Sunday, July 20, 2008

World Cup, Dolomites and a Wedding

The world cup event in Chamonix was incredible even though it was outdoors and it rained on the crowd the whole time. All the guys i knew as being really good climbers stuffed up a key toe hook move and three people i didnt know managed to figure it out and so took the podium. It was awsome watching them all get close to onsighting what was probably around a grade 32 climb.
Since the weather was so bad and heaps of new snow fell we decided to leave and head to the Dolomites in Italy. We only had a few days before the wedding so we picked a huge target in the north face of the Cima Grande. The route is called the Brandler-Hasse and weaves around a bit but is pretty much direct up the slightly overhanging 550m north face. The day started with dodgy looking skies and an unseasonal cold snap. We started climbing anyway thinking we would eventually have to bail but about 5 hours in, with frozen arms and toes, when we had climbed just over a third of the wall, the sky had cleared and the temps slowly started to rise. The crux came at pitches 12 to 16 which were grade 23/4 and unfortunately we couldnt really try them as they were soaking wet so we pulled on gear through them. The top of the route posed a challenge as although the grade eased the rock stayed wet and we encountered sections of verglass. All up we climbed the route with descent in around 15 and a half hours.
The following day we were totally wrecked so after a sleep in we just did a 7 pitch route on a small spire nearby.
At the moment i am sitting in an internet cafe in Santa Margharita on the mediterranean after attending friends Tim and Christina's incredible fairytale wedding at a swanky villa last night.
Ill get photos up as soon as i can get them off Dan's camera.
Now we are heading either back to the Dolomites for the Marmolada or back to Chamonix depending on how we feel in the next half hour.

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