Wüstenblume, new rock climb up Sass de la Crusc
Josef Hilpold and Ulrich Viertler have made the first ascent of Wüstenblume (400m, VIII+), a new route up Sass de la Crusc in the Dolomites.
Over a six day period this summer the two South Tyrolean climbers Josef Hilpold and Ulrich Viertler made the first ascent of Wüstenblume - desert flower - up the pillar located between the routes Mutschlecher - Großrubatscher and Diedro Mayerl on Sass de la Crusc above Val Badia in the Dolomies. The route was freed on 28 September with difficulties up to VIII+ protected by pegs and trad gear, while the for the first ascent Hilpold and Viertler inverted the traditional rules of the "game", climbing first the upper half, then the lower half of the route. Furthermore, they abseiled from the summit to reach the previous highpoint and fixed ropes were used during the first ascent, as Viertler explains in this detailed report we asked them for.
WÜSTENBLUME by Ulrich Viertler
Sass de la Crusc- Heiligkreuzkofel -is our favorite mountain and the epitome of climbing in the Dolomites. We've both repeated numerous routes and leaving our own trace on this peak has always been one of our dreams.
The fact is that this section of the face provided just enough space for a new route. After carefully studying the face we identified a line, but we didn't know if it was feasible due to the difficulties or the rock quality. We wanted to climb using trad gear and normal pegs only, no bolts, and so we decided to try the upper section first that starts from the large ledge at mid-height.
On our first day we were joined by our friend Johannes Bachmann and we climbed the first pitches up the Mayerl corner to the large ledge, from where we traversed left for circa 40m to reach the start of our line. The climbing proved very demanding and we managed to climb just one pitch that day.
The next day we abseiled down to our previous highpoint and then almost managed to climb another two pitches. I say almost, as this second pitch turned out to be very challenging indeed. We were really tired mentally and so we decide to abseil off, recover and then hopefully finish things off the next day.
On day three we were really motivated to complete our unfinished business. Josef climbed superbly and unlocked the key to the crux, while I climbed the last pitch and reached the top basked in the final rays of sunlight. Happy to have climbed the upper section we then walked back down into the valley.
On the next three days we managed to establish the first 5 pitches and we used fixed ropes to reach our highpoint and continue the climb. The rock quality was surprisingly good and we managed to used plenty of nuts and Friends.
After about 6 days of hard work, physical and mental effort and numerous falls we managed to complete our line. All that was needed was to climb it free in a day. The first attempt went badly: when we reached the base of the route it began to snow. We were really disappointed and I began to doubt whether we'd succeed due to the early onset of winter. But the forecast was great for 28 September and in 8 hours we sent one pitch after the next to free the entire line. Everything was perfect, it was a brilliant climbing day and we reached the summit at sunset, overjoyed.
TOPO: Wüstenblume, Sass de la Crusc, Dolomites