnik|
|tired from Slovenian beer, still managed to send Ritem v zraku!|
|the Tre Cime di Lavaredo|
|žganci for power the night before :)|
|under the Cima Grande, cold fingers in the morning|
|the first pitch on Das Phantom|
|yehooo! high off the ground!|
|the amazing view from the summit of Cima Grande (shot with my phone :O)|
We were a bit intimidated by doing Il Pesce so we took extra care to make sure we'd be fast enough to climb it in a day. The day started at 4 AM at Rifugio Falier. At 6 AM we were blasting through the lower easy pitches. By now the Fish has become a classic so route-finding is made simpler by following vague traces of polished rock. Soon enough we were in the crux pitches around the characteristic fish-shaped niche, grinning from ear to ear. The rock quality and the itinerary are simply outstanding. It's like one took Ceuse and stretched it out into one 500m slab of grey limestone (plus 400m above the mid-way ledge). The climbing is super technical on tiny holds and some run-outs between gear, but rock is completely solid so one can pull on small holds with confidence.
It is 40 years since the first ascent of this mythical route and I guess it was regarded as groundbreaking for the amount of free-climbing necessary between pieces of gear (or even sky hooks). There are no bolts on the route except a few in the lower, easy part. It is amazing to consider this achievement nowadays! Some sections look truly improbable and only after careful inspection one finds passage.
We climbed by swinging leads and managed to onsight everything until I popped off a tricky 7a section while following Mathieu, right before the end of difficulties. I started from the jug but didn't repeat the whole pitch. It was definitely not good style, and I admit I was quite nervous about taking too long or taking some rain (there was some rain in the forecast). Eventually we topped out at 6 PM and even a failed onsight couldn't spoil my satisfaction. During the week of climbing together our efficiency improved and it was a pleasure to go fast on such a big route.
|quick change of clothes for Mathieu. no, we were not THAT scared... it was just warm in the sun|
|perfect climbing on Specchio di Sara|
|'Parete de l'Argento', the Silver face... south face of Marmolada|
|cruising through a sea of gray on the Fish|
|tricky moves right before the belay|
|kind of ecstatic on the top!|
|...still with some descent to go|
We are much, much obliged to the Slovenian alpinist camp (organized by KA PZS) for the good company, useful information and logistic support. I was a bit lost in the Dolomites since it was my first time and you helped us a lot (the second time already, hehe).
routes climbed (all onsight and swinging leads unless otherwise stated):
Črni biser, Travnik
Das Phantom der Zinne, 7c+, Cima grande
Specchio di Sara, 7c (up to the halfway ledge, we didn't redpoint the two hard pitches)
The Fish (swinging leads, as mentioned above I missed one pitch)
oh and to put everything in perspective, 9 years ago The Fish was done in free-solo... gulp
I hope to climb on Marmolada again soon. It just looks like there's so much good stuff to do...