|A Happy Local Tyrollean.|
Hopefully in years to come it will be difficult to imagine the complications involved in organising a climbing trip in Covid times. With borders closed , then open then closed it is difficult to plan accordingly.
After much discussion Charles Sherwood and I eventually settled on Italy, a country that for the moment has a grip on the Virus and with no travel restrictions.
I met Charles at Venice airport and we headed for the Tyrol. A part of Italy where everyone speaks German and behaves as if they were Austrian. It is a beautiful and sometimes confusing place to be. We stayed in Val Gardena and used it as a base to climb on the Sella Towers and the surrounding area.
|The Sella Towers.|
We decided to kick off by attempting the traverse of the Sella Towers, ominously described as one of the most popular climbs in the Dolomites. Further it was a Sunday. We reasoned that Covid might make it less popular. In fact what made it unpopular was the weather. We set off in thick mist, yet as we climbed upward we broke through the mist and naturally felt a little smug.
|Right place right time.|
The actual route was challenging to follow. I consulted the guide book for some advice. It gave the most useless description I have ever seen. It said " Just follow the crowds of climbers in front of you."
At the top of the second tower the route off was very difficult to find, no clues no bits of old tat, no pegs, pitons, nothing. There was quite a lot of head scratching until eventually we found the line of rappel points and we scuttled off back to the valley, feeling well exercised. Still it had been good and we had sussed out the line of descent for our attempt on the "Jewel in the Crown " of the Seller Towers the Vinatzer Route on the north face of the third tower.
The next day the forecast was a little "Iffy" so we contented ourselves with some sports climbing just below the sella Pass in the beautiful "City of the Rocks". This is a cluster of crags dotted about in the Larch Trees.
|City of the Rocks.|
The next day we climbed the Vinazter route. We left the car at the col and arrived at the foot of the route at about 9.30am. We were not the first, a German couple were just ahead of us. The face is vast with few distinguishing features low down which gives the whole face an intimidating atmosphere.
|Third Sella Tower with the Vinazter route going up the middle of it.|
After about 5 pitches of steady , but poorly protected climbing we arrived at the Spiral Ledge. Above this is the crux pitch, a finger crack followed by a stout overhang.
|Me fighting my way up the crux pitch.[Photo Sherwood]|
|Me wondering which way to go.|
|Charles Sherwood climbing the last pitch.|
|The Slack-line stretched between the 2nd&3rd Sella Towers.|
|Me starting the last of the rappels.|
|Charles making the final rappel.|
|Tri Cima from Lake Misurina.|
|The line of the Dulfour route.|
|The rock climbing areas around Arco|
|Lago di Toblino seen from the descent path|