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Dolomites - Cortina Area - Rackless?
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By wankel7
From Indiana
May 28, 2014

Going to be spending a few days in the Dolomites with the lady. I will be rackless but would love to get at least one day in of multi pitch. I have found a few guiding services but their quote was over 300 euro for the day.

Is that pretty much the going rate?

Any suggestions?

We were looking to stay at Rifugio Dibona or Rifugio Lagazuoi but open to any ideas.


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By Jason Halladay
Administrator
From Los Alamos, NM
May 28, 2014
Climbing at the Belvedere crag near Nago with a great view of the northern end of Lake Garda and the town of Torbole sul Garda below. June 2013.

You going rackless AND ropeless or just rackless? If you've got a rope and some draws, there are fully bolt-protected routes at Cinque Torri more or less across the highway from Rifugio Dibona.
If all else fails, there are some super fun via ferratas right above Rifugio Dibona so take your harness and either rent via ferrata load-limiting lanyards in Cortina or make one out of some old climbing rope (as I've seen done out there) and plan on not falling. As a climber, the via ferratas are easy and fun.


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By Dustin B
From Steamboat
May 28, 2014
It's always a party.

300 Euro a day sounds about normal. Cortina is expensive also.

Agree with what Jason had to say, Cinque Torre has some stuff to do if you have a rope and some draws, there is lots of spoort climbing nearby, and Sass Dlacia has some multi pitch sport climbing.

But if you have no rope and rack, just take the harnesses and do the Via Feratta thing, there's a ton there and they are mega fun.


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By D. Snyder
From Golden, CO
May 28, 2014

There are also excellent Via Ferrate in the area some of which can be fairly challenging. Look into "Sci Club 18." Excellent fun, long with many vertical secitons: www.planetmountain.com/english/trekking/ferrate/itineraries/>>>

There are many choices all good fun. www.planetmountain.com/english/trekking/ferrate/itineraries/>>>

Gorgeous area with beautiful scenery, excellent food, interesting history and culture.


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By Fat Dad
From Los Angeles, CA
May 28, 2014

My wife and I spent several days there while touring around on our honeymoon. We just hiked and did some via ferrata. Frankly, I think if you're springing for the cost of going to Italy then 300 euros isn't crazy if you get a really good ascent in. If I had a day in Switzerland and no partner then I'd spring for a guide to do the Piz Badile. Think of it as an opportunity cost.

I would visit the Michael Chessler web site and buy a via ferrata guide or some other appropriate guide and figure out what you want to do and decide where to stay based upon that. It's a terrific, beautiful area so you'll have lots of options.


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By kenr
May 29, 2014

D. Snyder wrote:
There are also excellent Via Ferrate in the area some of which can be fairly challenging. Look into "Sci Club 18."

Via Ferrata routes can be lots of fun. I'm eager to get back to the Dolomites to repeat some (though several of the newer ones in Austria are better). For some specific English-language beta on several routes, see these links

. (the modern German guidebooks are more accurate and better designed than the English ones, if you can read a little German)

warnings:

  • With the standard-design via ferrata kits, the steel cable and anchor configurations of most routes is designed mainly for using the cable and anchor points for aid, not protection. And over 90% of Via Ferrata climbers grab onto the cable for aid (instead of putting their hands on the rock to make moves). Taking a fall is generally a very bad idea -- like taking a high Fall-factor leader fall, often with the possibility of hitting ledges or protructing rocks (or anchor posts) along the way.

  • If you climb a route on which you are strong and competent, but your partner might take a fall, bring a short rope, some slings and carabiners, and a belay device (or Munter hitch) so you can belay them on any place they might fall.

  • If you want the fun of trying moves difficult enough so that you might fall yourself, then purchase a special non-standard Via Ferrata kit made by Skylotec, which works on the VF cable sort of like a top-rope solo device on a climbing rope.

  • Many VF routes in the Dolomites have loose rock (think like "limestone"). Definitely bring and wear a helmet, and put some thought how to avoid climbing under other people.

... (VF "Sci Club 18" had a notable amount of loose rock when I climbed it about a year after it opened. Perhaps it's better now that more has been kicked off?)

  • You do not want to be near a long steel cable any time there might be lightning -- like often later afternoon in the Dolomites.

  • The more difficult VF routes are generally not more spectacular or more fun than the easier VF routes, so there's no harm in starting with easier.

Ken


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By wankel7
From Indiana
Jun 25, 2014

Was looking at the Cinque Torri Hut for lodging which is right at the base of Cinque Torri.

What kind of sport climbing is in this area? From what I am reading "...Cinque Torri: Aboundance of sinlge and up to four pitch climbs, lots of fixed anchors, ideal for courses of all levels, 10 min approach from parking, exceptional view"

But I am having a hard time finding online route guides...

Is there much sport under 10a in this area?

Also reading that Sella Pass has a lot of sport?

Thanks!


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By manuel rangel
From Tempe, Arizona
Jun 25, 2014
Trying to redpoint The Ugly 11c; steeper than it looks and the rock is scary in spots but good enough.

I was at both places last September. We just looked at routes and worked our way up with the occasional "local" passing by giving us the beta. Friendly folks everywhere. We used this site but it lacks a bit. There are guides but you have to read Italian or German, usually.

Unless you really want to stay in the rifugio, just drive there. We stayed in Canazei and it was a beautiful drive. You park literally minutes from the rock.

Sella Pass has a lot of sport but we did the long trad stuff. There was a guide in Val di Gardena but we passed on it. Canazei had a rock shop with the guide but we didn't buy it.

Have fun.


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By Bruce Hildenbrand
Jun 25, 2014

There are some sport climbs at the Cinque Torri on the Cima Grande Sud to the west of the start of the Via Miriam. One pitch and in the 5.8-5.10a range.


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By brenta
From Boulder, CO
Jun 25, 2014
Cima Margherita and Cima Tosa in the Dolomiti di Brenta.  October 1977.

For sport routes on the Cinque Torri, there is this page at Planet Mountain and a few related ones.

The page refers to a guidebook that is supposed to have descriptions in Italian, German, and English and that covers other crags.


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By kenr
Jun 26, 2014

brenta wrote:
The page refers to a guidebook that is supposed to have descriptions in Italian, German, and English and that covers other crags.

Sounds like the book with a title like Arrampicata Sportiva Cortina{?} -- it's sold in lots of places around the eastern Dolomites, like tourist shops, newsstands.

There's surely lots more sport climbing in areas other than Cinque Torri. But for easier bolted routes C.T. could work (my memory is a bunch of half-pitch routes mostly less than 5.10a on the north side of the Torre Latina?) -- and the Cinque Torri is pretty spectacular just for a loop hike, even if you don't climb anything. The drive into the Rifugio Cinque Torri is not trivial -- but you can reach the climbing or hiking for a single-day visit without going to the Rifugio, by taking the lift up instead.

Sella pass sport climbing (and lots of other crags and bouldering not in the Cortina sport guidebook) is covered by a modern German-language guidebook. Again I bought my copy at some local shop. Includes enough sport climbing to last several months (or years?).

But from a "tourist" climber perspective, what's special about the Dolomites is the long mountain Trad routes and the Via Ferrata routes, not the sport climbing. So if you're not doing the Trad, then rent a Via Ferrata kit and try one or more of the VF routes.

Ken


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By wankel7
From Indiana
Jun 26, 2014

Thank you for all of the advice!

It is really tough to piece together a trip with a language barrier.

If we were to just do via ferrata what would be a good Rifugio to stay at? Would the dibona or Giussani be a good start?


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By RKM
From Alpine, Utah
Jun 26, 2014
Another day at Red Rocks. <br /> <br />Photo by Joanne Urioste

I'm not suggesting going RECKLESS, but - just take some shoes and a chalk bag. There are so many moderate, yet unbelievable routes around Cortina with easy approaches, long ridge climbs, great rock, true summits, etc. that one might consider climbing by yourself.

Also, I suggest just staying in a hotel in Cortina. Not much more $, but plenty more to do and eat and see. I love the Hotel Olimpia, modest rates, modest accommodations, great people. www.hotelolimpiacortina.com


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By brenta
From Boulder, CO
Jun 27, 2014
Cima Margherita and Cima Tosa in the Dolomiti di Brenta.  October 1977.

As you may have noticed, Rifugio Dibona is reachable by car, while Rifugio Giussani requires a hike. It means that the former is closer to a standard hotel, while the latter gives you more of the hut experience. Depending on how long you plan to be in the area, you may want to try one not-so-comfortable night in an awesome place, and recover the next night in town (or some such combination).

If you opt for a ferrata, say the Lipella, my experience is that a helmet is the most important piece of gear. Bring a headlamp too.


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By kenr
Jun 27, 2014

brenta wrote:
If you opt for a ferrata, my experience is that a helmet is the most important piece of gear.

Many via ferrata routes in the Dolomites have substantial loose rock, and parties above you can be fairly clueless about kicking it off.

Besides the helmet, doesn't hurt to start early (or choose a less-crowded day in a less-crowded season). As one wise old climber said, "It's not like getting hit in the shoulder by a rock is so great either".


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By Fat Dad
From Los Angeles, CA
Jun 27, 2014

Not sure if you're renting a car or not, but you don't need to stay in a rifugio to climb via ferrata. Some yes, but others are pretty road accessible or by ski lift, assuming they're running. We stayed in Corvara and did the Gran Cir ferrata easily from the road. I hiked up to the Piz Boe (since the ski lifts hadn't started for the summer) but turned around at the base since the wife was sick in the hotel room and, well, it was our honeymoon. We would have done the Tridentina but were using public transport, which didn't stop near that trailhead.

Again, if you can score a guide, study that and let that determine where you should stay.


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By PTR
From GA
Jun 27, 2014

Did a week in Cortina many years ago. Did a few VFs, plenty of hiking, wine tasting, etc. Mixed some camping with a cheap hotel or two when my girlfriend needed a break from the tent and a decent shower. We used public transport to get around as well as our thumbs. The VF on Col Rosa -- just north of Cortina -- was good fun and a good warm-up. Technical/cabled sections short and not too difficult. Lots of old WWI stuff to see as well. Also did a VF on Cima Cadin near the Rif. Padova. Very doable from the lake (Cadore) in a day. We even had time to hitch back to Cortina. This one was the "fire-ladder" type -- with vertical ladders doing most of the work -- lots of exposure.


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By wankel7
From Indiana
Jun 29, 2014

How does one find out about the public transit options once you are in Cortina?

I think we will be staying at rifugio averau and would love to not get a car. The cars are cheap but the insurance is pretty pricey.

Thanks!


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By anthony509
From grass valley, ca
Jul 1, 2014

Planning the same sort of trip. Thanks for starting this post.


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By manuel rangel
From Tempe, Arizona
Jul 13, 2014
Trying to redpoint The Ugly 11c; steeper than it looks and the rock is scary in spots but good enough.

We rented a car so I can't help with the public transport option in Cortina. They must have buses occasionally. You will need to take one to the chairlift to Cinque Torri's refugios. Once there, the climbing is a mix of sport and trad routes (usually with lots of pitons) from one to couple pitches. Fun towers to climb.

Some credit cards include insurance if you use them to rent your car. Check it out. I was very glad to have a car in the Dolomites. We drove a lot. It was well worth it.

The road to the rifugio at Cinque Torri is narrow and paved. But no problem in our car.


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By Fat Dad
From Los Angeles, CA
Jul 13, 2014

If I go again, I will absolutely rent a car since it opens up so many more options for a relatively small cost (c. $100/ day) when compared to the cost of traveling in Europe in general. We spent a whole day traveling by bus fron Bolzano to Corvara, whereas if we drove it would've taken perhaps 2.5 hrs. Figure that lost time. We didn't really get to see much of the surrounding area for the same reason. Figure that cost into the equation. Though it was not the easiest, we rented a car in Florence to tour Tuscany, and the discoveries on that one day of road tripping were probably the best of the trip. YMMV, but something to consider.


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By kenr
Jul 13, 2014

Another advantage of having a car is that it can enable you to get away from wet or cold weather. Which has been happening more often in recent years in the Dolomites -- second year in a row we had substantial snow around July 1. On July 1, 2013 they actually re-opened the lifts for downhill skiing on Tofana.

We found that escaping is easier when we chose the western Dolomites like around Grodental or Eggental, instead of the eastern Dolomites like around Cortina. When it got cold and wet up high, we went down to the Adige river valley and found rather good sport crags, even two nice indoor gyms in Bozen + Brixen, and some fun via ferrata routes in spectacular low-altitude gorges.

Of cours with a driving a little farther south to around Arco there's lots more sport-climbing, also lots of multi-pitch routes (but not for when it's hot).

Another option which sometimes helps to escape moisture is to drive north over the Brenner Pass into Tirol Austria (for which we had brought guidebooks). Much quicker from the western Dolomites than from Cortina.

Plenty of great climbing in the western Dolomites -- just need different guidebooks (multiple volumes for multi-pitch Trad, also a separate book for Sport + bouldering).

Note that the Munich airport (MUC) might actually be shorter driving to the Dolomites than the Milano airport.
Also for many airlines and airline partner groups, there are more flights using Munich than Milan. So if you need to change your plans, you have more options on dates you find you need. Sometimes in summer all the non-expensive seats in and out of Milan are already fully booked, so even if you're willing to pay a change penalty, the alternative flights are frighteningly expensive.

Ken


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By Bob Banks
Jul 13, 2014

wankel7 wrote:
Going to be spending a few days in the Dolomites with the lady. I will be rackless but would love to get at least one day in of multi pitch. I have found a few guiding services but their quote was over 300 euro for the day. Is that pretty much the going rate? Any suggestions? We were looking to stay at Rifugio Dibona or Rifugio Lagazuoi but open to any ideas.


I did pretty much the same thing you're thinking of a couple years ago: trip with the lady, didn't want to bring gear but wanted to climb. Never hired a guide in my life, but I did then and don't regret it for a second. Yes, a certified mountain guide is pretty expensive, but it was worth every penny. Pretty much zero chance of biffing the approach, getting off route or epic-ing. Those things are fine in real life, but not something you want to deal with when on vacation with your girl/wife. Met my guide for a beer the evening before to suss out abilities (he was sussing out mine), and the next day I got to do an ultra-classic big route and it was really just like going climbing with one of my bros while the lady spent the day exploring Cortina. Not once, before, during or after did I regret the monetary cost and I ain't a rich man.

Find a guidebook, pick a classic route in the area within your ability, find a guide, and go do it! You'll never regret it if you do, but you'll always be pissed off that you went all the way to the Dolomites and didn't climb a big one if you don't.


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By wankel7
From Indiana
Jul 14, 2014

The plan has again changed :p

Looks like we will do two days of hiking around Rifugio Averau where we are staying. And then head into Cortina, rent some ferrata gear, and do Michielli Strobel.

Has anybody done that route? I was wondering what the average car to car time was...I have seen around six hours.

Renting a car through Hertz. Picking it up in Venice and returning it in Florence. $210 for four days. AAA was a great discount to use.


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By Sticky
From Lakewood, CO
Jul 14, 2014

Just spent a weekend at Sella pass. Lots of sport routes, some are better protected than others. Also several via ferratas (klettersteig) in the area. It's also a one hour drive from Cortina.

Any guide book by Mauro Bernardi is great. It's all in German, but the basic descriptions are easy to figure out.

If you're an AAC member, you can get a UIAA hut stamp that will allow you to get European alpine club discounts at the huts.


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