Valeria, important new ice climb in the Brenta Dolomites
On 6-7 January 2013 Gianni Canale and Aldo Mazzotti made the first ascent of Via Valeria (270m, VI ice, M4+, VI+ rock) up the west face of Crozzon di Brenta, Dolomites. The route has been dedicated to Valeria Brunelli.
Discovering an icefall like this isn't an every day occurrence. Beautiful, long, in a stunning, remote setting and, above all, still unclimbed. These were the reasons which motivated Gianni Canale and Aldo Mazzotti to skin up into the Brenta Dolomites in early January, pitch a tent beneath the West Face of Crozzon di Brenta, climb the first three pitches before abseiling off and completing the route the next day.
Valeria is the name of the route which with difficulties of ice VI, M4+ and VI+ rock leads to the enormous middle ledge, and the route is the direct result of the particular conditions that have come about this winter in the Dolomites - just like recent climbs up Cima Grosté by Massimo Faletti and Canella. All belays on this 270m are equipped with bolts. How come? "We didn't intend to place bolts if the rock offered safe peg placements or threads at belays" explained Canale "but unfortunately this wasn't the case. And since we'd placed them on the first three belays, we did so on the remaining three, too."
"The Crozzon di Brenta" Canale told Planetmountain "is one of the most characteristic and important peaks in the Brenta Dolomites and the Dolomites as a whole, and making a first ascent here was a really outstanding experience. In truth though I explored the area to check out a different project altogether, but then I walked beneath the face and saw the drip..." In short, a fortuitous, chance encounter which ended up with the discovery of the source of the icefall itself. But for this and all the other details check out Canale's report
VIA VALERIA by Gianni Canale
On Thursday 3 January 2013, Adriano Cavallaro and I set off in search for what, a mere three days later, would become a masterpiece. On 7 January Valeria came into being. This great route is dedicated to Valeria Brunelli who died during the night between 8 and 9 October 2012, at the age of 49, tragically in her sleep, buried by rockfall while bivying at the base of the of the enchanting Vedretta of Camosci. Just like Valeria, Aldo and I pitched out tent in the same valley, not far from the majestic Crozzon di Brenta. In the evening of January 6, while we rested, our first thought went out to her, to her love for the mountains and her cursed misfortune.
Our new "undertaking" began in the morning of January 6, with the brothers and strong Pinzolo climbers Diego and Flavio Maffei who helped transport our gear to the base of the mountain. They said goodbye and returned home, we prepared our bivy, ate and drunk a bit and started climbing at midday. At 17:00 we were back in our tent, having established three pitches, tired but satisfied. We bolted the belays, while the rest of the route is pure mountaineering, including the crux fifth pitch.
Our decision to use a tent proved fundamental, the wind picked up at 17:00 and blew incessantly to 1:00 am. After a delicious dinner we snuggled into our sleeping bags at 20:00. The next day was challenging. We woke up early, had breakfast and at 7:30 am we were poised to jumar back up the three pitches established the previous day. At noon we sat on the big ledge on Crozzon di Brenta, admiring and our spectacular, beloved mountains. Two fantastic days, highly yearned for, in great company Thanks Aldo, as always!
P.S. It was great treat to discover where Valeria springs to life ... probably a hole, a channel leads down through the mountain, who knows from how high up, reaches the ledge and surfaces there in a little puddle, a sort of well which spills over to form a true natural masterpiece Valeria!