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Never give up on Tofana di Rozes

New Dolomites route in “modern old style”

Report by Andrej Grmovšek, Slovenia

My friend Marko LukiŠ and I climbed many splendid routes in the Dolomites in the last years; among them many hard ones. We really love climbing in those mountains, which are probably the best hard alpine rock climbing destination of the world. With more and more repeats the wish of making new route on one of the overhanging walls of Dolomites grew up.

When climbing in Tofana di Rozes early this summer I inspected huge overhangs and roofs on the right side of Pilastro di Rozes. In the diretissima era almost every huge and impossible looking overhang on the  famous walls of the Dolomites was climbed with lots of iron and bolts. But there were no routes crossing those overhangs. The idea was born. Of course Marko was inspired too.

We decided to take a power drill and ropes to fix. We equipped all belays with two bolts, but try to use as few as possible for protecting the pitches. So we made quite serious route, where removable protection is obligatory (set of cams to 3# and set of smaller tricams, slings). We left all bolts, pitons and lots of slings we used on the wall. After two weekends in July - four days of climbing (ground up) we completed the route. In lower part of the wall our new route follows the passages between two existing routes – A quarant anni dalla Cima (Dal Pra, 1996) on left end unknown route on right. After 100m of slab climbing the face overhangs for the next 300m. The overhanging pillar ends with roofs and overhangs hanging more than 20m in the air. Both existing routes “escaped” left or right before “key” overhangs but our new line took fantastic natural passage trough them.

The climbing is never extremely hard physically but it is continuous and always serious. It’s hard to compare our new route to other routes we climbed in the Dolomites. We climbed physically harder ones, but probably no one of them was so complex. Maybe the route could be compared to some serious Marmolada routes (like Specchio di Sara), where removable protection and long runouts are common. But loose and insecure rock of Tofana’s overhangs is far from excellent Marmolada limestone. Especially because of this, climbing new ground on Tofana was a big adventure with many physical and mental fights.

Click for bigger photoIn the middle of August I managed to do a free ascent of the route, this time with promising youngster Luka Krajnc (Marko was ill, but I’m convinced he will climb the route free very soon). We named the route Never give up, VIII+/IX-, VIII+ obl., 500m (see the topo). We cleaned the route of most of loose rock (few hundred kg) and the holds are getting white of magnsium. So the route is waiting repeaters. But there is still some loose rock, long runouts and because of lack of fixed protection it is wise to take a topo. Expect modern kind of old style climbing adventure.

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