Punta Emma (2610m) via "Steger", VI-, ~335m

This climb almost didn't happen. Luigi and I agreed to meet at the base station of the cable car up to the "Rosengarten". For me it was a short walk away from our hotel. For him a fast bike ride down from his vacation home. We opted for a late start because my hotel only serves breakfast past 8. So we were already cutting it pretty close for a 12 pitch route with a more than two hour approach. At the cable car Luigi realized that he must have dropped his keys on the bike ride. So he slowly rode back and scanned the ditch next to the road. As luck would have it he found his keys in the grass just when I had made it back to the hotel, already resigned to a day without climbing. Some back and forth and after feeling strong and motivated after our previous outing we decided to give it a go despite the delay. It was on!

Our morning commute. Floating up towards the rock.
We climbed the second tower from the left. The jagged spires in the center are the Vajolet towers which we climbed last time.
On the top of the initial ramp, studying the topo to figure out where to continue.

The area is a stunningly beautiful nature preserve and popular tourist destination. As such there were scores and scores of day hikers making their way up to the restaurants and huts. We sped past them and started climbing just above the trail. The climbing itself was fantastic, if a little inhomogenous. The first few pitches follow a ramp cutting across the face. Only after that does it become interesting and steep. Incredible exposure, we were often hanging in the air with overhanging rock below us. The entire route must be protected with friends, nuts and slings on hour glasses. At one point Luigi lost the route and deviated way too far to the right. He was way above his last piece of gear and climbing at a level where retreating was not really feasible. Thus he pushed forward until he found an anchor from a different route. From this new vantage point he discovered where he should have been and traversed back to our route. This left me with a tricky bit of following, to retrieve our gear.

Me hanging around on a typically exposed anchor. This one we improvised after Luigi's detour. You can see the streams of people on the road below me.
Luigi having a blast. Beautiful route. Beautiful day!
Hey mom!

It all worked out and we had another incredible and incredibly successful day out in the mountains. Running back down the trail past all the regular hikers was very satisfying too. We enjoyed showing off a bit by jogging down the via ferrata where others were laboriously making their way by holding onto the metal wires and scrambling on all fours ;-)

Topping out.
Luigi giving me the finger after I mocked him for being too fat to squeeze through this gap.
Rappelling back down the other side of the mountain. It was a typically convoluted, exposed and risky descent.

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