Cinque Torri, Via Miriam

A classic climb that always likes

On June 29, 1927, the Ampezzo guides Angelo and Giuseppe Dimai, known as “Déo,” drew a new difficult route on the sunlit southern face of Torre Grande (Cima Sud) of Cinque Torri.
Accompanying the two young guides were a friend, Arturo Gaspari, also known as “Becheréto,” and a spirited twenty-nine-year-old lady, Miriam E. O’Brien, an American of Irish descent and a fearless climber, to whom the route was later dedicated.

The “Miriam,” a testing ground for generations of mountaineers, is still cherished by climbers today due to the solidity of the rock, favorable exposure, and varied and enjoyable passages.

On August 3, 2001, Miriam O’Brien’s son, Brian Underhill, intentionally journeyed from Boulder, Colorado, to the Dolomites with the intention of repeating the ascent opened by his mother during the heroic era of Ampezzo mountaineering. Underhill, a sixty-two-year-old retiree, proved to be an excellent climber.

I had the pleasure of accompanying him on the “Miriam,” and Brian successfully conquered the classic wall’s 160 meters with great satisfaction, accompanied by his twelve-year-old daughter, Vivian.

At that time, Miriam’s son promised to return to Cortina to introduce his other two young daughters to the magical rocky world that enamored his intrepid mother back in the 1920s. Her name remains carved into one of the most beloved ascents of the Ampezzo valley.
However, I never crossed paths with him again.

Via Miriam - Cinque Torri
The line of Via Miriam

The Miriam Route and some historical events

It appears that the first winter ascent of the renowned Miriam Route on Torre Grande d’Averau was achieved on January 3, 1954, by Marino Bianchi and F. Faccin of Monza, who were also the first to conquer the Direttissima of the Squirrels on the same day.

In the same month, another Monza native, Andrea Oggioni, with friends, completed the second winter ascent of the Miriam Route.

The first ascent for tourists and the first female ascent of the route was accomplished on July 7, 1927, by Margaret Helburn of Cambridge and Miriam E. O’Brien of Boston, guided by Angelo Dimai and two other great mountaineers: Antonio Dimai, Angelo and Giuseppe’s father, and Angelo Dibona Pilato, a symbol of the Ampezzo guides.

The trio dedicated the route to the American client, naming it Miriam, a name that soon circled the globe.

The date of the first solitary ascent of the short yet challenging route is unknown. According to documented sources, in the early 1930s, the young Ignazio Dibona, Angelo’s eldest son and an alpine guide since 1931, climbed the route alone in just seventeen minutes.

In the three summit registers of Torre Grande, placed there from 1927 to 1948, no traces of solitary ascents are found. As for me, I climbed Miriam for the first time fifty years after its first ascent on August 26, 1977.

Link to Mountain Project.

Enrico Maioni Mountain Guide Dolomiti

Enrico Maioni

Certified Mountain Guide, with a wide know-how of the Dolomiti.
I was born in the heart of the Dolomites, where I live and work to this day.
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