L'Onda di Hokusai, the great new route up Molignon di Dentro in the Dolomites by Angelo and Tonelli
Andreas Tonelli reports about L'Onda di Hokusai (750m, WI5+, 60°, M3), the new route he forged together with Philipp Angelo up the NE Face of Molignon di Dentro, Rosengarten, Dolomites.
Routes of this calibre are few and far between. A glance at the photo suffices to understand why: a slender drip of ice and mixed which sneaks its way down an imposing face. A line that remained hidden for all, except for Andreas Tonelli and Philipp Angelo who in March managed to climb their L'Onda di Hokusai, a route which offers something quite particular and precious in an amazingly wild mountain environment. Something beautiful, unknown to most, up the NE Face of Molignon in the secret heart of the Rosengarten, one of the undisputed pearls of the Dolomites.
The route Angelo and Tonelli is a real discovery and 750m outing climbed in two stages: the first, on 5 March, was aborted 2 pitches short of the summit due to impending darkness, while on 16 March they summited, together with Thomas Gianola and Klaus Baumgartner who made the first repeat of this great, beautiful route dedicated to Manuel Moroder and Giulio Longatti.
THE DISCOVERY OF COLD WATER by Andreas Tonelli
"It's the roses that betrayed me. Had men not seen them, they would never have discovered my kingdom" King Laurin
I've always been fascinated by this face that marks the watershed between the fantastic worlds of the Rosengarten and the Seiser Alm, just a short walk from kilometres and kilometres of perfectly groomed pistes, the countless ski lifts and the constant hustle and bustle on Europe's largest alpine plateau. Incredibly, the Molignon massif seems far removed from all this while, wild and impressive, it dominates Val Duron.
In winter this bastion becomes even more fascinating: exposed to winds from the north, snow often sticks to the vertical face, transforming the face into something reminiscent of the Himalaya. The long crest is traversed by the beautiful and panoramic Via Ferrata Laurenzi that links Molignon with the Antermoia valley, rendering this area fairly popular throughout the warmer months, but in winter there isn't a soul in sight. I've often wondered if the face could be climbed in winter. With this in mind, one December day I asked the Flachkofel Zallinger hut warden if I could borrow his pair of binoculars. I followed the ridge from right to left, admiring the huge suspended cornices and then I dipped down just below Molignon di Dentro, the highest and easternmost summit in this group. I noticed a large drip of ice that flowed three-quarters of the way down the face, only to then disappear into thin air. How strange, all that ice which apparently stops its logical journey downwards... At the base of the face I noticed another drip, but between the two nothing but snow, rocks and, unfortunately, no obvious link. Too bad, I thought to myself. Along came January and after a few snowfalls Philipp, Thomas and I decided to ski down the beautiful run off Antermoia from the Seiser Alm, they on skis, I on my snowboard. During the last descent, where Forcella Croda del Lago leads to Val Duron, I stopped to take some photos of Thomas as he skied through the dream-like powder snow. I then turned to look at the Molignon face and much to my amazement I discovered a slender drip of ice wedged in a large corner between the upper and lower drip. A section of this was hidden behind a rocky outcrop which from this perspective could be seen clearly. Perhaps this was the only place where we could examine most of the drip... I'd been lucky. Another rose which has betrayed King Laurin? And now that we'd discovered this cold water, all we needed to do was pack our bags and set off...
This route is in memory of Manuel Moroder, the 15-year-old climber from Val Gardena who died in an avalanche on Monte Pic on 3 February 2013 and in memory of Giulio Longatti, the 37-year old alpinist from Bolzano who died in an avalanche on the Gran Zebrù east gully on 16 March 2013.
TOPO: L'Onda di Hokusai, Molignon di Dentro, Dolomites
Thanks to: www.riskprotect.net