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Routes in Cima Piccola

Cima Piccola – South Arete Yellow edge T 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a
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Type: Trad, Alpine, 1100 ft, 11 pitches, Grade IV
FA: Comici, Varale, Zanutti
Page Views: 7,978 total · 85/month
Shared By: Tim Wolfe on Mar 2, 2011
Admins: Tim Wolfe, Shawn Heath

You & This Route

16 Opinions

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Description general: This is a stunning line up the left arete of Cima Piccola South face. It is very popular so you will certainly be sharing the route and the belays with others. The first pitch is a slick as glass from all the many ascents. If you feel you are off route – just look for well worn rock.

Pitch description:
Pitch 1 – 20 m V: Start just left of the arete at a steep dihedral starting near a horizontal ledge. The corner is very polished. Climb this short corner carefully to a stance on a pedestal on the right.
Pitch 2 – 30 m V+: Climb the yellow corner past an overhang on the right and over the next overhang.
Pitch 3 – 40 m VI: Follow the corner and climb a crack through a roof then easier climbing to the right to a stance
Pitch 4 – 30 m III: Climb up right on easy grey rock.
Pitch 5 – 30 m IV-: Climb right, up then right to the base of a groove with a shallow crack
Pitch 6 – 60 m III, IV: Climb the groove for 2 pitches to a stance below a yellow overhang where the wall gets steeper.
Pitch 7 – 40 m V+: Climb the wall up and left past an overhang. Climb a short distance left then up to a stance below and overhanging dihedral to the right of the arete.
Pitch 8 – 50 m VI: Climb the dihedral to a roof. Traverse left to a stance on the edge.
Pitch 9 – 30 m V: Climb the arete to a stance below the final vertical section.
Pitch 10-11 – 70-90 m: Two options exit – Option 1 -traverse 20 meters left to some cracks and chimneys and climb them to the lower summit below the main summit (V-). Option 2 – climb straight up on a bit looser terrain that gradually eases (V+).
Traverse left to the climb easy chimneys to the main summit, or go over to the descent.


Location: Start just left of the arete at a steep dihedral starting near a horizontal ledge. You can recognize the correct route by the extreme polish on this first pitch.

Approach – From Cortina, drive over Passo Tre Croci to Misurina. From there drive on the small toll road north east to Auronzo Hut and park. Hike towards the Rifugio Lavaredo until below the obvious center spire (right of Cima Grande and left of Punta Frida). Hike up the climbers trail through the talus/scree to the arete on the left.

Descent – From the minor summit descent right towards the Cima Grande to the obvious abseils. Rappel all the way to the col between the Cima Grande and Cima Picolla. Descend south to the scree and the path below.


Protection: Standard Dolomite - bring 1 set of camming units ½ inch to 3.5 inches, one set of wired stoppers, a selection of threads, many long slings and free carabiners to reduce rope drag.
Albuquerque, NM
  5.10a PG13
farkas.time   Albuquerque, NM
  5.10a PG13
A few things.

1) This climb is totally awesome. Get it!
2) The route description here is one of about 100 ways to get up there. Get a good topo, follow the general trend, and look for pins or new bolts to anchor belays. Many regions of the climb are wide open for your creativity. There are bizillions of bolts and anchors set up all over this rock, so don't assume you're "on route" if you're at some shiney new anchors.
3) Bring a singe rack of cams to 3" and a rack of nuts. While some guide books say "all protection and belay pegs are in place", on-route protection is only available where the climbing is hard (and sometimes not even!), and some anchors are very, very old and bad, especially the belay after the second pitch of VI, so backing up is desirable (and possible with some small gear).
4) Gaining the rappel anchors for descent is no fun -- DON'T do this in the dark. Traverse around the SW of the summit toward the the NW. Climb down to some decent ledges, then up an easy, and comfortable 4th class chimney/corner. Make one short rappel back down to the ledge and around a thin bulge. Here's how we did this. The "leader" rapped to the ledge, then led the sketchy traverse about 10 metres to the comfy ledge and built an anchor. The "follower" rapped, pulled the rope, then followed on belay. Make ~6-60m raps to the gully, then one 60m rap past the glacier. Sep 26, 2013
Ken Trout
Golden, CO
Ken Trout   Golden, CO

Rifugio Auronzo starts @ 22 Euros per person (2013/dorm/no pension). Showers are 5 Euros. Check at the toll booth for the cost of caravan camping. Cost-cutting rental car/tent bivouacs may be possible too. The parking lot had restrooms, but they are closed at night. The hut has a bar.


We made about ten rappels to the Cima Piccola-Cima Grande col using a single 70 meter rope. I'm pretty sure a single 50m or 60m would work. From the col, we down-climbed the snow-filled couloir in our rock shoes. Lucky for us there were big steps already kicked into the snow.

After climbing a sport route left of Spigalo Giallo, a team of local gnarlers just soloed the above described Piccolissimo to Cima Picolla traverse. Another team on the steep yellow wall left of the Spigalo Giallo rappelled the wall with double 7mm ropes (5.11b I may have heard). What they did looked super convenient yet terrifying; like rappelling the right side of the Diamond (CO).
Dec 19, 2013
Henry AB
5.9+ PG13
Henry AB  
5.9+ PG13
We did this route in 13 pitches, which appears to be the standard number. There seemed to be established belays (using bolts or fixed gear) at the end of every pitch.

Pitch 7 is a traverse straight left on a ledge for about 50 feet. I initially got this pitch wrong and started traversing left on the wrong ledge. The correct ledge has a horizontal crack than runs along the length of the ledge.

We brought single C4s .5-4. The #4 was not necessary but everything else was handy. X4s and small offset cams were also useful. I brought a pink and red tricam, but I don't think I ever placed either.

The key to the descent, I think, is to just traverse left. There is a ledge system that will take you to a grassy plateau at the base of the true summit tower of Cima Piccola. The first rappel station is visible from this plateau. Another commenter mentions fourth class down/up climbing to get to the rappels, but I don't recall that. I remember the traverse as being moderate but exposed. Jul 16, 2015
Adam P.
San Jose, CA
Adam P.   San Jose, CA
This is a great route that I would recommend to competent parties. I would also rate this climb as 10a.

The route description on this page isn't great. I suggest following the RockFax guidebook description. From the RockFax Guidebook, you can probably link the first two pitches w/a 60m rope and definitely with a 70m rope. From there, competent parties can simul pitches 3 and 4, provided you have good route finding abilities. I suggest extending the crux pitch by doing the traverse left under the roof to nicely pegged belay on the arete. This way, the next pitch is basically straight up, and you won't get hosed by rope drag. From the end of the extended crux pitch, generally head up to nicely pegged belays on good ledges.

Finding the rappel route after the climb is straightforward. Follow exposed ledges to the left (southwest - toward Cima Grande) of where the climb finishes. There was one short 4th class climb followed by a short rap to a grassy plateau where the main rappel route starts. The main rap route starts with a big rap ring. Even if you head to the summit, you will pass the rap station that leads to the notch between Piccola and Grande. We did seven or eight rappels easily with a 70m rope. A single 60m would work and a single 50m may work as well. Generally, each rap ended on a ledge at a large rap ring. Sep 4, 2018

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