GINO SOLDA’ (1907-1989)
Gino Soldà was born on March 8th 1907 in Valdagno (Vicenza, Italy), a small town situated close to the group of Little Dolomites, and this is an important detail because all his life was always in full accord with this mountain origin, notwithstanding in the golden years his passion for climbing and exploring kept him often far from his loved valley. Gino started to climb in 1923 and he is considered one of the best protagonists of the historic “Sixth Grade’s Golden Age”.
Gino's first considerable climb occurred in 1924, when he realized alone the first winter ascent of Baffelan East face. In 1928 he became Alpine Guide; he soon reached the UIAA VI grade (the maximum grade in that time) and ever since he climbed numberless extreme routes in the Dolomites, also realizing several new ones and becoming an outstanding exponent of the European mountaineering during the decennium 1929 – 1939. His most important and world famous undertaking were Marmolada di Penia South-West face 1st ascent in 1936 with his fellow Umberto Conforto and Sassolungo North face 1st ascent, climbed in the same year with his fellow Franco Bertoldi: another challenging new route on the majestic 1100 m. high North face of Sassolungo. This route, defined by a British party which climbed it in 1975 as “no place for brass monkeys”, is a highly engaged climb inside a very severe environment and very rarely repeated.
THE MAN, THE LEGENDGino Soldà was an artist of climbing, designing new elegant lines over inaccessible faces. Surely his charm has a lot to do with his extraordinary dolomitic enterprises and his vocation to explore new peaks and climbing new routes, but also with his humanity, his loftiness of feelings and with the exceptional authoritativeness people always attributed to him. Gino loved the mountain over every thing, but he had also a great consideration for the safety of climbers and mountaineers. So since 1938 he dedicated himself to the Alpine Rescue and in 1965 he became the leader of “Recoaro-Valdagno” Alpine Rescue Station. Recently his fellow-citizens has dedicated to Gino the mountaineering School founded between the sections of Club Alpino Italiano in Valdagno, Recoaro and Arzignano, which now is named “MOUNTAIN SCHOOL GINO SOLDA”’. Notwithstanding Gino was a great champion, he was free from every contest’s disposition and he also liked to climb together the other outstanding mountaineers of his age, like Giusto Gervasutti, Raffaele Carlesso and Gaston Rebuffat. Until the vigour was with him he never stopped climbing and realized his last climb in 1978, at the age of seventhy-one, with his son Manlio and his grandchild Giorgio just on the Baffelan, the peak where he had started his striking career.
THE K2 ADVENTURE
Gino Soldà was selected in 1954 to participate to the K2 Italian Expedition and at the age of 47 he was its oldest member. He was selected not only because of his climbing qualities, but also for his authoritativeness, his good knowledge of English and his high talent to manage all the situations and mainly the relationship with Baltì porters, a very important side in that kind of expeditions. Gino climbed till Piramide Nera at 7100 m.
THE FRIENDSHIP WITH HANS KRAUS, A PHYSICIAN OF JOHN F. KENNEDY
For a long time Gino climbed with Hans Kraus, a personal physician of John Fitzgerald Kennedy, who went in Italy for several years to climb with Gino, realizing together different first ascents; in 1963 Gino and Hans climbed another new route on the beautiful Torre dell’Emmele ESE face and Gino willed the route was dedicated to the President John F. Kennedy.
1923 – Gino makes his first ascent on Guglia del Frate (Little Dolomites)
1924 – He climbs alone and in winter ascent the Baffelan East face
Since 1926 to 1933 he climbs several VI grade new routes on various peaks in the Little Dolomites, like Dito di Dio, Sisilla South face Direct, the first route of VI grade UIAA in Little Dolomites, Punta Sibele Direct Route with Raffaele Carlesso, Lontelovere, Baffelan East Face new route ecc.
1934 – Lonely ascent to Sengio della Sisilla; Ortles SW face 1st ascent with G. Pirovano; Dente del Sassolungo 1st ascent SE face with Franco Bertoldi
1935 – Several VI grade new routes in the Little Dolomites, as Dito di Dio NE face, with his brother Italo Soldà
1936 – Marmolada di Penia SW face 1st ascent with Umberto Conforto after three days of struggle; Sassolungo North face 1st ascent with Franco Bertoldi; Campanile di Wessely West Corner 1st ascent; I Tower of Sassopiatto 1st ascent; Cima Ovest di Lavaredo Cassin-Ratti route 1st italian repetition with Raffaele Carlesso
1937 – Torre Venezia Andrich-Faè and Tissi routes 1st repetitions; Torre Trieste Tissi Route 1st repetition; Torre di Babele South Ridge 1st ascent (Dolomites, Civetta Group)and Baffelan NE ridge 1st ascent with Italo Soldà
1938 – Gino participates to the rescue of his fellow-citizens Bortolo Sandri and Mario Menti fallen on Eigerwand.
1942 – Cima Grande di Lavaredo Comici - Dimai Route with Giusto Gervasutti; several first ascents in the Dolomites
1947 - Piz Ciavazes (Sella Group) new route with Guido Pagani
1949 – Torre Trieste Cassin Route 1st repetition with U. Pompanin; Cima Grande di Lavaredo Comici-Dimai with Gaston Rebuffat; 1951 – Torre Gialla 1st ascent (Pale di S. Martino)
1952 – Several first ascents in the Dolomites (Moiazza and Cadini) with Hans Kraus
1953 – Sass Pordoi NW face 1st ascent; Sassolungo East face 1st ascent
1954 – K2 Italian Expedition
1956-1959 Some first ascents in Catinaccio and Little Dolomites
1959 - Moiazza Pala delle Masenade new route with Hans Kraus
1960 – Cima Ovest di Lavaredo Scoiattoli Route - During this extreme ascent the famous Bavarian director and climber Lothar Brandler took the film “Direttissima”, winner of “Mario Bello” prize at Trento Film Festival in the same year
1963 - “John Fitzgerald Kennedy” Route
1st ascent on E-S-E face of Torre dell’Emmele, Gino’s last VI grade climb with Hans Kraus
1974 – Baffelan NW ridge first ascent
1978 – Gino makes his last climb at the age of 71 on his loved Baffelan with his son Manlio and his grandchild Giorgia
1985 – At the age of 78 Gino stops his activity of leader in “Recoaro-Valdagno” Alpine Rescue Station
The book was published by the Italian Alpine Club Sections of Recoaro Terme and Valdagno in the hundredth anniversary of Gino's birth.
"Gino Soldà e il suo tempo" by Luca Valente
"Dalle Piccole Dolomiti al K2" by Tommaso Magalotti
EXTERNAL LINKSGINO SOLDA' SCUOLA DI MONTAGNA
K2 50 ANNI FA