There are countless classic routes in the Dolomites, loved by alpinists from all over the world, and it would impossible to list them all on one page. For this reason, I will point out the most interesting ones in the area of Cortina d’Ampezzo, the wonderful town where I was born and where I still live.
The routes selected here are not only the result of my personal choice but it is undoubtedly a selection of very popular ones that are worthy of great interest and that contributed to climbing history in the Dolomites.
Thanks to the rich biography and to the information accessible online, it’s not difficult to find out many more routes that not listed here. Click here for the rock climbing grades conversion.
VIA MIRIAM A. and G.Dimai, A.Gaspari, Miriam O’Brien – 1927 The Miriam is a classic, and it let you take confidence with the Dolomite rock. Due to thousand of climbers climbed this route the rock is polished, anyway I think climb this route is worthwhile. The Cinque Torri are, by definition, everyone’s “gym”: for alpinists and sport climbers, for beginners to experts alike. It is on this jewel, made up of the most diverse boulders and towers, that the alpine season is prepared, that the “engines are revved” before climbing the massive walls nearby, such as the Tofane and Lagazuoi. Read more about Cinque Torri.
Difficulty: IV – V Access: 15 minutes Descent: hour 1 Very good rock classic dolomites climbs Face: south Best time: May-November.
Eleonora climbing via Miriam
Cima Cason di Formin
DIEDRO DALLAGO (Dallago “openbook”) F. Dallago e D. Costantini – 1970 This route climbs a peak located in wild and very attractive site, and it is never too crowded, unlike the most famous climbs of the Dolomites.
Difficulty: IV Access: hours 1.30 Descent: hours 2 Very good rock classic dolomites climbs Face: north-west Best time: June-September Note: the only difficult section (V) on the first pitch can be avoided by starting 20m to the left and climbing up the series of small ledges directly to the first stance.
Cason de Formin
Col dei Bòs
VIA ALVERÁ (spigolo sud) S. Alverà e L. Menardi 1947
It is renowned for its beauty and excellent rock, and it too can be climbed early and late in the climbing season. The harder pitches are well-protected.
Difficulty: IV and V Lenght: 360 m Access: hours 0.40 Descent: hours 1 Very good rock Face: south Best time: May-October Note: two technical steps.
Col dei Bos
SPIGOLO JORI Jori e Kathe Bròske – 1909 This is one of the most interesting and popular climbs in the vicinity of Cortina. It tackles the cracklines up the Punta Fiames’ obvious, airy arête. The view opens onto the Ampezzo valley is without equal. Together with the Primo Spigolo (see below) the Spigolo Jori is another example of classic climbing routes in Dolomites. Do you want to read a true story about Spigolo Jori?
Difficulty: V Lenght: 500 m Access: hours 1.15 Descent: hours 1.30 Good rock Face: south Best time: May-October Note: really nice edge climb.
Tofana di Rozes
PRIMO SPIGOLO (first rib) A. Alverà e U. Pompanin – 1946
An extremely popular mid-grade route. It initially follows the large corner at the base of the arête, then continues up slightly to the left of the arête, before moving right to avoid the roofs. This traverse and corner above constitute the crux.
Difficulty: IV and V, one steep V+ Lenght: 430 m Access: hours 0.40 Descent: hour 1.30 Good rock Face: south Best time: June-October Note: start early morning, often the route is crowded. The second pitch is difficult, too, but can be avoided by climbing an easier variation to the left.
Via Alverà – Pompanin
Tofana di Rozes
SOUTH FACE (via “classica”) A. Dimai, A. Verzi, G. Siorpaes e R. Eotvos – 1901 All the climbers who watch south wall of Rozes want climb it, at least once in their lifetime. Great route, open over a hundred years ago! For sure is one of the best trad climbing routes in dolomites. Although some sections are very easy, the route is never trivial. Do you want to read a true story?
Difficulty: IV Lenght: 1150 m Access: hours 1.15 Descent: hours 2 Good rock Face: south Best time: July-September Note: very long route in heart of Tofana di Ròzes. Not easy to find the right way.
Via Dimai – Eotvos Tofana
Tofana di Rozes
PILASTRO (pillar) E. Costantini and R. Apollonio – 1944 This is surely the most famous and popular route on this wall, thanks to its intrinsic beauty and perfect line. It is long and demanding. The two famous roofs and the often wet “schiena di mulo” chimney are to be found in the more difficult upper section, which also contains the crux. For the local climbers, the classic of classics. In 1981, when I was young and a little bit stupid 🙂 , I did the first solo ascent – no rope – of this route.
Difficulty: VI and A0 (6c+) Lenght: 600 m Access: hours 0.40 Descent: hour 1.45 Very good rock Face: south Best time: June-September Note: a Ettore Costantini masterpiece. Good shape required.
Climbing on Tofana’s pillar
VIA LACEDELLI L. Lacedelli, L. Ghedina e G. Lorenzi – 1952
This is one of the classic outings in the Dolomites. Great intuition enabled the first ascentionists to work their way up this immense overhanging wall.
Difficulty: VI and A0 (6c) Lenght: 480 m Access: hours 1.40 Descent: hours 1.45 to “Capanna Alpina” The rock is not perfect, but the route has been cleaned by climbers Face: south-west Best time: July-September Note: historical route by the “Squirrels of Cortina” The crux is a delicate cross to the left, at the end of the fourth pitch.
Approaching the first ledge
Cima Piccola di Lavaredo
SPIGOLO GIALLO (Yellow edge) E. Comici R. Zanutti e M. Varale – 1933 Every year hundreds of climbers flock to the Spigolo Giallo. Few routes have such a perfect line, and few routes get quite so crowded. Known by climbers all over the world, the Yellow Edge does not need comments, just watch it.
Difficulty: VI and A0 (VI+) Lenght: 350 m Access: hours 0.45Descent: hours 1.30 The rock is not perfect, but the route has been cleaned by climbers Face: south Best time: June-September Note: it is best climbed out of season and preferably avoided at the weekends.
On the Yellow Edge
Cima Grande di Lavaredo
SPIGOLO DIBONA (Dibona arete) A. Dibona, E. Stubler – 1909
Spectacular climb at the Tre Cime di Lavaredo along the route to the Cima Grande di Lavaredo opened by the legendary Angelo Dibona. The route is likely to have been climbed a year before the official first climb, by Rudi Eller from Lienz, in a free solo climb in 1908. The itinerary of this great classic route climbs mostly along the northeast spur, overlooking at times in some sections the impressive north face of the Cima Grande.
Difficulty: IV+ Lenght : 430 m to the circular ledge Access: 40 minutes. Descent: hours 2 Good rock Face: north-east Best time: July-September Note: there are a series of stepped ledges, and there is some loose rock: beware of rocks falling from parties above. Start early morning, often the route is crowded. Don’t underestimate the long and complex descent!
Cima Grande di Lavaredo
VIA COMICI – DIMAI E. Comici, G. e A. Dimai – 1933 The Comici is the classic example of climbing in the Dolomites. A climb of all respect, that must be climbed by only experienced climbers. One of the most famous climbing routes in Dolomites. In bad weather it is very hard to get off from the wall, where the chimney become real rivers of water. Only with dry conditions, or it could be epic 🙂
Difficulty: VI and A0 (6b+) Lengh: 500 m Access: hour 1 Descent: hours 2 The rock is not perfect, but the route has been cleaned by climbers Face: north Best time: June-September Note: a real exploit of the three climbers. The first half is very demanding and should not be underestimated.
Tony Scott climing via Comici
Lots of people who comes to the Dolomites are searching for trad, sport climbing and via ferrata guidebooks. I recommend this book to English speaking climbers: “The Dolomites Rock Climbs and Via Ferrata”, published by Rockfax. For the first time a guidebook covers all three and is undoubtedly a good choice for people who want to discover the endless climbing variety that the Dolomites has to offer. Read more about the guidebook here.
Do you like sport climbing? You will also find in the Dolomites a fantastic place to play!
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