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Freeing the roof of Vint ani do (8a+ 350m), Sella, Dolomites
Photo by Moritz Tirler
Vint ani do (8a+ 350m), Sella, Dolomites
Photo by Moritz Tirler
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Meisules de la Bièsces, Dolomites: Riegler brothers free Vint ani do

20.03.2008 by Planetmountain

On 2/03 Florian and Martin Riegler made the first free ascent of "Vint ani do” (8a+ 350m), Meisules de la Bièsces (2457m - Sella, Dolomites).

At the start of March Florian Riegler and his brother Martin carried out the first free ascent of "Vint ani do” (8a+ 350m) on the southwest face of Meisules de la Bièsces (2457m - Sella, Dolomites). The 12 pitch route had been first ascended by Val Gardena locals Ivo Rabanser and Stefan Comploi in 2004 and originally graded VII A2. The two brothers believe the route now weighs in 8a+ and describe the line as being characterised by the large roof crux at mid-height, followed by hallmark Rabanser & Comploi technical climbing in a mountain environment.


"Vint ani do” by Florian and Martin Riegler
This splendid route had been engrained in my memory for a while, and a year ago I attempted it for the first time with a friend. We climbed all day long, completing the last two pitches in the dark. We spent two hours descending, sinking into fresh snow before finally reaching the car.

The roof is located at circa 120m and it taxed us completely; the thought of freeing the route seemed impossible at the time. Nonetheless I found myself beneath the wall six months on, incredulous, with my brother Florian. Our objective was to climb all 350m free.

Once again the greatest difficulties were climbing through the roof., but we managed to find a 10-move boudler sequence. After a short traverse the crux starts with two undercuts, then there's a small edge on the right and a two-finger pocket on the left. A dyno leads to a relatively good hold and then the real difficulties begin: dyno from two microedges to a good pocket.

The roof could go free therefore, but to complete the perfect free ascent we still had to climb the other 200m of alpine climbing up to 7b+.

It's 2 March 2008. Florian and I walk-in to the wall, and there are 15 centimeters of fresh snow! But luckily the rock dries quickly and we're super motivated.

The first pitches go well and we even send the extremely technical 7b+ straight-off. But the next pitches, a bit friable, cost us a lot of energy: we reach the roof much later and much more tired than anticipated.

We need a rest and our bodies need a good dose of energy... we've got to give it everything we can. We climb extremely concentrated and mobilise all our inner reserves. We've done it! We've carried out our objective, the free ascent of all 12 pitches. Satisfied and tired we abandon the summit. The sun sets behind Sassolungo and we leave a beautiful adventure behind us.

"Vint ani do" is perhaps the hardest route in the Sella - Sassolungo group. The Dolomite climbing is beautiful on slabs, cracks, roofs, pockets and edges and we believe it could become a classic "hard route".

by Florian and Martin Riegler

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