A sharp and steep tower in shape of a triangle rises just above the green meadows of Passo Giau, one of the highest road-pass of the Dolomites: it’s the Gusela of Nuvolau 2295 m. This attractive peakoverlooks the Northern side of the pass, the right one when getting there from Cortina d’Ampezzo, and irresistibly attracts the gaze of tourists and climbers.
There are several ways to climb the summit, including even some routes for experienced hikers (Via Ferrata) rising on the gentle angled Northern side ; definitely the more classic and repeated climbing route runs on the South-West wall of tower, facing just to Passo Giau, is the route Dallago, leading to this wonderful and panoramic summit by a climb of medium difficulty (UIAA grade IV) with a single step of grade V UIAA in the second pitch.
The starting point to climb Gusela is Passo Giau m. 2236, one of the highest pass of the Dolomites, located 16 km. from Cortina d’Ampezzo, the main resort in this area, and 10 km. from Santa Fosca. Passo Giau can be approached both from the Northern side (Cortina or Falzarego route) and the Southern one (Selva di Cadore and Santa Fosca).
Road access to Passo Giau m. 2236
- From Belluno: follow the road SS 51 towards North reaching Longarone and Pieve di Cadore; from Pieve the SS51 turns to left, getting to San Vito di Cadore and Cortina d’Ampezzo. In Cortina take the road SS48 to Falzarego Pass and getting to Pocol turn to left (signpost Passo Giau), following the Road SP638 to Passo Giau (16 km. from Cortina).
- From Trento and Verona: take the Brennero Motorway towards North, exit Ora-Egna, then follow the road to Val di Fiemme and Val di Fassa, pass Cavalese and Predazzo; in Moena leave the main road and turn to right, following the Val di S. Pellegrino road to Falcade and Cencenighe Agordino. Here turn to left following the road to Alleghe, Caprile, Selva di Cadore, Passo Giau.
- From Bolzano: take the Brennero Motorway towards North, exit Ponte Gardena and then follow the Val Gardena road to Selva di Val Gardena and Passo Gardena, reaching Corvara and La Villa. Turn to right towards Passo Falzarego, get the pass and here descent towards left along the road SS48 towards Cortina d’Ampezzo as far as Pocol. In Pocol turn to right and follow the road to Passo Giau (signpost).
From Passo Giau m. 2236 take the path n. 452 towards the Rifugio Averau, getting soon a fork. Head to left and when arrived in the vicinity of the first rocky outposts leave the main trail to the refuge Averau and climb on the right side heading to the wall (30 minutes from the pass).
Via Dallago report - UIAA Scale
Summit altitude: m. 2595
Difficulty: D, max UIAA V-
Climbing length: 250 m
First ascent: F.Dallago, A. Dallago, G. Valle, P. Michielli, A Menardi, D. Costantini 1970, june 14th
Starting point: Passo Giau m. 2236
A satisfactory climb on excellent rock and full of handholds, especially at the beginning, where it follows a vertical line of fine cracks. On the slabs of the upper section the itinerary is not obliged.
Approach - From Passo Giau m. 2236 take the path n. 452 towards the Rifugio Averau, getting soon to a fork. Head to left and when arrived in the vicinity of the first rocky outposts leave the main trail to the refuge Averau and climb on the right side at first along a scree, then on easy rocky steps, reaching a grassy terrace. Cross the terrace to the left, downclimb about 20 meters, getting a ledge at the base of the wall. The starting point is below a fine crack. Cairn (30 minutes from the pass).
L1 - Climb the beautiful starting crack, then the left one, reaching a small terrace - IV, III, 25 m.
L2 - Traverse left toward another crack, take a flake and with an airy move reach the main chimney-crack (crux), pass a jammed block and belay inside a niche - V-, IV, 20 m.
L3 - Up again the chimney-crack, then exit left to a stance - IV, IV+, 20 m.
L4 - Climb directly the wall above the stance, then left to a slanting crack. Up the crack, then the right face of a yellow corner, exiting to a scree slope - III, IV, IV+, 40 m.