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09/03/08. South Arete – Spigolo Giallo (VI, 15P) on Cima Piccola
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.
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.
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.
Cima Catinaccio (Aug. 2008).
Shirley on the hike up to Rifugio Vajolet near the base of Cima Catinaccio (Aug. 2008).
Rifugio Vajolet at night (Aug. 2008).
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).
Hiking back down. We’ll be back in a week or so (Aug. 2008).
The trailhead for Rifugio Vajolet is accessed via a short bus ride from the village below (Aug. 2008).
Sella Pass in marginal weather conditions (Sept. 2008).
Went to Arco during a rainy day in the Dolomites (Aug. 2008).
Hiking up to the base of the wall (Aug. 2008).
Got on something but did not like it as it was polished AF (Aug. 2008).
At the Rifugio Auronzo at the base of Tre Cime Di Lavaredo formations (Aug. 2008).
Scoping out the approach to Cima Piccola the day prior to our climb (Aug. 2008).
Hoping the weather will stabilize overnight (Aug. 2008).
Cima Piccola under blue skies on the following morning (Aug. 2008).
Cima Piccola at center and Cima Piccolissima at the far right (Aug. 2008).
Shirley on our morning approach to Cima Piccola’s Spigolo Giallo route (Sept. 2008).
Cima Piccola from near the base of its Spigolo Giallo route (Aug. 2008).
Starting up P1 of Spigolo Giallo – slick rock on the lower coupla pitches (August 2008).
More pitch 1 (Aug. 2008).
Shirley starting up pitch 1 (Aug. 2008).
Views from the first belay (Aug. 2008).
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).
Pitch 2 (probably; Aug. 2008).
Shirley on pitch 2 or 3 of Spigolo Giallo (Aug. 2008).
Leading pitch 3 or 4 (Aug. 2008).
Shirley on pitch 4 (Aug. 2008).
Leading pitch 7 (Aug. 2008).
More of pitch 7 (Aug. 2008).
Shirley following pitch 7 (Aug. 2008).
More of Shirley on pitch 7 (Aug. 2008).
Shirley following the steep pitch 8 (numbering per Kohler & Memmel guidebook) of Spigolo Giallo on Cima Piccola. Italian team is below (August 2008).
Shirley topping out on pitch 8 of Spigolo Giallo. An Italian team is below us (Sept. 2008).
Leading the 9th pitch of Spigolo Giallo. Crux of the route and clocking in at UIAA VI (Sept. 2008).
More pitch 9 fun (Sept. 2008).
Shirley on the pitch 10 traverse of Spigolo Giallo with Punta Frida in the background (August 2008).
Aluminum piton on the Spigolo Giallo route on Cima Piccola in the Italian Dolomites (Sept. 2008).
Belay in the clouds. Shirley belaying me on the 10th pitch of Spigolo Giallo (Sept. 2008).
Leading pitch 11 (Aug. 2008).
Shirley topping out on pitch 11 (or 12; Aug. 2008).
Shirley not far below the fore summit (Aug. 2008).
Near the top of the route (Aug. 2008).
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).
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).
Some other Italian party going for the summit (Aug. 2008).
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 (August 2008).
Shirley on the true summit of Cima Piccola. Weather is worsening and soon will be rapping in a drizzle (Sept. 2008).
Emerging from rain & shit-visibility which followed us on the way down from Cima Piccola (right; Cima Grande on left; August 2008).
Hiking down (Aug. 2008).
Pastries and warm milk – a well balanced breakfast at Rifugio Auronzo after our climb of Cima Piccola (Sept. 2008).
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