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Gino Soldà

Gino Soldà

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Gino Soldà

Page Type: Article

Object Title: Gino Soldà

Activities: Mountaineering, Trad Climbing, Big Wall


Page By: Silvia Mazzani

Created/Edited: Feb 4, 2012 / Feb 6, 2013

Object ID: 774881

Hits: 3974 

Page Score: 91.75%  - 36 Votes 

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GINO SOLDA’ (1907-1989)

Gino Soldà and Umberto Conforto
Gino Soldà and Umberto Conforto after Marmolada SW face 1st ascent
Gino Soldà at Little Dolomites
Gino in Little Dolomites

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 on Cima Piccola di Lavaredo
On the top of Cima Piccola di Lavaredo
Gino climbing on Sisilla
Gino climbing on Sengio della Sisilla

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.


Gino Soldà as skier
Gino was also a great champion of ski: alpine ski, Nordic ski and ski-jump; in 1932 he participated at Lake Placid Olympic Games, raising Italian team’s performance, not very good in that occasion because of some problems with ski wax. Once coming back in Italy he considered and studied the problem and in 1934 he established a factory for the production of ski-wax, which is still a renowned one under the management of his son Manlio.


Gino 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 from Concordia
The K2 from Concordia - Ph. Silvia Mazzani august 1992

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.


Gino with Hans Kraus in 1963
Gino with Hans Kraus in 1963

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.


Gino and his sons
Gino with his sons Evi and Manlio
Gino Soldà with Raffaele Carlesso
Gino Soldà with Raffaele Carlesso after the first italian repetition of Cassin Route on Cima Ovest di Lavaredo

Gino Soldà with Franco Bertoldi
Gino with Franco Bertoldi after Sassolungo North face first ascent
Marmolada di Penia SW face
Marmolada di Penia SW face: Soldà-Conforto is running on the left of the pillar in the middle

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
1936Marmolada 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
1937Torre 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.
1942Cima 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
1949Torre 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
1954K2 Italian Expedition
1956-1959 Some first ascents in Catinaccio and Little Dolomites
1959 - Moiazza Pala delle Masenade new route with Hans Kraus
1960Cima 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
1978Gino 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


"Sulle vie di Gino - Nel centenario della nascita, seguendo le sue tracce... 1907-2007" by Luigi Centomo and Redento Peserico.
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








[ Post a Comment ]
Viewing: 1-9 of 9    

mvsMissed opportunity!


Voted 10/10

Hi Mazzani, I was in Parma this cold weekend with my kids, looking for swimming pools and enotecas. This is a great article. I love the Dolomites and am very happy to learn about Solda. Your city is wonderful...I never before just ate hunks of Parmasian cheese on a plate, it was very good!
Posted Feb 6, 2012 4:03 am

Silvia MazzaniRe: Missed opportunity!

Silvia Mazzani

Hasn't voted

What a pity! But I'm happy you agree my town and our cheese...
I am also a Dolomites' great lover...and appreciate you SP pages and topos!
silvia mazzani
Posted Feb 6, 2012 12:23 pm

ericvolaGino a great friend


Voted 10/10

Gino Soldà was a great friend of Georges and Sonia Livanos. They admired his climbing style. When they were in the Dolomites, particularly in the Civetta, often Gino would make a large detour to come and spend a few hours with them before going back to his work late the same evening. I have a nice photo of him with Sonia and Robert Gabriel (must be 1951 or 1952) that you can see among my pictures and that you are welcome to use.
Posted Feb 6, 2012 5:18 pm

Silvia MazzaniRe: Gino a great friend

Silvia Mazzani

Hasn't voted

Ciao Eric,
i didn't know Gino was a friend of Georges and Sonia...i'm a great fans of Georges and i've been numberless times in Dolomites and Calanques to climb their routes and Rebuffat's ones.
i've seen your fine picture of Gino with Sonia and Robert; i'd like to attach the picture to my Soldà page, but the SummitPost functions don't let me make that... Only you - if you want - are authorized to do it...
Thank you very much for you kind message!

silvia mazzani
Posted Feb 7, 2012 11:09 am

mvsRe: Gino a great friend


Voted 10/10

Excited to go to the Calanques one day and climb some of these classics!
Posted Feb 8, 2012 2:54 pm

NoonduelerGreat page!


Voted 10/10

Fine page to a very tough and resilient climber, a great man.
Thank you.
Posted Feb 12, 2012 10:39 pm

Silvia MazzaniRe: Great page!

Silvia Mazzani

Hasn't voted

Thank also to you for visiting and appreciating my page of mountaineering's history.

Posted Feb 13, 2012 11:49 am

gabr1Thank you


Voted 10/10

for this portrait of a great climber.
Posted Feb 13, 2012 8:17 am

Silvia MazzaniRe: Thank you

Silvia Mazzani

Hasn't voted

Thanks to you, Gabriele, for visiting...

Posted Feb 13, 2012 11:51 am

Viewing: 1-9 of 9