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Emanuele Ciullo climbing Leben ist jetzt, Valle di Tures (Bz)
Photo by arch. K.Astner
Emanuele Ciullo climbng Leben ist jetzt, Valle di Tures (Bz)
Photo by arch. K.Astner
Valle di Tures (Bz)
Photo by arch. K.Astner
Valle di Tures (Bz)
Photo by arch. K.Astner
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Leben ist jetzt, Dolomites mixed route by Astner and Ciulli


In January Kurt Astner and Emanuele Ciulli made the first ascent of Leben ist jetzt (200m, IV/M7+/ice 80/90°), a modern 5 pitch mixed route in Val di Tures (Riva di Tures, Dolomites).

Leben ist jetzt (Life is now) is the third route for Astner on the Rastental Nock wall close to Riva di Tures. Niine years ago he and another Dolomites' expert Christoph Hainz made the firsta ascent of Pustertaler Halbgefrorenes (230m/IV/8-/ice 90°) and Zapfenlos 190m/IV/M8+/ice 90°, both of which still await their firt repeat.

Perhaps this is why Astner returned with Ciullio to open a new route nearby which offers 5 pitches of IV/M7+/ice 80/90°. Or perhaps because life needs to be seized today, as Astner says, on this "diamond quality" route.

by Kurt Astner

Riva di Tures, a valley known for its icefalls and post-climbing parties! A few years ago there was an ice climbing structure in the centre of the village, village which counts a mere 350 souls. We used to go there four times a week, to climb, meet up, talk about latest ascents. It was a fantastic and peaceful time...

Then, in 2000, we found a "peaceful" place right beneath the wall called “Rastental Nock” (2558m). Together with Christoph Hainz I made the first ascent of two routes up to 7 pitches long. The routes are equipped with normal pegs and trad gear and perhaps it's also because of this that they haven't been repeated yet! Or possibly because these routes aren't well known...

We weren't the first however to touch that wall. In summer 2000 two local climbers had placed the first bolts through the yellow overhang! We didn't know about this at the time, and we climbed to the left where it was possible to climb using our style of ascent. Normal pegs and trad gear, up to where it was possible. It's a shame though that our project of a direct start remained there, incomplete...

Summer 2009: I got to know Emaneule Ciullo, another great fried and above all someone who is always motivated. He is another young climber from Bunico who has learnt the trade from Christoph Hainz... Last summer I climbed extensively with Emaneule when we carried out a series of ascents in the Dolomites. Then, when the summer adventure drew to a close, we continued with ice climbs! This year conditions are truly exceptional, wherever a drop of water comes down it freezes up, everything comes into condition.

All I needed to do was tell Ciullo about the first ascent on the wall that you see as you enter the valley, and his eyes glistened with the desire to give it a go... So we went to see if the route to the left was still to be climbed. Nine years had passed since we'd carried out the first ascent of the other two routes.

We departed with out skis from the car park and skinned up the sleep slope directly to the start of our project. We looked around a saw just one rope on “Pustertaler Halbgefrohrenes”... who knows why it's there. I set off up the first pich with a set of Camalots and normal pegs. The rock was better to the right and I managed to place relatively good gear. I reached a drip after 10m and this led left of the roof. I placed a peg and climbed over this. Up to here the route was very beautiful.

The rest of the pitch was a mix of rock, each and, towards the end, even bushes! I set up a belay and descended. Ciullo was almost dying of cold. After some hot tea I set off again via toprope and I attempted to clean the pitch a bit. In the evening the result was a pretty good new pitch, but that great "satisfaction" was missing... Enough for today. We descended quickly with our skis and shortly afterwards we were back at the car, half frozen.

We met a few days later at the Brunico AlpStation to discuss how to continue. I needed a day of super motivation to climb the second pitch: the rock there seemed really chossy!

Once again we were at the belay in between the bushes: comfortable enough to organise our gear and belay almost sitting down. But when I set off for the second pitch I almost felt like a Christmas tree, seeing how much gear I had clipped to my harness. For the entire first section I seemed more like a lumberjack than a mountain guide!but the higher I climbed the more the rock improved. After 20m I finally managed to plant my axe into some ice: I'd climbed through an important section. A mix of iice and snow awaited me up the next 20m, then I managed to establish a belay beneath an overhanf on the right. Before descending I had a quick look at the third pitch: I'd need to climb beneath a big roof which would lead to the final drip.

I abseiled down to the first belay where Ciullo greeted me with a smile. We'd done a good job, even the temperatures had helped us! It wasn't like last time, at minus 15 °C. Before finishing off the day I had another go on toprope. I carried all our gear to the second pitch so as to finish things off next go.

Third day on the all. Today I wanted to lead and free all pitches, redpoint, this is what interests us! Because the style of climbing a waterfall should be the same as on rock. The route isn't particularly difficult but it's never safe. It's quite possible that an axe slips from its placements. So, with my lumberjack experience and mountain guide licence, I reached the second belay, without falling...

I set off on the third pitch where I was greeted by some beautiful ice. I established a belay a few meters beneath the roof. The final meters to the belay were without ice so I'd climbed using my hands, axes on my back. I placed three pegs in a crack. "Safe, climb now" I shouted down to Ciullo. We were almost at the top of our project, just a final drip to reach the easy finish.

I traversed right slightly and then exited through a "window". Perfect! Another 5 or 6 meters of vertical ice were all that was left. I then established a bleay above the drip and got ready for the finish: 50m of 70° ice, what a beautiful route. Truly a collector's diamond!

We reached the top, tired but happy, and began to get ready for the descent. Four abseils later and we were at the base of the wall. Darkness had set in, we packed our rucksacks and descended to the cat. We left the pegs in-situ for those who want to follow us...

Kurt Astner






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