The angel of the Dolomites
"On the mountains we feel the joy of life, the emotion of being good and the relief of forgetting earthly things: all this because we are closer to the sky".
Emilio Comici was an artist of the alpinism, one of the greatest of all times. He opened extreme routes reaching the highest degrees of climbing difficulty known in those years, especially in the Dolomites. He loved the Dolomites, and in particular that three "indian Gods", as he defined them, the fantastic Tre Cime di Lavaredo.
He was born in Trieste on February 21, 1901. His first passion was speleology but at the age of 26 he felt that he needed to explore something different from the deep carsic caves around Trieste, something closer to the sky. After the first trainings in the walls of Val Rosandra ( where he founded a climbing school, that became one of the best in Italy ), a small valley near Trieste, he started climbing in the Julian Alps. His first exploit, in 1927, was the climb of Innominata from the north gorge, the first on the vertical north walls of the Jof Fuart group. Then he won the huge north face of Cima di Riofreddo, 600 meters with very difficult passages. In the thirties started climbing in the Dolomites, and with the climb of Sorella di Mezzo in the Sorapis group became the first italian climber to reach the sixth degree of rock climbing. In the same year he opened another extreme route in that group, climbing " Il Dito di Dio". Then he opened many new routes also in the winter season. In that period his activity was very intense: Torre Innominata in the Rinaldo group, the west face of Monte Cimone, the west face of Croda dei Toni di mezzo.
[img:242583:alignright:small:Via Comici on Cima Grande]
Then two great exploits made him very famous: the north face of Monte Civetta ( in two days ) and the north face of Cima Grande di Lavaredo in 1933. The climb of Cima Grande ( after almost 20 failed attempts of different teams of climbers ) provoked harsh polemics among the italian climbers. Maybe Comici was just too great for that times. They accused him to use too many nails or other artificial helps. His fellows climbers of that exploit said that without them he wouldn't have been able to climb the mountain. But four years later he convinced everybody when he climbed the same route in free-solo.
Another remarkable climb in the Tre Cime group was Cima Piccola di Lavaredo through the famous "spigolo giallo", one of the most difficult passages in the Dolomites. Then another famous climb in free-solo: the Fehrman route to Campanile Basso di Brenta.
His last great exploit was the climb of "Il Salame" ( Sassolungo group ) in 1940 ,with his friend Severino Casara, another famous italian climber.
A few months later some friends asked him to go with them training in a wall near Selva. In a delicate passage, trying to secure his friends, used an old rope. The rope broke and he fell. That was the last flight of the "angel of the Dolomites".