A masterpiece by Emilio Comici
An out of ordinary view of Tre Cime di Lavaredo North faces seen from Landro Valley
Comici-Dimai is a challenging and stunning rock climb worldwide known, the first route realized on the stunning North face of Cima Grande di Lavaredo after some years of attempts. Comici – Dimai Route, emblematic of the rock-climbing style in the Eastern Dolomites and maybe in all the Dolomites, is really a logic and bold climbing route, searching a line of weakness line on the vaste overhanging wall; the lower section of the route is the hardest. Rock quality (not always good), exposure (North overhanging wall) and trad climbing on very espaced normal pegs contributed to preserve till today an adventurous mountain ground. Due to the overhanging structure of the wall, it seems virtually impossible a retreat by abseiling. The Tre Cime di Lavaredo Group (“Drei Zinnen” in German, “Tré Thime” in ladin dialect) is just located along the border between Bolzano Province on the North side and Belluno Province on the South side; the secluded situation of the three colossal towers – far from any other peak – magnifies their beauty.
During the First World War (1915 -1918) Tre Cime di Lavaredo were situated on the war line between Austro-Hungarians on the North Side and Italians on the South one. Even at present several military ruins are visible inside the massif and especially on the nearby Monte Paterno. After the war, the italian mountaineering on the Dolomites started quickly to run towards the mythical and heroic “Sixth Grade Age”, maybe a unique historic period. Emilio Comici was one of the leading representative of that climbing era. The first ascent on the North wall of Cima Grande - believed unclimbable during a long time – had a great echo in that period and was surely one of the most symbolic ascent of the golden “Sixth Grade Age”.
Road access The ideal starting point is Misurina m 1752 with its romantic lake, the last village before Tre Cime di Lavaredo.
- from Trento or Bolzano (Adige Valley) take the Brennero Motorway - exit Bressanone - and then follow the Val Pusteria (road E66) as far as Dobbiaco; from Dobbiaco take on the right the road entering Val di Landro, reaching Carbonin m 1432 and at least Misurina. From Misurina a private toll - road (22 euro) leads to Rifugio Auronzo mt. 2330, situated at the end of the road in a spectacular position below Tre Cime di Lavaredo South faces. Parking.
- from Belluno via Longarone, Boite Valley, Cortina d’Ampezzo and Tre Croci Pass to Misurina. From here as at the previous point
From Rifugio Auronzo a good path, from which you can take some unforgettable views over majestic Lavaredo South faces and the famous stunning Spigolo Giallo on Cima Piccola - another route signed by Emilio Comici - leads to Rifugio Lavaredo m. 2344 on Forcella Lavaredo (15 minutes by walking). From here a narrow trail heading to left, traverses towards the base of North faces (45 minutes from Rifugio Lavaredo, 1 hour from Rifugio Auronzo) and skirts the base of Cima Grande towards its right-hand side.
Comici - Dimai route (North Wall) report
Summit altitude: 2999 m
Difficulty: ED inf., UIAA VII, or VI and A0
Length: 550 m
First ascent: Emilio Comici – Giuseppe Dimai – Angelo Dimai 12-13-14 august 1933
First solo ascent: Emilio Comici unroped 2-9-1937
First winter ascent: Fritz Kasparek and Sepp Brunhuber 19/20-3-1938
First female ascent: Elda Bianchi Bertaglia with the guide G. Dimai 23-9-1943
First free ascent: attributed to Jean Claude Droyer in 1978
Starting point: Misurina (BL) m 1752
Huts: Rifugio Auronzo m. 2330 - Rifugio Locatelli m. 2450
It’s advisable to stay overnight at the shelters, because it’s required an alpine start to climb this route. The climbing line is located on the right-hand side of the impressive North face. The starting point is close to a grey pedestal.
L1 - Climb an easy ramp, then go towards left to enter a dihedral, formed by the ramp and the main wall, and finally go slants towards left to a stance over a ledge – III
L2 - A dihedral-crack on the left leads to a small ledge. IV.
L3 - On the left-hand side of the stance climb a thin crack (peg), then traverse left to another peg. Straightly along a yellow wall (VI and A0), then slants to left and finally straight up again to a stance on the right.
L4 - Straight up above the stance heading to a flake; climb it on the left, getting to another stance. VI and A0.
L5 - Traverse left to catch a yellow corner and climb it. VI and A0.
L6 - Climb another dihedral-crack, then exit right to a small ledge with two pegs. Another corner leads to a stance on the right. V+, VI
L7 - Traverse right to enter a little corner and climb it. VI and A0.
L8 - Slants to right towards a little roof, traverse right under the roof and then climb straightly a grey wall leading to a stance on a ledge. VI and A0 (Costantini variant starting point).
L9/L10 - From this ledge the Comici original route traverses left, reaching a chimneys’ system rising towards an huge black roof 100 mt. above, while the Costantini variant rises straightly. The chimneys’ system leads to a terrace below a characteristic yellow and black dihedral-crack. IV+
L11/ L12 - Two pitches along the dihedral-crack; in the second one a little roof is avoided climbing the crack on its right-hand side. Stance on a terrace. V+
L13 - Climb a black chimney, leading above the huge black roof. IV+. (Aschenbrenner variant starting point).
L14 - The original route traverses 30 meters left, while the Aschenbrenner variant climbs straightly. A long traverse, a short descent and a new traverse to the left. IV
L15/L16 - Climb a new chimneys’ system leading to the large circular ledge. IV Follow the ledge 20 meters righwards.
L17/L18/L19 - A chimneys-system on some loose rocks leads to the summit.
Descent (2 hours): the descent is done partly downclimbing on the South-Side Normal Route (UIAA II and III) and partly with some equipped abseils. From the summit scramble down along a trail with some cairns reaching the great circular ledge. From here, both downclimbing (II grade UIAA) and doing some abseils, gain the gully dividing Cima Grande from Cima Piccola and briefly return to the path leading to the parking.
Ropes 2 x 60, helmet, a full set of wires and cams, slings and several quickdraws.
In the Dolomites sometimes the weather may be very changeable, with frequent thunderstorms especially in the afternoon. An alpine start is required!
Normally the best period to climb the North wall goes from middle June to middle September. The wall sometimes can be cool also in full summer. Better to choose not too cold days!
No particulary restrictions in climbing; all the group is situated inside Northern Dolomites Area, one of the nine dolomitic areas admitted in the year 2009 in the list of UNESCO NATURAL SITES.
Dolomiti Meteo Phone +390436780007 fax +390436780008
CENTRO VALANGHE DI ARABBA Phone +390436755711 fax 043679319 e-mail email@example.com
“Arrampicare a Cortina d’Ampezzo e dintorni – Le vie più belle nelle Dolomiti” by Mauro Bernardi Athesia Editore
“Dolomiti Orientali” Vol. I Parte II by Antonio Berti – Guide dei Monti d’Italia CAI-TCI
Tabacco n. 010 – Dolomiti di Sesto 1:25.000
"Emilio Comici, Angel of the Dolomites" - David Smart