Dolomites – Part 6

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09/03/08. South Arete – Spigolo Giallo (VI, 15P) on Cima Piccola

South Arete – Spigolo Giallo

South arete of Cima Piccola – home of the famous Spigolo Giallo (VI, 14P) which follows roughly the prow (August 2008).

We had visited Rifugio Auronzo (at the foot of the famous Tre Cime Di Lavaredo Group) twice before on this trip – each time the weather proved to be shitty with even shittier forecasts. Each trip also sets you back 20 Euros for the privilege of driving the Rifugio road! We got quite a good view of Cima Piccola on those trips – enough to make me nervous about our route: yellow (implying poor quality) rock and a steep-looking face. Quite an intimidating sight. Hard to believe it goes at about 5.9. We were sitting around in Castelrotto and checking the weather forecasts on the web.

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South Arete – Spigolo Giallo

Shirley on the pitch 10 traverse of Spigolo Giallo with Punta Frida in the background (August 2008).

Finally, on September 2nd the forecast was calling for a weather window the next day. Out of excuses we drove out to Rif. Auronzo with hopes of getting on Spigolo Giallo (Comici’s Yellow Edge route) the following day. Despite the uninspiring evening weather, we woke up to clear skies with clouds confined to valleys below…this would not last of course. Two pitches up the route the clouds began creeping up out of the valleys and soon we were climbing largely through milky whiteness which would occasionally present a clear window. Behind us was a team of two Italians and though they spoke little English and we spoke even less Italian, the conversation flowed and we hit on a wide variety of topics. The climbing was quite good even if it was less sustained than we initially expected. The two crux pitches though steep were well featured and even better protected. After about 14 pitches we topped out on the “foresummit.” Though the route was done and the weather seemed to be deteriorating, we gave into the summit fever (spurred on by our Italian companions) and did the 70 meter pitch to the true summit.

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South Arete – Spigolo Giallo

Pastries and warm milk – a well balanced breakfast at Rifugio Auronzo after our climb of Cima Piccola (Sept. 2008).

As we started the descent rap’s, weather moved in: rain and 20 foot visibility. Fortunately, the descent proved simpler than the guidebook description (many raps straight down to gully then hike out) and only once were we not able to locate the rap ring in the milky fog needing to leave a sling on a chock-stone. With poor forecast for next day, we headed back to Castelrotto with our dream-route plans temporarily on hold.

Photos

Punta Emma

Punta Emma formation as seen from the Rifugio Vajolet on a marginal morning. We ended up not climbing that day and instead came back a week or so later for Cima Catinaccio (Sept. 2008).


Sella Pass

Sella Pass in marginal weather conditions (Sept. 2008).


Sella Pass

Sella Pass and Sella Towers…Sella One is on the right and then you count up to four as you move leftwards (Sept. 2008).


South Arete – Spigolo Giallo

South arete of Cima Piccola – home of the famous Spigolo Giallo (VI, 14P) which follows roughly the prow (August 2008).


South Arete – Spigolo Giallo

Cima Piccola in the morning light during our approach to its (famous) Spigolo Giallo route (the prow of the tower; Sept. 2008).


South Arete – Spigolo Giallo

Shirley on our morning approach to Cima Piccola’s Spigolo Giallo route (Sept. 2008).


South Arete – Spigolo Giallo

Starting up P1 of Spigolo Giallo – slick rock on the lower coupla pitches (August 2008).


South Arete – Spigolo Giallo

Shirley following the first (very well polished) pitch of Spigolo Giallo on Cima Piccola. Clouds are already moving in from the valleys below. Italian team is starting up below us (August 2008).


South Arete – Spigolo Giallo

Leading pitch 3ish of South Arete – Spigolo Giallo on Cima Piccoloa (Sept. 2008).


South Arete – Spigolo Giallo

Leading the pitch 7 (per Kohler & Memmel guidebook) traverse on Spigolo Giallo on Cima Grande (August 2008).


South Arete – Spigolo Giallo

Shirley following pitch 7 of Spigolo Giallo (Sept. 2008).


South Arete – Spigolo Giallo

Shirley on pitch 7 traverse (per Kohler & Memmel guidebook) on Spigolo Giallo on Cima Piccola (August 2008).


South Arete – Spigolo Giallo

Shirley following the steep pitch 8 (numbering per Kohler & Memmel guidebook) of Spigolo Giallo on Cima Piccola. Italian team is below (August 2008).


South Arete – Spigolo Giallo

Shirley topping out on pitch 8 of Spigolo Giallo. An Italian team is below us (Sept. 2008).


South Arete – Spigolo Giallo

Leading the 9th pitch of Spigolo Giallo. Crux of the route and clocking in at UIAA VI (Sept. 2008).


South Arete – Spigolo Giallo

More pitch 9 fun (Sept. 2008).

South Arete – Spigolo Giallo

Shirley on the pitch 10 traverse of Spigolo Giallo with Punta Frida in the background (August 2008).


South Arete – Spigolo Giallo

Belay in the clouds. Shirley belaying me on the 10th pitch of Spigolo Giallo (Sept. 2008).


South Arete – Spigolo Giallo

Shirley on pitch 10 or 11 or 12 of Spigolo Giallo (Sept. 2008).


South Arete – Spigolo Giallo

Aluminum piton on the Spigolo Giallo route on Cima Piccola in the Italian Dolomites (Sept. 2008).


South Arete – Spigolo Giallo

Shirley arriving on the fore-summit of Cima Piccola and the top of Spigolo Giallo. Thick clouds below will soon start producing rain (August 2008).


South Arete – Spigolo Giallo

Shirley at the top of Spigolo Giallo and one pitch below the summit of Cima Piccola. The rap descent starts where Shirley is. Weather is moving in and we’ll be well hosed and rapping in a thick cloud in the next hour (August 2008).


South Arete – Spigolo Giallo

Shirley nearing the summit of Cima Piccola in deteriorating weather. Our friend from the Italian team is about to rap – note the “death triangle” set up which we also used Photo taken August 2008.


South Arete – Spigolo Giallo

Shirley on the true summit of Cima Piccola. Weather is worsening and soon will be rapping in a drizzle (Sept. 2008).


South Arete – Spigolo Giallo

Emerging from rain & shit-visibility which followed us on the way down from Cima Piccola (right; Cima Grande on left; August 2008).


South Arete – Spigolo Giallo

Pastries and warm milk – a well balanced breakfast at Rifugio Auronzo after our climb of Cima Piccola (Sept. 2008).


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