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Sport climbs and crags

Crags in the area of Cortina d’Ampezzo

Listing all of the crags in the Dolomites would be an inconceivable task. Hence in this page I limit myself to mentioning the most important crags in the area where I live.

Cortina d’Ampezzo is a true paradise for climbers, not just for the classic climbers looking for reaching the beautiful Dolomite peaks: sport climbers will also find in the Ampezzo valley a fantastic place to play, with the added value of the natural beauty of the locations of the numerous crags in this area.
There is a lot of rock to hang on to, since there are more than 1,000 routes!

As far as INDOOR CLIMBING is concerned, currently the closest indoor climbing gym is Nordic Arena in Dobbiaco, 30 km North of Cortina. It’s a new (opening November 2010) and great climbing gym.
Another one is Dolomiten Arena in Dolomiten Arena, about 40 kilometers North of Cortina.

If politicians promises are to be believed (?!), Cortina will start building its own indoor climbing gym by the end of 2011.


coverI recommend this book to English speaking climbers:

“Arrampicata sportiva a Cortina d’Ampezzo”
by Roberto Casanova – CIERRE Edizioni
The most beautiful crags around Cortina d’Ampezzo: Cinque Torri, Bèco d’Ajàl, Campo e Volpèra, Colfiere, Crèpe de Oucèra bassi, Crèpe de Oucèra alti, Sòn Pòuses, Sass Dlacia, San Bodo, la Zoppa.

Crépe de Oucèra alte

From a sports climbing point of view, the Crépe de Oucèra is one of the most important crags in the Cortina area and, together with the nearby Cinque Torri, to be considered one of the most important crags in the entire eastern Dolomites.
Located at 1800m, the Crépe de Oucèra offers 70 pitches from 6a to 8a+. these are renowned for their beauty, ease of access and orientation, ensuring the crag’s popularity not only in the hot summer months.
Despite the fact that the crag is quite old, the bolting is excellent and the distance between the bolts varies, according to the difficulty and characteristics of each individual pitch. crags
Getting there: from Cortina take the highway SS48 westwards towards passo Falzarego and turn off left at the Pocol junction onto the SS 638 towards Passo Giau. Continue for about 4 km to reach a long straight section and the Alta Via 1 path. Park here and take the rightmost path up to the crag in just 5 minutes.
The climbing: the rock is solid with plenty of small weathered pockets and flakes, offering a variety of different climbing styles up the smooth vertical, slightly overhanging and extremely overhanging walls.
cragsApproach: 10 minutes
Number of routes: > 75
Lenght of pitches: from 15m to 40m (70m rope recommended)
Difficulty: from 6a to 8a+
Suitable for beginners: no
Orientation: south
Height: 1700m /1800m
Climb if it rains: no
Best time of year: from April to November
Link: Planetmountain
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Crépe de Oucèra basse

A somewhat easier alternative to the Crépe de Oucèra Alta are the Crépe de Oucèra Bassi, located a few hairpin bends lower down. Immersed in the green forest, the Crépe de Oucèra Bassi offer 80 pitches from 5a to 7c.crags
Getting there: from Cortina take the highway SS 48 westwards towards passo Falzarego and turn off left at the Pocol junction onto the SS 638 towards Passo Giau. Continue for about 2,8 km to reach a widening to the left wich can be used like a car park; opposite this space ther is a field and the path that take you to the crag.
The climbing: climbing is mostly on a vertical wall, but there are also some overhanging pitches.
Approach: 10 minutes
Number of routes: > 80
Lenght of pitches: from 20m to 30m
Difficulty: from 5a to 7c (mostly 6)
Suitable for beginners: no
Orientation: east
Height: 1640m
Climb if it rains: no
Best time of year: from May to November
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Cinque Torri

This is definitely Cortina’s most important  training site. Thanks to their infinite variety of shapes and sizes, the marvellous Cinque Torri ideally represent the entire Dolomites. Although the towers can be admired from the center of Cortina, don’t be deceived by their unmistakable silhouette: the characteristic profile isn’t comprised of just 5 towers, but by a mass of secondary boulders, fractured towers and peaks sprinkled liberally across the entire area.
Getting there: reach the 5 Torri by car from Cortina via the SS 48 to Cianzopè, on the way to Passo Falzarego.
Turn off left at km 112 towards Cianzopé – Rifugio Cinque Torri. park at the hut and then continue on foot towards the towers. Alternatively, reach the crag by parking at Bai de Dones, and take the chairlift to Rifugio Scoiattoli. crags crags
The climbing: principal dolomite reacts in various ways to erosion by the elements depending on the rock face in question; the rock on south-est face is yellowish in colour and overhanging, square in shape with horizontal holds. This rock face dries very quickly and climbing is possible during most of the winter months.
The rock on north-west face is grey in coulor and has been eroded by the rain. It is exceptionally solid and has many holes; climbing is only possible during the summer as the rock does not dry very quickly.
The climbing techniques vary according to the exposure of the rock faces.crags
Approach: 10/20 minutes
Number of routes: > 220
Lenght of pitches: from 10m to 35m (70m rope recommended)
Difficulty: from 3 to 8b+
Suitable for beginners: yes
Orientation: all
Height: 2200m / 2300m
Climb if it rains: no
Best time of year: from May to November. In good weather, winter climbing is possible on south face of Torre Grande.
Link: Planetmountain
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Bèco di Ajàl

The Bèco d’Ajal is a large rocky tower surrounded by a thick fir tree forest at the foot of Croda da Lago; there are more rocky towers, though smaller in size, uphill and to the west of the Bèco.
The rock faces of these towers are overhanging and irregulary shaped. As these rocks are situated in the woods and other orographic factors cause low temperatures and sometime dampness, the most suitable period for climbing would appear to be from July to September, but also a few days after the latest rain.
Considering the high degree of difficulty of this crag, the bolts are fairly distant frome one other.
Getting there: from Cortina take the highway SS48 westwards towards passo Falzarego and turn off left at the Pocol junction onto the SS638 towards Passo Giau. After approximately 1,5 km you will find a car park to your left, where the road leading to Val di Formin starts.
Continue for approximately 150 m and then turn left after crossing the Rio Costeana bridge.crags
After walking on a level path you will start to walk uphill to the right. Following a series of red signs you will pass through the fir tree woods and then you will see some rocks covered in rhododendros and bilberry bushes.
After approximately 35 minutes you will get to the base of a large slanting rock with a slanting peak with overhanging rock faces (sector a, b and c).
The climbing: stamina climbing on steep terrain. In the overhanging  section the routes are athletic on holes.
Approach: 40 minutes
Number of routes: > 60
Lenght of pitches: from 15m to 40m (70m rope recommended)
Difficulty: from 6a to 8c (mostly 7)
Suitable for beginners: no
Orientation: all, mostly est and west
Height: 1650m / 1850m
Climb if its rain: no
Best time of year: from July to September
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Campo e Volpera

The area is commonly know as “Grotte di Volpèra” (caves of Voplèra) and sees the presence of a numerous boulders. The rocks are situated on the south-estern slope of Pocol in an area stretching from the main road SS 48 to a few hundred meters above the Campo plane. The rock is of the Cassian dolomite kind with numerous holes and scales. All the routes are single pitch, short in lenght and athletic.
Getting there: there are three main sectors in this training site: a) Volpèra alta, b) Volpèra bassa and c) Campo.
In order to reach Volpèra alta and Volpèra bassa, you are advised to park 200 meters before the Pocol tunnel, on the main road leading to Passo Falzarego. Follow the signposted downhill path number 429.
The best way to reach the Campo sector is through a village called Campo di Sotto; park near Hotel Tiziano (the hotel is closed) and then hike up a path which runs through the village in the opposite direction to that of the road leading to Lake Pianozes.crags
The climbing:  most of the routes are short, powerful and intense, while the technical vertical walls require excellent footwork.
Approach: 10/20 minutes
Number of routes: > 60
Lenght of pitches: from 8m to 20m
Difficulty: from 4a to 9a
Suitable for beginners: yes (few easy pitches)
Orientation: all, mostly est
Height: 1170m / 1330m
Climb if it rains: yes (Volpera alta)
Best time of year: from April to November
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Son Pouses

The southern rock face of Sòn Pòuses crag is locatedin the vicinity of the narrow passage which closes the dell of Cortina to the north. The rock is a compact limestone which offers vertical slabs.  A winter’s strength training is of little use here: technique and excellent footwork are required.
Getting there: from Cortina, follow the SS 51 (Alemagna) towards Dobbiaco. Park the car near the Malga Ra Stua junction (approximately 7 km north of Cortina). It is then necessary to walk  towards Malga Ra Stua for 200m and then turn right at the signpost (Palestra di roccia); a rather steep path must be followed and after 20 minutes you will arrive at the foot of the central rock face. crags crags
The climbing: Sòn Pòuses distinguishes itself for its highly technical and delicate slab climbing.
Approach: 20 minutes
Number of routes: 22
Lenght of pitches: from 15m to 25m
Difficulty: from 6a to 7c (mostly 6)
Suitable for beginners: no
Orientation: south
Height: 1560m
Climb if it rains: no
Best time of year: from April to November
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Sass de Stria

The Sasso di Stria, a minor peak within the Fanis group, is famous for its popular Spigolo Sud, an easy arête clearly visible from the nearby Passo Falzarego.
The base of its east face is weathered and slabby and hence ideal for beginners. Some routes were equipped long ago for the military “Alpini”, but in 1996 a group of aspiring Mountain Guides bolted the entire wall, thereby creating one of the Dolomites’, and Italy’s, easiest crags.crags
Getting there: Passo Falzarego is reached easily from Cortina. Continue towards Passo Valparola to a car park on the left near a large boulder. A path leads downhill to the wall, clearly visible from the road.
The climbing: easy angled slab climbing.
Approach: 5 minutes
Number of routes: 27
Lenght of pitches: from 15m to 25m
Difficulty: dal 4a al 6a (mostly 5)
Suitable for beginners: yes
Orientation: east
Height: 2080m
Climb if it rains: no
Best time of year: from June to October
Lnik: Planetmountain
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Lagazuoi

The wall is on the South Face of the Piccolo Lagazuoi, a peak in the Fanis range, famous for that incredible war fought between the Austro-Hungarian and Italian armies and for its open-air “Great War” museum. crags
Getting there: to access the crag, park your car at the Falzarego Pass and follow trail number 402, following the signs pointing to the Lagazuoi tunnel (“Galleria del Lagazuoi”), until you reach a fork where the signs indicate the direction for the crag.
The climbing: vertical face climbing with plenty of holds.
Approach: 30 minutes
Number of routes: 26
Lenght of pitches: from 15m to 30m
Difficulty: from 5a to 7b (mostly 5)
Suitable for beginners: yes
Orientation: south
Height: 2300m
Climb if it rains: no
Best time of year: from May to October
Link: this site
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Sass Dlacia

You can not help noticing the  vertical and smooth wall of Sass Dlacia which has a strikingly black and yellow colour, as you drive along the road leading down from the Passo Valparola to Armentarola. At the foot of the rock face you will find a number of large boulder which fell from the upper part of the big wall.
This wall and its boulder increases climbing opportunities in this area.
Getting there: the crag may be reached by driving from Cortina to the Passo Falzarego and then to the Passo Valparola; drive on for a few km along the slopes of the Val Badia, as far as you reach the Sass Dlacia camp site, and park here. From the camp site follow the path leading to the wall.
The climbing: in the overhanging section the routes are athletic, while the technical vertical walls require excellent footwork.
Approach: 20 minutes
Number of routes: > 200
Lenght of pitches: from 15m to 35m
Difficulty: from 6a to 8a+ (mostly 6 and 7)
Suitable for beginners: yes
Orientation: west the big wall, all the others areas
Height: 1730m / 1800m
Climb if it rains: no
Best time of year: from May to October
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Rio Gere

This is Cortina’s newest crag (2009). In truth the first routes were bolted on this enormous outcrop at the start of the ’90′s by Diego Ghedina “Tomasc”, a member of the local “Scoiattoli” group who realised the potential of this crag.
Ghedina soon abandoned this project however as he discovered another attractive face: the “Crepe d’ Oucera bassi” which he bolted from start to finish with constant and convinced passion.
Many years have passed since then but recently two untiring Scoiattoli climbers decided to valorise the crag once more. The expert Mox (Massimo Da Pozzo) and Bruno Sartorelli sorted out the original routes and created numerous other, up to 40m long overhanging lines.
Considering the high degree of difficulty of this crag, the bolts are fairly distant frome one other. crags
Getting there: from Cortina follow signs east for Passo Tre Croci – Misurina. After circa 5 km a road breaks off left for the mountain hut “Brite de Larieto”. Continue alont the main road for another hundred meters to reach a small layby on the right – park here. A small path leads right (SE) into the forest of larch trees and on past a river bed and then steeply to the enormous outcrop (15 minutes from the car park).
The climbing: stamina climbing on steep terrain.
Approach: 15 minutes
Number of routes: 17
Lenght of pitches: from 15m to 40m (70m rope recommended)
Difficulty: from 6a to 8a (mostly 7)
Suitable for beginners: no
Orientation: east
Height: 1680m
Climb if it rains: no
Best time of year: from May to October. Summer is the best time
Link: this site
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Crepo Longo

Something like this had been missing: a crag with lots of easy routes, up excellent quality rock, ideal for those who although they don’t master the hardest difficulties, enjoy climbing for the sake of it, ideally in magnificent surroundings.
Tahnks to the tried and tested collaboration between the Cortina Mountain Guides and the Faloria cable car, a new crag was recently equipped above Cortina on the rocky outcrop called Crepo Longo, sul Monte Faloria.
At present the crag hosts 26 pitches up soldi greyish-black rock. Most climbs are in the 6a/6b region, but there are some 5c’s, two grade IV routes and at present just one 6c. The ease of access and south-west orientation combined with the beauty of the routes render Crepo Longo well-worth a visit.
Getting there: The easiest way to get there is definitely by using the Faloria cable car, from the centre of Cortina. At the top descend north-east down the winter piste. Before reaching the start of the chairlift which leads to Tondi di Faloria take the obvious path signposted for the crag.
The walk-in takes circa 20 minutes, download the GPS track in the pdf on the right. Alternatively, start from Rio Gere (by the Cristallo and Faloria chairlift), on the road which leads from Cortina to Passo Tre Croci. Park the car and continue on foot along the dirt road (path n.212) which winds its way along the Faloria piste to reach the start of the chairlift which leads up to Tondi. Continue on to quickly reach the crag. This option is obviously far longer, calculate circa 1 hour for the walk-in.
The climbing: vertical face climbing with plenty of holds. The harder pitches have some slightly overhanging sections.
Approach: 20 minutes (using cable-car)
Number of routes: at present the crag hosts 26 pitches up solid greyish-black rock.
Lenght of pitches: from 15m to 30m
Difficulty: from 4a to 6c (mostly 6b)
Suitable for beginners: yes
Orientation: south-west
Height: 2080m
Climb if it rains: no
Best time of year: from June to October. Summer is the best time
Link: this site
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Landro

The crag of Landro is situated just one minute from the parking lot. It is possible to climb here in bad weather, since the overhangs offers shelter from the rain.
The crag is divided into two sections: the first has easy slabs and middle grade vertical routes.
Higher up to the left lies the overhanging second section, characterised by longish routes which tend to be bouldery.
Getting there: thake the main road Alemagna (SS 51) from Cortina, drive over the Passo Cimabanche and past the turn-off for Carbonin to Misurina. Less than one km after this fork the road passes benath some overhangs. Park the car on the right. A path leads from here to the crag, just 50 m away.
Continue up leftwards for 5 minutes to reach the upper sector.
The climbing: some easy angled slab climbing, in the overhanging  section the routes are athletic and bouldery.
Approach: 1 minute
Number of routes: 60
Lenght of pitches: from 12m to 25m
Difficulty: from 5a to 8b (mostly 6)
Suitable for beginners: yes
Orientation: east
Height: 1420m
Climb if it rains: yes
Best time of year: from April to October
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Franchi

(Landro 2)
Like Landro’s crag, also this crag  is situated just one minute from the parking lot and it is possible to climb here in bad weather, since the overhangs offers shelter from the rain. crags
Getting there: thake the main road Alemagna (SS 51) from Cortina, drive over the Passo Cimabanche and past the Lake of Landro. After 500 m you will reach the Hotel Drei Zinnen. Park the car here: just behind the Hotel you will see the crag.
The climbing: steeply overhanging powerful routes.
Approach: 1 minute
Number of routes: 22
Lenght of pitches: from 15m to 30m
Difficulty: from 6a to 8b (mostly 7 and 8)
Suitable for beginners: no
Orientation: est
Height: 1406m
Climb if it rains: yes
Best time of year: from April to October
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Val Rienza

The tiring approach is definitely worth it: the atmosfere is superb, right in front ofthe north faces of the Tre Cime di Lavaredo, and the rock is great. The grey vertical section has big pockets, whereas the yellow section has sharp edges.
Getting there: thake the main road Alemagna (SS 51) from Cortina, drive over the Passo Cimabanche and past the Lake of Landro. After 500 m you will reach the Hotel Drei Zinnen. Park the car here. From here walk easwards along the dirt road (number 10 and 102) which crosses a flat section and leads to the river in the Val Rienza. The road now steepens and, following the river, leads past a rocky wall to a plateau; the Valle di Rinbianco comes into view to the left after a further 20 minutes.
A sign on a boulder indicates a steep path to the left; follow this for 10 minutes through a pine forest to the base of the wall.
The climbing: technical stamina climbing; crimps, shallow pockets, holes.
Approach: 50/60 minutes
Number of routes: 56
Lenght of pitches: from 10m to 36m
Difficulty: from 4a to 8a (mostly 6 and 7)
Suitable for beginners: yes
Orientation: south
Height: 1600m
Climb if it rains: no
Best time of year: from June to October
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San Bodo

San Bodo is situated at an altitude ranging from 1300 m to 1370 m and has mostly south-estern exposure: these characteristics makes San Bodo an exellent site for climbing in the spring and autumn months. It is advisable to avoid the warmer periods in summer.
Getting there: when driving from Cortina towards Belluno, after 10 km you will arrive in Chiapuzza; after a series of straight roads you may park outside the Cima Belprà and Cantore Hotels. Then walk up to the old railway lodging where you will see a signpost indicating San Bodo.Walk up a steep path though the woods for approximately 15 minutes until you get to the crag.
The climbing:  technical vertical walls that require excellent footwork.
Approach: 20 minutes
Number of routes: > 50
Lenght of pitches: from 10m to 27m
Difficulty: from 4b to 8b (mostly 6 and 7)
Suitable for beginners: no
Orientation: west and south/west
Height: 1380m
Climb if it rains: no
Best time of year: from April to November
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Erto

This crag is not in the Cortina area, but it has historical significance in that it marked the evolution of climbing in the larger area of Northern Veneto (to which Cortina belongs). Though there is a “no big deal” section, Erto is famous for its large number of difficult routes.  In addition, large overhanging rocks protect climbers in case of heavy rains.  Though long use has made some of the routes a bit slippery, the crag much deserves a visit. crags
Getting there: from Cortina, to reach Erto you take State road 51 (“Alemagna”) southbound.  Once in the town of Longarone (49 kilometers, about 30 miles from Cortina), take state road 251, following the signs to the Vajont dam.  Right after the dam, to the left the crag is immediately evident. The trip is about 50 minutes from Cortina.
The climbing: steeply overhanging powerful routes.
Approach: 1 minut
Number of routes: > 160
Lenght of pitches: from 10m to 40m
Difficulty: from 6a to 9a (mostly 7 and 8)
Suitable for beginners: yes (“No Big” area- many pitches grade 4 and 5)
Orientation: south
Height: 780m
Climb if it rains: yes (no “No Big” area)
Best time of year: all the year. Not in the coldest days of winter
Link: Planetmountain
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