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La perla preziosa

First ascent: Nicola Tondini, Nicola Sartori, Michele Zandegiacomo, 2006 & 2008
By: Planetmountain
Area: Dolomites, Group: Sass de la Crusc, Peak: Sass de la Crusc, Height: 2825m, Country: Italy, Region: Alto Adige

On 28 August 2008 Mountain Guide Nicola Tondini completed the first ascent of his "La perla preziosa" up the beautiful West Face of Sass dla Crusc in the heart of the Italian Dolomites. Tondini spent a total of five days completing the 375m line spread out over a two year period and in the company of first Sartori, then Zandegiacomo.

The new route explores unclimbed terrain right between the ultra classic Diedro Mayerl and Via Messner al Grande Muro and was, according to Tondini, his "dream to make the first ascent on the legendary Sass dla Crusc in trad style." The eigth pitches weigh in at a mightly IX+ (7c+) and apart from 2 bolts on the 6th pitch are portected with trad gear and pegs only. Tondini concludes "My dream was almost perfect. On the one hand I'm sorry about those two bolts, on the other I'm happy about the beauty of the route because 90% of the crxes on each pitch are obbligatory and were climbed free during the first ascent. I only used cliffs and hooks to place pegs and bolts. I think that this route can be highly satisfying for many of those strong climbers who roam the Dolomites in search of "trad" routes and excellent rock."

GETTING THERE

Take the motorway A22 to Bressanone, then continue along the SS49 through the Val Pusteria to S.Lorenzo. Continue along the SS244 through the Val Badia to Corvara. Alternatively, take the motorway A22 to Chiusa and continue along the SS242 up the Val Gardena to Passo Gardena and down to Corvara. At Corvara follow signs for La Villa - Pedraces. At Pedraces take the chairlift on the right to the refuge and church Santa Croce, from where the path leads off to the base of the routes.

ACCESS

From Santa Croce (2045m), beneath Sass dla Crusc, follow path no. 7 that leads beneath the mountain past scree slopes and alpine meadows up to the ferrata. The path initially leads over scree to then climb up rightwards. Leave the path at this point following a track (cairn markers) up the long outcrop to the base of the wall proper. Various tracks lead to the route at this point: traverse left at the end over the final outcrop and scramble up scree towards the base of the large corner.
The route starts between "Diedro Mayerl" and "Messner al Grande Muro". Peg and cairn mark the start.

DESCENT

On foot down the obvious path.

GEAR

Nuts, Friends (Metolius micro: 1-3; Camelot micro: 3-4; Camelot: 2x0.5-2x0.75-2x1.0-2x2.0-2x3.0-1x4.0), slings and kevlar threads, 2 x 60m ropes

NOTES

Note (1): all pegs have been left in-situ. Thetwo sets of camming devices (Camelot 0.5 - 3.0) are also needed for 3 belays which have excellent cracks and 1 peg at times. Check the topo for gear needed for each belay.
Note (2): the two bolts on the 6th pitch reduce the obligatory crux moves: the hardest sections (VIII+ obl.) are immediately before the first bolt and immediately after the second.
Thanks to Nepa climbing, Keyland, Ferrino (DMM and Edelweiss), Marmot

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Details / route
BEAUTY

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DIFFICULTY

IX+ (7c+), R3, II; EX (technical, gear, ambient; complex)

FACE

West

LENGTH

375m, 8 pitches

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