A great short climb in Cinque Torri, the Raponzole’s climb
The Raponzole’s climb is one of the many beautiful climbs in the Cinque Torri area.
In my opinion, it is truly a magnificent ascent, unjustly underclimbed. Despite the walls of Cinque Torri often being teeming with climbers, this route remains unknown to many.
Via delle Raponzole ascends the eastern part of Torre Grande, the southern summit. On the eastern side of Torre Grande, but on the northern summit, there are other bolted routes. One of these is Finlandia, where you sometimes have to wait in line to climb. Well, in my view, Raponzole’s climb has nothing to envy Finlandia, it’s only less known but equally beautiful.
So, why is it so infrequently climbed? Perhaps simply because only a few know about it?
A brief history of Raponzole’s climb
The route was opened on September 7, 1985, by friends Franco Gaspari and Mauro Bianchi. At that time, Franco was already proudly wearing the red jersey of the Scoiattoli di Cortina (the oldest Italian climbing group), while Mauro would join the prestigious group the following year. The original route was later slightly modified to make it completely independent of the Diretta Dimai.
When the Raponzole’s route was first opened, it followed the initial traverse of Diretta Dimai entirely and then abandoned it to go straight up, while Diretta continued to the left and reached the first belay point.
Franco and Mauro used mostly traditional pitons and only a few 8 mm bolts, manually drilling the rock with the classic “hand drill.”
Considering the difficulty of the route and the fact that they didn’t yet use the hook (anchor), it was truly a small but great feat.
As for the curious name of Via delle Raponzole, here is the explanation: Raponzole were two beautiful common friends, Nadia Dimai and Maria Clara Walpoth. Both girls were skilled climbers and became part of the Scoiattoli group in 1987.
Nadia Dimai later also became a qualified Alpine Guide, a profession she still pursues with skill and passion. Unfortunately, the beautiful and sunny Maria Clara, fondly known as “Iaia” to her friends, lost her life in a tragic avalanche accident in 1989, leaving an indelible mark in the heart of the mountaineering community. It was an avalanche of enormous proportions.
Raponzole’s climb nowadays
As I mentioned earlier, the original route was later modified.
Today, the Raponzole’s climb avoids the initial traverse of Diretta Dimai and starts straight up the wall from where Diretta begins.
The old pitons have been replaced with 10 mm bolts, and the belays now have chain anchors with rings, making the climb safer.
The difficulty of the climb ranges from 6a to 6b, and if it weren’t for the fact that to reach the start of the route, you have to climb the first two pitches of Via Miriam, we could define Via delle Raponzole as a plaisir route.
Number of pitches: 6
Maximum difficulty: 6b
Start: The start of Raponzole’s route is the same as Via Miriam, with which it shares the first pitch and part of the second. The start is located at the lowest point of the southern wall of Torre Grande, near a noticeable fissured dihedral.
Gear: 10 quickdraws. The Raponzole’s climb is well protected (plaisir). Friends may be useful for the first pitch of Via Miriam. Two ropes are necessary if you decide to descend by abseiling down the large crack that separates Cima Sud from Cima Nord.
L1: 5.7 – 36 m (Via Miriam)
L2: 5.5 – 26 m (Miriam – Diretta Dimai)
L3: 5.10d – 28 m
L4: 5.10c – 22 m
L5: 5.10b – 25 m
L6: 5.8 – 20 m
Note on the descent
Once at the summit, there are two options for descending Via delle Raponzole.
- A chain on the north side of the Tower allows, with a short abseil (about 15 m), to reach a terrace formed by huge blocks wedged in the large crack that separates Cima Sud from Cima Nord. Locate a second chain and with a long double abseil (two 60m ropes required), descend into the crack. Then walk on gravel to the edge of the gully. Here, with a final abseil of about 20 meters (chain on the left, facing downhill), reach the base of the tower.
- Identify a chain positioned about 3 meters below the summit, on the south side, and a few meters before the western end of the flat summit. Abseil (60m rope essential. Warning: tie a knot at the end of the rope) to a saddle where the normal route passes. Descend with easy climbing along a gully (scrambling) westward. Reach a large terrace. Ignore the metal cable (useful instead for climbing to the Cima Nord of Torre Grande) and descend, bypassing large wedged blocks, to the terrace a little further to the left. From here, climb slightly to a col, then descend on the opposite side (north – a step of II grade) until reaching a last anchor. With a 25m abseil, you’ll reach the base of the wall.
Just for the sake of completeness, it must be said that it is still possible to avoid the first two pitches of Via Miriam and reach the start of Raponzole’s climb by following another route.
To do this, you need to climb between the wedged blocks at the base of the eastern fissure of Torre Grande. Where the passage is blocked, climb on the right side (2 pitons – III grade) and reach a large terrace (bolt). Descend two meters and go up on the left-hand terrace (1 piton), cross it, and descend a couple of meters.
Here, behind a large split boulder, you’ll find the first belay of Raponzole’s route (3 bolts), where the traverse of Diretta Dimai also begins.
A few words about the Raponzolo di Roccia
The Raponzolo di roccia (rock raponzolo), whose scientific name is Physoplexis comosa, is a typical and quite rare plant in the central-eastern Alpine region of Italy.
It is a plant that has survived glaciations, a beautiful and little-known flower. It is easily recognizable thanks to its distinctive inflorescences. Its ecological characteristics make it a true rarity in Italian flora, contributing to making Italy the European country with the highest number of seed plants.
Its conservation is of fundamental importance. The Raponzolo di Roccia, together with other endemic species, is one of the countless alpine endemisms that can be found in our peninsula.