Cinque Dita (2996m) via Spigolo del Pollice (UIAA IV, 250m)

For our second multi pitch in the Dolomites we chose another easy route up a signature mountain: the Spigolo del Sassolungo graded at UIAA IV. Again a super comfortable approach using a cable car. This time a funky one though - super old mini gondolas that only fit two adults standing up. Basically tiny phone booths hanging of a wire. Where a normal chair lift or gondola will be unclipped from the main line and slow down for entering/exiting, this one would just continue at full speed. This requires a carefully timed running entry. Funky.

Floating phone booths.
Me following the first pitch.

When we arrive at the base of our climb there's already a party preparing for it. Thus we spent a few minutes in the nearby hut to have a breakfast consisting of hot chocolate and apple strudel. We also took the opportunity to take some pictures of the guide book available at the hut because as properly prepared mountaineers we of course didn't bring a topo.

Luigi proud of his improvised anchor.
Weeee! This is fun.

The first pitch is easy and quickly dispatched. It is followed by an annoying walking traverse on loose scree. Then we finally reach the meat of the climb, the beautiful and exposed ridge. The rock is luxuriously juggy and a joy to cruise up. A cold North wind is tugging at us and belays in the shade are miserably cold. There's still a lot of ice in the gulleys below us. This wouldn't be a problem if we could just keep climbing to stay warm, but unfortunately for us the party ahead of us is really slow and makes us wait at every single belay. In the end it'll take us about twice as long as if we had had the route to ourselves.

German military topping out on the neighboring tower. A significantly harder route. You can also see the normal route up the Langkofel - the faintly visible diagonal trail from the bottom middle up and to the left. Crazy!
Luigi following on the ridge.
Holy halo.

Slow as they are, the other party is very friendly and we have nice conversations at the belays. And to be fair to them, they in turn had to wait for the party ahead of them. The four of us shake hands on the summit and decide to rappel together in order to speed things up. After the first rappel the descent route merges with the descent for several other routes and there's a proper traffic jam at the anchors. To make up for the time lost Luigi and I run down the trail below the cable car. A lot of fun speeding past all the regular hikers who dryly comment that there must be free beer at the base. Almost - our wives and kids are waiting ;-)

Cool exposure on the summit ridge.
Luigi playing marionette on the summit.
Sharing a rappel with the other party.
Overhanging rappel route.
A scrambling traverse before rappelling again.

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