Conturines south gully: first ski descent of Tremolada and Oberbacher
On 19 March Andrea Oberbacher and Francesco Tremolada carried out the first ski descent of the long and much-eyed Conturines south gully. On 15 March Tremolada had also carried the probable first repeat of the south gully on Piz Ciavazes, first skied by Tone Valeruz.
"This year I simply couldn't not try it! All the snow at the start of the season, combined with the recent strong winds from the north had filled the gully creating ideal conditions." This is what Francesco Tremolada had to say on 15 March after his solo descnt of the Piz Ciavaces South Gully, first descended by one of the greatest specialists of all times, Tone Valeruz from the Val di Fassa.
This journey down the Sella group was certainly a beautiful trip, so much so that his descent is likely to be the second overall. In some respects it was just a tast of things in store, as conditions this winter are truly special and another gully had matured for a descent which had been "carefully studied and monitored for a long time"
Just four days later Tremolada teamed up with fellow mountain guide Andrea Oberbacher to carry out the first descent of the Conturines South Gully. This is not only one of the longest gullies in the Dolomites, it is also extremely difficult in a grandiose and severe setting.
The two Alta Badia Guides ascended via the classic ski mountaineering itinerary which leads from Capanna Alpina to the summit of Cima Conturines 3064m. Instead of reaching the summit proper the two headed left, descended down the face, then traversed right to reach the gully proper.
"The first section is the most demanding due to the sustained angle and a couple of narrow sections where we nevertheless desceded with our skis strapped on" explained Tremolada, adding "where the gully curves left the angle eases off and the gully widens." The gully finished with a vertical rock barrier and the two traversed along the ledge to a narrow gully where they established 40m abseil.
"Despite the hard snow, cloud cover and low temperatures it turned out to be a beautiful and demanding descent in a spectacular ambient" concluded Tremolada.
It is worth noting that on the same day mountain Guide Ingo Irsara, together with Martin Shuen and René Isara from Badia and La Valle descended the same gully, after having ascended the same line. Shortly before the summit they met Tremolada and Oberbacher who were descending. At the end of their climb they skied down the gully to the final traverse, where they met up with the other two and shared the finishing abseil.