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First descent of Pelmetto, Francesco Vascellari and Loris De Barba, marzo 2013
Photo by Loris De Barba
First descent of Pelmetto, Francesco Vascellari and Loris De Barba, marzo 2013
Photo by Loris De Barba

Monte Pelmetto, Dolomites: the ski descent by Francesco Vascellari and Loris De Barba

28.01.2014 by Planetmountain

The report of the first ski descent, carried out on 15 May 2013 by Francesco Vascellari and Loris De Barba off the summit of Monte Pelmetto in the Dolomites.

Last year, more precisely on 15 May 2013, the Belluno-based skiers Francesco Vascellari and Loris De Barba carried out what is believed to be the first ski descent from the summit of Monte Pelmetto in the Dolomites. A descent described the two as "extreme and highly exposed (55°, 1500m)" that winds its way past steep rock steps and requires rarely-found snow conditions."

Francesco Vascellari and Loris De Barba met by chance. The former had just written the ski mountaineering guidebook to the Alpago massif, the latter the guidebook to the adjacent Piave Dolomites. Their 30-year age difference didn't stop them from forming a special friendship and throughout 2013 they made some important descents in the Dolomites: the first Direttissima off Cima dei Preti (Dolomiti d’Oltre Piave), the first ski descent of the SW gully on Monte Dolada (Dolomiti Bellunesi) and a repeat of Pic de Chiadenis (Dolomiti di Sappada).

That same winter Vascellari, D’Alpaos and friends also made the first ski descent of Triangolo (Sexten Dolomites), of Forcella piccola di Stalata (Dolomiti di Comelico), Monte Righile's north gully (Dolomiti di Sappada) and above all the first ski descent down the dangerous east face of Monte Pelf (Dolomiti Bellunesi), attempted three years previously but abandoned due to rockfall.

Poi, da una ricognizione sulla ormai classica scialpinistica al Monte Civetta, i due scorgono la presenza di condizioni di copertura ideali e così vanno all’attacco della Fessura del Pelmo. Al termine del canalone si asseconda una ampia esposta banca verso sinistra, tutta continuativamente sciabile. Con un lungo aggiramento si raggiunge il salto del mago (IV). I due lo trovano ridotto a 8 metri di ghiaccio, superati in velocità (al ritorno lasceranno un chiodo, per aiutarsi con un cordino). Più in alto un altro passaggio costringe a qualche manovra alpinistica, ossia il superamento delle gradonate sopra lo spigolo (espostissime e precarie). Infine si apre la meraviglia del ripido pendio finale, sospeso sulla valle di Zoldo (sarà un’emozione sciarlo in discesa), e dell’ampia cresta, quasi una calotta, che conduce alla cima.

Then, while ascending the classic ski mountaineering itinerary up Monte Civetta, the two noticed ideal snow conditions and set off to try the Fessura del Pelmo. At the end of the gully a wide, exposed snow bank led left and could be skied continuously. A large circumnavigation led to the Salto del Mago (IV), an 8m ice section climbed quickly (on their return they left a peg and sling here). Higher up another section proved technical once again, namely the steep exposed, friable stepped terrain above the arête. This led to the final snow slope, suspended above the Zoldo valley (skiing this proved exciting indeed), and the wide crest that led to the summit.

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