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Ice
by Alberico Mangano and Nicola Tondini


Val Gardena and Val di Fassa, two of the most important valleys in the Dolomites, are well known for the quality and quantity of summer and winter activities they offer: from simple treks and extreme climbs to downhill skiing and fantastic ski mountaineering.
With a rich history in Mountain Guiding, it was clear that other, "marginal", activites such as ice climbing would not be neglected. And rightly so, for many of the icefalls found in these valleys are excellent.
This article describes many of these icefalls, starting on the northen slopes of the Alpe di Bullaccia and Alpe di Siusi, above Ortisei in Val Gardena, where between thick woods and steep walls the first four icefalls form. Two of these are something truly special.

Continuing up along the valley the fifth icefall comes into view above S. Cristina; given its vicinity to the road its a good one to finish off the day.
After having driven over the Passo Sella, parked the car at Pian dei Schiavaneis and walked (using skis) up the beautiful Val Lasties, the next icefalls (6-11) can be marveled at. These are wedged in between the Sella's steep walls.
The last, south facing, icefalls in this area (12&13) can be found by going all the way to Sass Pordoi and skiing down towards the pass.

The road from Passo Pordoi leads down into Canazei and Val di Fassa proper: hidden and adventurous icefalls await in Val d’Udai (14&15) and Val Duron (16), while those near the Ciampac cable car (18&19) are easy to get to and descend from. Fontanazzo and Campitello offer a multitude of excellent and not-to-be-missed icefalls (20-25), while the evocative icefall at Passo Fedaia (17) should by no means be left untouched.

The best time of year for ice climbing in the Dolomites is from mid December to the end of February, although during the last couple of years it has been possible to climb up to the end of March.

For the less popular icefalls we recommend a full rack plus some pitons: at times the sheer amount of snow hides the existing belays and you need to set up your own abseil. Knowing the standard abseil techniques (Abalakov, etc) is a fundamental prerequisite before attemting any of these icefalls.

- Introduction
Val Gardena
Southern Sella
Val di Fassa
Agghiacciante
sinistra

Nicola Tondini getting to grips with the steep Agghiacciante, Val di Fassa. It is graded III, 6.

photo R. Parolari

O.K.
good
very beautiful
excellent
 
vey low
low
medium
high
O sole mio

At the base of 'O Sole mio', Sass Pordoi. This is one of the most interesting icefalls in the Gruppo del Sella. It is given II, 5.
photo Nicola Tondini

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