Type: Trad, Alpine, 1100 ft, 14 pitches, Grade III
FA: Ugo Pompanin and Albino Alvera, August 1946
Page Views: 5,125 total · 40/month
Shared By: Jason Halladay on Aug 10, 2009
Admins: Tim Wolfe, Shawn Heath

You & This Route

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While it's the smallest buttress of the classic buttresses on the south face, the South Arete is a striking arete offering great climbing and fantastic position. It's a perfect warm-up and gauge for the other, bigger routes on the south face. Many of the belays are on nice ledges and while much of the climbing isn't directly on the arete, it still has an exhilarating, airy and exposed feeling it to.

Because of the length of the route, it's difficult to describe in detail the pitch-by-pitch action. What follows is the general description that would work for the adventurous climber but those that want solid beta should seek the guidebook referred to in the Tofana di Roses overview page.

Pitches 1 through 3 go up the dihedral left of the arete to a good ledge with a fixed gear belay at the top of P3 and are protected decently with pitons and threads. Gear placements are abundant and good at all of the short, tougher sections. Pitch 3 is the technical crux but pitch 6/7 on the arete is the mental crux.

Pitches 4 and 5 are cruiser up the face well left of the arete to a fixed gear belay right on the arete at the top of P5.

Pitch 6 is a short rightward traversing pitch that gets you established on the face right of the arete with a dihedral above. Climb to the top of the dihedral and belay.
Alternatively (and recommended for those that like airy arete climbing that are solid at the 5.10- grade), is to go straight up from the top of pitch 5 to clip a bolt near the arete and then move slightly right to clip another bolt in a very steep, airy section to a piton or two above to another belay with fixed gear directly on the arete. I'm not sure what this variation is rated but it felt close to 5.10a with steep moves on juggy rock. With this variation you link what is considered pitches 6 and 7.

Pitch 7 is another short pitch. Head left towards the arete and belay on the arete. You may find some fixed pitons/bolts for a belay.

Pitch 8 is a short pitch to a huge terrace with lots of loose rock. Tread lightly.

Pitch 9 is a hike up to move the belay up to the base of a dihedral left of the arete.

Pitch 10 climbs up the dihedral left of the arete. The climbing above is not as difficult as it appears with good pro, pitons and jugs allowing the pitch to go nicely.

Pitch 11 follows a crack left of the arete that again is not as difficult as it appears that leads to a small terrace and notch.

Pitches 12 through 14 are cruiser low fifth class along the right side of the arete. Much of the climbing here is easy with the occasional steep bulge. A couple bulges are protected well with thread opportunities. Look for cairns marking the way when the climbing is easy. Aim for a notch between the arete on your left and a small tower on your right. This notch marks the end of the technical climbing.


From the parking area at Rif. Dibona the approach is a 45 minute hike up a steep but good trail to the base of the route. Hike up the obvious, gated road to nearly the base of a small lift/tram. Take the signed trail for the “Ferrata Lipella” to the left and switchback up through the talus slope on good trail to another signed intersection. Left goes to the “Ferrata Lipella” but you should go right towards the base of the route. Leave the good trail just below the route to the base of the big dihedral left of the south arete proper.


10 to 12 slings consisting of a few double-length runners for threads and a light rack of nuts and camalots from #.3 to #3. Many pitons and a few bolts are in-situ. Most, but not all, of the belays are from fixed gear.


From the notch at the top of the climb, follow the well-established and cairned trail to the north as it contours through the scree slope and crosses a couple small streams and/or snowfields. Continue on this contouring trail as it swings eastward on an exposed ledge below a big gendarme and then eventually depositing you at the old Rif. Cantoro where you will gain the dirt road that descends to the car park.