Page 34 - 2016 AMA Autumn
P. 34

by Ryan Lang
Iwas first introduced to the Dolomites in 2015 by Gary Mason, I was an instructor on his expedition for two weeks. It is the best expedition I have ever been on! If you have never been to
the Dolomites and are thinking of planning an overseas summer climbing trip, I would seriously recommend going.
The Dolomites cover a large area in Northern Italy and are steeped with a unique mix of Austrian and Italian culture. There is literally a lifetime of climbing in the region so its important to choose the right venue for your trip. On the assumption that you will drive across from the UK, I would suggest that you go for a minimum of two weeks. The drive takes two full days each way with an overnight stop, any less than two weeks would not be worthwhile.
If you are driving across from the UK, it is going to take two days to get there, so an overnight stop is a must. Try and go via the channel tunnel and choose a morning departure so that you can get the first days driving completed before dark. There is a great little campsite called Campingplatz Vogelsang which is located on the outskirts of Brodenbach town on the banks of the river Moselle. This is located approximately half way. An early start the next day will see you drive through the remainder of Germany into Austria then into Italy. All being well, you will arrive in the Dolomites in time for supper. It is easy to select routes that don’t involve tolls, and the journey time isn’t that much longer! One thing you will need to purchase is an Austrian Vignette which will cost approximately €8.80 each way.
Cortina d’Ampezzo is located in the NE of Italy and is a popular winter sports venue. Camp sites in the local area are excellent by UK standards. I would recommend the “International Camping Olympia” campsite which is ideally located no more than 5 minutes drive from Cortina. The site has hot showers, many pitches, a restaurant, bar and laundry facilities.
Assuming you are working with a mixed ability group, which includes some complete beginners, there are many suitable locations which will provide a progressive first week.
Cinque Torre (five towers), perched
high in the Falzarego pass above
Cortina is one of the iconic climbing
venues in the whole region. The
area is regarded by locals as the
ultimate training facility. It has single
and multi-pitch climbing which caters for a wide array of climbing styles. There is something for everyone here with grades going from 3 to 8b. It is not uncommon to spend two or even three days in the first week of the trip in this location, it has a lot to offer.
Falzarego pass – reaches an altitude of 2105m and played a pivotal role in the First World War. It was strate- gically important for the Italians and Austrians and there are trenches visible throughout the pass today. There are numerous multi-pitch venues in the pass, lots of which are suitable for a relative newcomer to second. Classic routes such as the South Arete of the Hexenstein and the Comici South Arete – Torre Grande should be on your tick list.
The two locations above have more than enough to keep even the fittest groups occupied for a full week. That said, if you find that you fancy a change of scene then why not pop along to Monte Popena Basso. There are numerous routes on this crag, all which feel fairly mountainous! I would recommend Via Mazzorana-Adler which has a great exposed traverse on the
second pitch.

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