Brenta Base Camp #1 - meetings, new climbs and lightening bolts
The first report of the Brenta Base Camp, the small 'expedition' into the the heart of the Brenta Dolomites during the Discover Brenta Dolomites event to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the first traverse of this massif. Alessandro Beber reports about Scintilla (450m, VIII), the new climb up the East Face of Brenta Alta first ascended together with Simone Banal, Alessandro Baù and Claudia Mario.
Semi-serious dispatch from the Brenta Base Camp – episode #1
Programmed slap bang in the middle of the wettest summer in living memory, our expedition into the Brenta Dolomites couldn't help but be "blessed" by heavy rainfall, but this didn't discourage us in the slightest.
It's true, to climb all the routes we'd planned we had to deal with the fleeting glimpses of bright spells, meaning early wake-ups and fast returns, but we were in great company and didn't even have the time to complain.
The comfortable walls of the Baito dei Massodi witnessed an incessant coming and going of friends, climbers and non-climbers, all united by the joy of being up in the mountains (a well-stocked larder always helps fuel the fun!).
We began on 28 July with a reccie up to Brenta Alta, to check if the line we'd planned was actually virgin. This couldn't be taken for granted seeing that we were heading for such a famous face... A route next to that of legendary Bruno Detassis could obviously have already tempted many... Once again though the rule of thumb worked wonders: if the start is hard, the chances of stumbling across previous attempts decrease dramatically!
On day one we climbed to beneath the overhangs, here it started raining but “whocares”, we remained dry and established three great pitches and descended back down to valley content with our day's work.
It poured with rain during the next two days and so we opted for some culture by visiting an alpinist with a capital A, the unique Mariano Frizzera, to see how he crafts his pegs... It's hard to say whether listening to the endless stories of his adventures was more beautiful than watching him in his workshop wielding the tools he's used all his life. Actually, this dilemma proved only minor since Frizzera managed to work and talk at the same time without the slightest problem.
You'd never want to say goodbye to people like Frizzera, ever-smiling and righteous, but at a certain point we had to pack our bags and return to the Baito hut. The alarm went off at 3:30 the next morning, at dawn we were already high on the face... one pitch led incredibly quickly to the next, past beautiful rock and difficulties never too extreme.
Right in the middle of the the black central slabs we stumbled across an unknown route, but we quickly realised that this came in from right, from the ledge at half-height and continued off left. Our line climbed from left to right as so we bid farewell to the mysterious pegs and continued upwards, somewhat relieved.
After the ledge used by the Detassis route we tackled the final pillar and, here too, the rock was absolutely gobsmacking. All went well, far too well... and so a big black cloud promptly rolled in to ruin the fun. We were below a roof, two pitches from the summit, when it started to pour and the official comment was “Oh well, it's just a bit of rain... importantly there's no lightening!” We only just finished the sentence and the God of thunder, called upon, made sure we'd get our money's worth by hurling a lighting bolt our way. The effect of this was like being smashed on the with a wooden chair. We weren't overjoyed as we waited out the storm and there was an unpleasant smell of something burnt in the air, but fortunately lightening didn't strike again and we managed to sneak off the face, descend and celebrate our "sparkling" climb and plan the next one!
by Alessandro Beber
DISCOVER BRENTA DOLOMITES 2014
25/07/2014 - DoloMitiche 2.0: Brenta Base Camp time
09/07/2014 - Discover Brenta Dolomites 2014
Visit to Mariano Frizzera
>> DOWNLOAD THE PROGRAMME DISCOVER BRENTA DOLOMITES SUMMER 2014
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