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Vajolet and Punta Emma
Trip Report

Vajolet and Punta Emma

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Vajolet and Punta Emma

Page Type: Trip Report

Location: Italy, Europe

Lat/Lon: 46.44720°N / 11.64050°E

Object Title: Vajolet and Punta Emma

Date Climbed/Hiked: Nov 30, 0000

Activities: Trad Climbing

Season: Summer

 

Page By: mvs

Created/Edited: Jun 30, 2011 / Jul 3, 2011

Object ID: 725512

Hits: 2835 

Page Score: 92.32%  - 38 Votes 

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A quick but fun trip

 
A look at the spires from the Vajolet Hut
A look at the spires from the Vajolet Hut
Pete and I got away for a couple of days of rock climbing in the Rosengarten. It was my first time in that Dolomiti group, and his first time in the Dolomites at all! Despite some rain going in, we had a great time.

We arrived late in the touristic town of Pera, mistakenly believing that a bus taxi was still running to get us near the Vajolet Hut. Some frantic phone calls eventually found a bus taxi willing to drive up the road. He charged us each 15 euros, which is 3 times the normal price. As rain started to fall, we easily decided to pay instead of walking up a road for 2 hours.

A humorous event occurred next. Halfway up the road, we found 2 Germans and their van blocked by the closed road. They asked us to return with them to the parking lot and come back up. Somehow, we thought we could then pool our money and have a cheaper fare. The driver didn't really speak English or German that well (duh, he's in Italy after all. :)), so he didn't understand our thinking. Needless to say, we all payed 15 euros by the time we got to the road terminus an hour later...

After a drenching walk to the crowded hut, we ate dinner and attempted to dry our soaked clothing in a hilariously crowded drying room strewn with clotheslines. We planned to climb the three main Vajolet Towers by easy routes the next day, even if they were a bit wet. The forecast was "okay," but Saturday would be the best day.

By 9 am the next morning, we were at the base of the Delago Tower, intent on the spectacular and easy "Piaz Edge" (IV+). The waterfalls running down the faces the evening before left us little hope for dry rock, but the whole thing was perfectly dry, which surprised us.

One other party was on the tower this morning, a nice couple from the Munich area. We climbed along with them throughout the day. Here, on the first pitch, I was a bit impatient and decided to pass by on an independent line a bit left of the one Franzy (the nice girl) was taking. This meant I didn't get to use the nice pitons! No matter, there were good nut and cam placements along the 30 meter pitch, the only problem was that my fingers kept going numb in the morning chill. Here is a picture of Pete coming up in the blue helmet and our other friend from Munich on the left:

On the Delagoturm
On the Delagoturm


We continued up the ridge 4 more pitches to the summit. The most fun was when there was exposed climbing right on the crest. Sometimes the clouds would blow away and reveal stunning deeps far below. A few summit pictures, then down 6 ~20 meter rappels to our packs.

In and out of clouds
In and out of clouds

Descent
Descent

Mountains in the myst
Mountains in the myst


Next we headed up the "Fehrmann Corner" (IV+) of the Stabeler Tower. It was a bit hard to find the start, as we walked too far along the access ledge and found ourselves wandering around on an easy but confusing face. The couple from Munich joined us as we puzzled it out. Eventually Pete came to the insight that we were much too far to the right, and led me back down, around and up to exactly the right place to start. I hollered over to indicate we found the way, but we lost our friends temporarily.

 
Almost down
Almost down


Pete and I went two pitches, then he lucked out to lead the crux crack which was, alone among all the climbs of the day, dripping wet. Doh! We discussed the strategy, then he headed up the crack, careful and sure at every step. Following, I felt the section right level with and above a skirted roof were the most demanding. A good lead in trying conditions!

On the wet crack
Pete on the wet crack. Good lead!

On the Fehrmann Corner
One pitch higher on the Fehrmann Corner

Looking across to the Delago Tower
Looking across to the Delago Tower from the Stabeler Tower


An easier crack followed, then a short wall led to the fairly large summit. Pete found a nice natural rock chair. Good times...two down, one to go! Another 6 rappels and scrambling got us down.

 
Michael on Winkler Tower
Michael on Winkler Tower
Now for the Winkler Tower. Another party was seen on the imposing "Steger Route" (VI), which looks worth coming back for. We opted for the "Winkler Crack" (V, but we took an easier variant at IV+). Along with our friends from Munich, we scrambled over to the high ledge that accesses the route proper. We used a rope for a brief grade III step on the approach to the first pitch, then I investigated the Winkler Crack. It was quite strenuous. The day was late, and we needed to preserve energy for a big climb Saturday...I came down and led us on the easier variant. Looks good though...next time!

On the Winkler Route
On the Winkler Route

Looking down on pitches 3 and 4
Looking down on pitches 3 and 4

The Rosengartenspitze
Typical view from the Winkler Route of the Rosengartenspitze


Enjoyable climbing led to an especially enjoyable final pitch along a nice hand crack. Franzy and her friend were a couple of pitches below, and relying on us for route information. I hollered down some advice, then after a nice visit on the summit in better weather than the first two, we started down. The descent goes along the ascent route for a while. After some more information exchange, Pete and I headed off, scrambling around the corner to eventually reach the notch between the Stabeler and Winkler Towers. The obligatory rappels followed.

One interesting thing, we always used a single 50 meter rope for rappels instead of trying to combine with doubles. In certain situations this might have slowed us down, but often the rappels are at discontinuous locations or have features that could hang up the knot of a double rope rappel. It looked like we were at least as fast this way, and certainly had less coiling/uncoiling to do, along with less apprehension over the whole "stuck knot" issue. Pete and I are both pretty used to making fast and efficient rappels, a really useful skill.

Franzy
A fellow Münchnerin on the Winkler Tower

Pete and cloud
Pete and cloud

Michael and Winkler Tower.
Michael and Winkler Tower.

Day Two

 
A topo of the  Steger  on Punta Emma
A topo of the "Steger" on Punta Emma

We hiked down to another great dinner, and good views of the face we planned to climb the next day: Rosengartenspitze East Wall, via the "Steger" (18 pitches, grade VI-). But Pete tossed and turned all night, worried (justifiably!) about making it to Prague by noon on Sunday if we did such a big climb. In the morning, we immediately decided to do something smaller. Happily, the "Steger" route on Punta Emma fit the bill nicely.

We climbed the first two easy pitches in gloves against the cold (well, me in socks!). We came into the sun and enjoyed several hours of great climbing, with three sustained pitches of gray and yellow Dolomiti face climbing at it's center.

First Pete led a traverse to get us into the heart of the face. The difficult part was figuring out where to go down slightly and reach a belay. Next two sustained and interesting face pitches followed, illustrating the maxim that only in the Dolomites can you climb completely vertical at grade 5.7! There are just so many great holds!

On Punta Emma
Low on Punta Emma, with the Vajolet and Preuß Huts below.

Pete on pitch 5
Pete starting pitch 5

Traversing
Traversing, now slightly down...

End of pitch 6
End of pitch 6, the crux short traverse on yellow rock.



This was really excellent, and the warm sun made up for many rather chilly hours the day before. The clarity in the air was magnificent. Some fun and creative scrambling brought us to the summit, then a rather intimidating long rappel got us to a snow-choked gully. We picked our way down, and soon were back at the car, enjoying a good pizza lunch below the "Rotwand" on the road to Bolzano.

It was great to climb with Pete for the first time, looking forward to awesome future adventures!

At the summit
At the summit

The Rosengartenspitze
The Rosengartenspitze

Pete on Punta Emma
Pete on Punta Emma, view looking east

Images


Comments


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Viewing: 1-6 of 6    

alpinpetegreat report!

alpinpete

Voted 10/10

and likewise, more awesome adventures coming soon... ;)
Posted Jul 3, 2011 2:52 pm

Vitaliy M.Awesome

Vitaliy M.

Voted 10/10

very nice TR!
Posted Jul 5, 2011 2:20 pm

mvsRe: Awesome

mvs

Hasn't voted

Thanks very much! You guys would like the Dolomites...can rack up endless pitches...
Posted Jul 5, 2011 3:13 pm

BobSmithI think...

BobSmith

Voted 10/10

this is the best climbing post I've ever seen on Summitpost. (Keeping in mind that I'm not a hiker, not a climber.)
Posted Jul 6, 2011 12:42 pm

mvsRe: I think...

mvs

Hasn't voted

Thanks Bob, I often struggle with wanting to report really technical pitch by pitch descriptions and just trying to convey the feel of the climb instead. Here maybe I struck a better balance. Thanks for reading!
Posted Jul 6, 2011 4:33 pm

paulrichard10Rain!

Hasn't voted

I see you mentioned rain in the start of the article. Both times I visited the area, I was greeted with horrible weather: rain, cold, sleet, snow. Once during the first week of September. I never did get to do all the outdoor activity I planned near Cortina and Val Gardena. Oh, well-maybe in another life!
Posted Jul 8, 2011 3:47 pm

Viewing: 1-6 of 6