North Ridge

Page Type
Dolomites, Italy, Europe
Route Type:
Technical Rock Climb
Time Required:
A long day
5.6 (YDS), IV+ (UIAA)

Route Quality: 2 Votes

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North Ridge
Created On: Jun 5, 2003
Last Edited On: Apr 23, 2006


From the Sellajochhaus, just below Sella Pass, follow a trail through a boulder garden to a road crossing a meadow. Leave the road below the face (climb actually starts on the east face) and hike up the meadow to the base of the route, probably wandering through cows.

Route Description

Start up an easy, grassy, shallow chimney on the left of gray slabs. Follow 4th and low 5th class gullies for four pitches to the left base of an overhanging yellow wall. Traverse the base of the wall, passing the first of just a few fixed pins on the route. Keep traversing under a black wet wall, then go up when possible and back left, making your way in 2-3 pitches into a great gully. Stay in the gully for 5-6 pitches until the landmark Pichl Notch. Nice place for lunch. Be like us and arrive when the lunch whistle blows at the quarry below the pass.

From here, a very exciting 50 meter pitch climbs a yellow wall up and left to the base of a steep chimney (fixed pins at the belay, and a fixed pin on the pitch). 3 pitches of hard-to-protect chimney climbing lead to a indistinct ledge system. Find your way into another chimney, and pop out on the ridge crest. Scramble over some notches to gain a low-angle face (probably snow here). Hike up the easy face for 500 feet to the summit ridge. Walk to the wooden bench at the summit!

The descent is pretty complex. From near the summit you can see a green bivouac shelter. Basically, you want to get over there. When you are above it, there are rappel stations to take down. From the shelter, descend a 4th class loose gully to a broad ledge. Walk left on the ledge to reach a long snow/ice gully, and descend that via rappels to a great snow or scree bowl. On the opposite side of the bowl, make an initially inobvious traverse on ledges around a corner to a notch. More notches follow on this ledge system. One is protected by a fixed iron cable. Turning a corner, you'll be traversing a cliff above a great bowl, with the Demetz Hut in the distance - you want to go there. Make rappels when you see stations, and continue on the ledges as the terrain eases. Then hike 400 feet up trail to the Demetz Hut.

The climb and descent are complex enough that getting a detailed topo is a good idea. Depending on comfort level, much of the climb can be simul-climbed or soloed by experienced climbers. If you belay every "pitch" you will be stuck out overnight, either along the route or in the green bivouac shelter. Trying to get past that point in the dark would be dangerous.

Essential Gear

A single 50 or 60 meter rope, a small to medium sized rack, and rock shoes are good to have. We brought small ice axes, but could have done without them (our climb was in late August). Some warm and waterproof clothing are a good idea. From a very hot day, we ended up in a hailstorm on the descent! You won't need crampons as long as you rappel the ice gully mentioned above.

Miscellaneous Info

If you have information about this route that doesn't pertain to any of the other sections, please add it here.