2017-07-30

Climbing Sella Towers (2696m) via Spigolo Steger (UIAA IV) and Diedro Kostner (UIAA IV-)

The forecast predicted thunderstorms in the afternoon so we couldn't go for too committing a mission. We still wanted to climb a multi pitch. Our choice fell to the Sella towers which would give us the option of bailing after each one should the weather turn on us. Almost a week into our vacation the familiar drive up the Sella pass started to feel like the daily commute to work. Exhausting manual labor, occasionally dangerous and no pay whatsoever. Why do we climb again? ;-)

Clouds around the Sassolungo. We've climbed the needle in the middle a few days ago.
So much rock! You can see the grassy band and trail that served as our way down from the Spigolo Abram behind me.
Looking back to the top of the first tower.

The approach is just 20 minutes and Luigi had already climbed the first tower a few years ago. We still managed to miss the proper start of the route and climbed an extra 50 meter pitch to get to the first anchor which we could have reached by just staying on the ridge. The reason nobody climbs our variation is quite obvious - it's a shooting gallery of loose rock. Luigi led the pitch and a rock dislodged by our ropes hit me right on the back of the helmet. I chose a smarter belay position after that wakeup call, somewhat to the side of the gully he was climbing.

Luigi scrambling up to the second tower.
The dihedral of the Kostner route up the second tower.

We bumped into a couple from Scotland on the second pitch of the route proper. It was their first day of climbing in the Dolomites and they were agonizingly slow. He was leading all the pitches and she got stuck in a chimney, trying for minutes to wiggle her way out and up. I took the first opportunity to race past them and link two pitches to the summit.

Our way down.

We topped out with no thunderstorm in sight, so we rappelled down and scrambled over to the second tower. An easy but fun dihedral got us to the top of that. The descent is an unprotected scramble back to the same trail we've used to get off the Spigolo Abram. Bad weather finally caught up with us safe and sound in our hotel room. Booming thunder was enough to shake our windows. But we had enjoyed another great day out ;-)

"Walking" terrain.
Hiking back to the pass to meet up with our wives and kids who were enjoying the sun with a good apple Strudel.