Catinaccio East face, a magnificent sunny wall overlooking the peaceful meadows of Gardeccia! Amongst the countless climbing routes running on the impressive Catinaccio East wall the most logical line and fulfilling climb is the Steger Direct, an ideal line and one of the greatest classic routes not only of the Catinaccio group but of the whole Dolomites.
The route doesn’t show extreme difficulties, but however the climbing is sustained, especially in the low section, where the wall is steep and impressive. Substantially the route is still challenging in reason of the length of the route and the flair needed to find the right itinerary. In fact there are many variations, but the best advice is to follow the original route realized by the formidable pair of climbers Hans Steger and his wife Paula Wiesenger with F. Masè Dari and S. Lechner 26 in the year 1929. An excellent and very satisfactory way to climb the majestic East wall and get directly to the second highest summit - after Catinaccio d'Antermoia - of the Catinaccio Group. The belays anchors are almost all on site, as well as a few pegs along the pitches.
Hans Steger and Paula Wiesinger were a formidable pair of climbers and skiers. Hans was born in Bavaria in 1907 and met Paula in her hometown, Bolzano. They were both twenty years and not separated anymore. Together they lived extraordinary mountain adventures, realizing some challenging routes in the Dolomites, such as "Via della Giovinezza" on Cima Una in the Sesto Dolomites in 1928 only twenty-one and the following year the East of Catinaccio and the South of Torre Winkler, always in the Catinaccio group. Among their greatest repetitions stand out some routes of high commitment as Micheluzzi on the South face of Marmolada and Solleder on the North-West face of Civetta. After this latter climb Paula was consecrated the first woman of the Sixth Grade Age in the history of mountaineering.
The starting points to climb Steger Route is the resort of Pera di Fassa, located in the homonymous Val di Fassa
Road access to Pera di Fassa and Gardeccia
- coming from Brennero Motorway exit Egna-Ora and take the road S51 towards Val di Fassa, getting to Cavalese, Predazzo, Moena and Pera di Fassa (48 km. from Egna-Ora). The road from Pera di Fassa to Gardeccia is open to private vehicles as far as the little hamlet of Soial. A minibus service is available from the chair-lift station in Pera di Fassa; frequent departures both from Pera and Gardeccia. Otherwise the chair-lift will lead you to the upper station (rif. Ciampedie), from here 40 minutes by walk to reach Gardeccia.
Steger Direct original route report - UIAA SCALE
Summit altitude: m. 2981
Difficulty: TD inf., UIAA V+
Climbing length: 500 m. + 150 m. on the summit ridge
Equipment: the pegs at belays are on site, as well as some pegs along the pitches, needed quick protections to integrate
First ascent: Hans Steger - Paula Wiesenger - F. Masè Dari - S. Lechner 1929, August 26-27
Starting point: Gardeccia Huts (Rif.Gardeccia - Rif. Stella Alpina) - Rif. Vajolet - Rif.Preuss
A long great outing up one of the best classic routes of the Dolomites!
Approach to the route
- From Gardeccia: Walk on the dirty road (n. 546) that goes to the refuge Vajolet passing a short distance from the impressive wall of Catinaccio. Just before getting to the refuge Vajolet take on the left the path that leads to Passo Coronelle and refuge Fronza and then leave the main trail and climb grassy slopes heading to the cracks' system rising vertically in the direction of the summit. Climb the easy rocks (I and II) diagonally to the right to the belay where the route begins the way (2 bolts + red sling).
- From Refuges Vajolet and Preuss: From the huts reverse the path to Gardeccia, after a while you come to a fork on the right to Passo Coronelle. Leave the main path and continue as at the previous point. (50 minutes from the refuges).
The yellow wall, a few meters above the starting belay, is engraved by two neighboring and narrow parallel cracks. The crack on the left, that descends lower, gives the directive of the itinerary.
L1 - Climb a few meters a dihedral just to the right of the belay. Slanting left to the base of the obvious yellow dihedral. Belay with 2 pegs on a small terrace on the left. IV, 20 m.
L2 - Climb the yellow dihedral which becomes an overhanging crack. Here move left and belay on 2 pegs. IV+, V, 40 m. An intermediate belay possible.
L3 - Traverse left for about 4 m. and climb up to a niche; exit right and continue always slanting right take the crack again, where is the belay on 3 pegs IV, V, V+, 20 m.
L4 - Slanting right to take another parallel crack; when the crack is widening into a chimney belay on the left on 2 pegs. IV, 15 m.
L5 - Continue in a gully towards an overhang. Bypass it to the left and then continue following the left crack. Belay at its end in the gully on 2 pegs. IV+, 45 m.
L6 - Up the gully reaching a yellow dihedral (the variant "Vinatzer"). Here slanting right climb a sloping ramp up to the belay on 2 pegs. III, III +, IV, 1 hole, 1 intermediate belay possible.
L7 - Climb the crack above the belay and then on easier rocks reach a deep chimney.Belay on outcrop. IV, IV +, III, 40 m.
L8 - Climb the chimney overcoming some jammed blocks, then taking the right branch to the belay on 2 pegs at the end of the chimney. IV+, V-, 40 m.
L9 - Up slanting right without a compulsive route for about 40 m., then belay on a big hole. II, III, 55 m.
L10 - Slanting slightly to the right, climb a wall with good holds getting to a terrace. Reach the bottom of the wall above and belay on another hole. II, III, 45 m.
L11 - Traverse left along the terrace, reaching a small dihedral. Here climb slanting left, reaching the belay near nother one. IV +, IV, 40 m.
L12 - Climb a shallow corner above the belay, at its end climb the slab above, then move left to the tiny belay on 2 pegs. IV +,50 m.
L13 - Climb slanting left up to overcome the overhanging yellow band. Then continue straight to the belay on 2 pegs. V-, IV+, 35 m.
L14 - Heading right climb a yellow blade. At the end climb to the left, then return right to belay.IV+, V, 40 m.