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The route line of Colonne d'Ercole (1200m, max IX, obl. VIII+) , Punta Tissi, Civetta, Dolomites, established between 2009 and 2012 by Alessandro Baù, Alessandro Beber and Nicola Tondini. First free ascent 7-8/09/2012 by Baù, Beber and Tondini.
Photo by A. Baù
Alessandro Beber climbing the cracks of Colonne d'Ercole
Photo by A. Baù

Colonne d'Ercole, new climb up Punta Tissi in Civetta by Baù, Beber and Tondini

12.09.2012 by Planetmountain

On 7 - 8 September 2012 Alessandro Baù, Alessandro Beber and Nicola Tondini made the first free ascent of Colonne d'Ercole (1200m, max IX, obl. VIII+) up Punta Tissi on the NW Face of Civetta, Dolomites, the great new route they established between 2009 and 2012.

A spectacular new route up the NW Face of Monte Civetta in the Dolomites, put up by Alessandro Baù, Alessandro Beber and Nicola Tondini. 29 pitches, pegs only and difficulties up to IX... put in other words, all the right ingredients for a mammoth rock climb, not just in the Dolomites. We're talking about Colonne d'Ercole, the circa 1200m high route up Punta Tissi first ascended Baù, Beber and Tondini between the summers of 2009 and 2012 and which the trio has now climbed all-free in a 2 day, 25 hour push.

"Up until mid height" Tondini explained "Colonne d'Ercole ascends vertically along Punta Tissi between the routes Via del Pilastro by Leoni-Martini-Tranquillini and Kein Rest von Sehnsucht by Christoph Heinz. In the upper section it weaves its way between Kein Rest von Sehnsucht and the Philip Flamm corner. To be precise, just like Kein Rest our route shares the 150m high pedestal of the Martini route and then where the pedestal finishes Via Martini bears decidedly left to reach the obvious corner, while ours follows a series of cracks to the left of Kein Rest to then cross the characteristic black streak in the middle of the large yellow overhang. Colonne d'Ercole then climbs Punta Tissi's large black central slabs which have been avoided by the other two routes. At half-height, where Kein Rest shares a pitch with Philip Flamm, Colonne d’Ercole shares a belay with Kein Rest where this traverses left. From here Colonne d’Ercole then breaches the large section of untouched rock between Kein Rest and the Philip Flamm corner. The first ascent required a total of 7 days, with 2 bivies, between 2009 and 2012 due to our various job commitments."

The trio’s enthusiasm for this route is, understandably, unbridled: "We reckon" explained Tondini "that this is an absolutely unique climb which, thanks to its beauty (fantastic rock on at least 25 of its 29 pitches), its difficulty (max IX, obligatory VIII+ and circa 16 pitches between grades VII and IX in its circa 1200m length), and the ethics applied during the first ascent (only normal pegs on the pitches (65) and belays (50), with no aid used during the first ascent), can now be placed among other reference routes for mountaineering in the Dolomites."

Those who have in-depth knowledge of Civetta are aware that Tondini, Baù and Beber have strong ties with this face. It's easy to imagine therefore that their umpteenth adventure up this extraordinary face must have been something truly special. Which obviously requires  greater analysis... in the meantime, to get an idea of what it's all about check out the photos of Colonne d'Ercole.

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