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The route line of the Leila variation to the Via Leber Kenedi on Cason de Formin (Croda da Lago, Dolomites).
Photo by Enrico Maioni

Via Leila Cason de Formin is a variation to Leber Kenedi

12.09.2012 by Planetmountain

Errata: contrary to what we published previously, Via Leila on Cima Cason de Formin (Croda da Lago, Dolomites) is not a new route but a lower variation (5 pitches) to Via Leber Kenedi first ascended in 1990 by Federico Michielli and Michele Da Pozzo.

Contrary to what we reported in Monday's news, Via Leila is not a new rock climb. It runs autonomously for more than half-height (5 pitches) and then joins and follows Via Leber Kenedi, established by Federico Michielli and Michele Da Pozzo in 1990. This was brought to our attention by a reader who stated that "Via Leila climbs almost all the way up Via Leber Kendi." We clearly immediately set to work to find out more and were helped in particular by Enrico Maioni, the Cortina mountain guide and author of the news report. In his piece below, Enrico recounts about what has subsequently come to light about this variation and how this all happened. But before reading his report, we'd like to make the following points. On the one hand this episode has confirmed, once again, the power of the internet (and the "collective knowledge" of its communities). On the other, it has made us reflect about the usefullness and importance of not only those grey guidebooks - alias the now pretty much defunct CAI TCI dei Monti d'Italia - but also of that immense work carried out by those who "map out" our mountains and rock faces as precisely as possible. It is for this reason that we wish to thank those who point out mistakes and naturally we apologise in advance for inconsistencies. These all help us in our job. Just as we are greatly helped by those who competently provide us with information, like Enrico Maioni, driven only by the love for their mountains.

Via Leber Kenedi
Indeed, as was pointed out to Planetmountain, in 1990 Federico Michielli and Michele Da Pozzo made the first ascent of the route Leber Kenedi up Cason de Formin. This route starts circa 70-80m to the right of the route established by Zanettin and partners, close to an open corner. The route climbs far harder terrain than via Leila up excellent quality rock. After breaching the most demanding sections of the face, Via Leber Kenedi then joins the arête on the left and follows this to the top.
The first ascentionists used few pegs and left only the belay pegs in-situ. In the upper section of the route they did not place pegs at the belays but used threads and trad gear. Honour and merit to them therefore, and thanks also to those who brought this noteworthy but unfortunately little-known route to our attention. As soon as we have more detailed information we'll forward it on to Planetmountain.

Via Leila, or the lower variation to Via Leber Kenedi
As I wrote in the previous article, at the end of June 2012 Giovanni Zanettin noticed a possible line for a new route. It is worth noting that before setting out Giovanni asked his Cortina friends and colleagues about a possible other route close to his chosen line but no one he talked to knew about Via Leber Kenedi. This was first ascended when Zanettin was eight and naturally he can't remember that climb, mentioned 21 years ago in a magazine which not everyone owns
Giovanni and his partners therefore completed their climb. They did not discover any traces of previous climbers and returned home happy, unaware of the fact that they had climbed, in the upper section, in the footsteps of Michielli and Da Pozzo. At the end of pitch 5 their route joins Leber Kenedi and follows this up the final 4 pitches (see photo with route lines).

Conclusion
After having been informed about what happened, yesterday Giovanni Zanettin immediately contacted Michele Da Pozzo (Federico Michielli is currently abroad) and offered to remove all the bolts, but Da Pozzo stated he didn't believe this to be necessary.
This episode happened in good faith and we can now consider Via Leila a variation of Leber Kenedi. Zanettin and Michielli both belong to the Cortina Mountain Guides and Giovanni certainly didn't mean to upset his friend. I too am a member of this group and I believe I've done the right thing in jotting down some sentences to inform the readers about new climbs

Enrico Maioni

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