IV Torre del Sella (2605m), via Parete nord, "Malsiner e Moroder", 300m, VI+

This year's romp through the Dolomites again began in the Val di Fassa. It's the natural base because Luigi's parents own a vacation home there, so he and family can stay for free. Anita found us a nice appartment in a neighboring village and thus began our third joint vacation in South Tyrol. As a warmup climb Luigi chose the "Masliner e Moroder" up the North face of the fourth Sella tower. Quite a warmup it should be!

Our morning commute to the towers. Conveniently located only a short walk away from the pass.
We watched Search & Rescue pull two people out of the neighboring Via Ferrata on a longline.
I have witnessed quite a few rescue helicopter missions since my own accident. For some reason this one got under my skin and gave me shivers. Weird start to a day of climbing.

The pictures don't quite do justice to just how steep this wall is. One thing to know about limestone is that it reacts with water. This leads to an easy rule of thumb when trying to gauge the angle of a limestone wall at a distance:

  • Black rock is currently wet. Do not go there.
  • Gray rock is frequently exposed to rain and has thus undergone some kind of chemical hardening process. This is the typical limestone look and usually implies less-than vertical terrain.
  • Red or Yellow hues imply the rock has not reacted with a lot of water. Which usually means it's overhanging. Interesting moves to be found here ;-)
TL;DR: This face is mostly yellow. Very steep.

Luigi's lead. Steep.
My lead.
Typical anchor in these parts: a rusty piton backed up by cams. Not my best handywork, but it held us ;-)

We didn't bring our hiking shoes up the tower, expecting to rappel down close to where we started. This calculation was mostly correct. If it wasn't for the fact that the couloir used for the descent is on the other side of the tower and we needed to come back around to our shoes. Not a lot of distance, but steep and very sharp scree that we now had to negotiate. Luigi chose to do so in climbing shoes while I tried my luck barefoot. We were both cursing and swearing. Not sure which approach was superior in the end, both proved to be painful options - bring your shoes!
We both managed a clean on-sight. Very satisfying and motivating start to two weeks of climbing vacation.

Gigi coming up.
Hanging belay with 200 meters of air below my ass.
Ooh yeah! And now get a move-on Luigi before the harness cuts off my circulation too badly!
Vertical ballet.
Looking across to the pass and the Sassolungo.
Topping out.
Luigi somehow missed my cue for "summit selfie!". Or this is his happy look. I don't really know. He's grumpy most of the time ;-P
Preparing the rappels. The first of many.
The tower and face we just climbed.
Meeting up with the family who had spent the afternoon with Strudel and gelato on the terrasse of a nice restaurant at the pass.

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