Hermann Comploj new ski descent on Murfreid North Face, Sella, Dolomites
On 07/04/2014 Hermann Comploj made a new extreme ski descent, alone, down the North Face of Cima Murfreid, Sella group, Dolomites.
From World Cup downhill descents to extreme skiing in the Dolomites: this is what the skis of Hermann Comploj have run down during the last 40 years. After 4 competition years during which he participated in all the classic descents in the World Cup circuit, at the start of the '80's the man from Val Gardena qualified to become a mountain guide – a profession he has carried out intensely for the last 30 years. You never forget your first love though and proof of this comes from Comploj's new ski descent down the North Face of Murfreid in the Sella group, the same face that was climbed at the start of March by Philipp Angelo and Siski descent.
A demanding descent, during which the 56-year-old negotiated sections up to 54° as well as 3 abseils. All alone. "Yes, this time I wanted to try solo" Comploj told Planetmountain "in the past I've always gone with others, even with clients, this time though I wanted to see what it's like going all alone. Understand the differences."
As it turned out, things are different. And how. "Things change! If there are two of you, during the ascent there's time to talk, discuss things, share decisions. So mentally things are different. And physically, too. Two of you share the weight of the gear, the abseil manoeuvres are far quicker."
Comploj encountered mixed conditions during the 350m descent. "The powder snow at the start transformed as I lost height. Despite facing north the snow had melted during the previous days and become crusty and icy. It was demanding." Yes, because the line is highly exposed. "Falling is not really an option. Otherwise you end up down on the road, 200m below you. I simply couldn't make a mistake." To see where he's coming from note that the beautifully steep Frea bastion guards the lower section of the North Face, or simply look at the route line in the photo on the left.
Descending alone has its advantages, too. "I decided everything. Above all I chose the overall rhythm. I skied as quickly or as slowly as I wanted to, things were up to me." Complete freedom therefore. And afterwards? After that long traverse east, below the splendid Murfreid tower? "Total relaxation. I'd been completely focused for hours. Only afterwards did I start to relax and realise what I'd just achieved. It was a really, really powerful experience."
"Will there be others?" we asked Comploj. "Possibly" he replied. "In all these years I've always found something new to do, just like this face, it's always been there and for some reason no one had ever thought of skiing it. There are still plenty of unexplored lines waiting to be skied..."
HERMANN COMPLOJ, FIRST SKI DESCENTS IN THE DOLOMITES
Spallone del Sassolungo
Hermann Comploj together with Fredmund Malik, 16/03/2001
Rifugio Pisciadu, next to the Tridentina Via Ferrata, Sella
Hermann Comploj together with Manfred Runggaldier, 15/04/2010
Murfreid Parete Nord 2663m, Gruppo del Sella
Hermann Comploj solo, 07/04/2014
Length: 350 m
Approach: From the Gardena pass ascend Val Culea to reach the middle ledge that runs along the Sella group, continue pastLake Dragon and proceed right to a ramp that descends north. 1.5 hours. At the end of the descent traverse east below Torre Murfreid and descend to Passo Gardena.
Note: 3 abseils, 2 x 60m and 1 x 20m