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Enzo Oddo climbing Colonne d’Ercole on Civetta, Dolomites, onsight and in a single day
Photo by Léo Billon, Enzo Oddo
Enzo Oddo climbing Colonne d’Ercole on Civetta, Dolomites, onsight and in a single day
Photo by Léo Billon, Enzo Oddo
Enzo Oddo and Léo Billon climbing Colonne d’Ercole on Civetta, Dolomites
Photo by Léo Billon, Enzo Oddo
EnThe NW Face of Civetta, Dolomites
Photo by Léo Billon, Enzo Oddo

Dolomites Civetta coup: Léo Billon, Enzo Oddo climb Colonne d’Ercole in a day

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Léo Billon and Enzo Oddo have climbed Colonne d’Ercole (1200m, IX) on Mount Civetta in the Dolomites onsight and in a single day. A few days earlier the French mountaineers had teamed up with Silvia Loreggian, climbing Specchio di Sara with the starting variant Coitus Interruptus and the Larcher-Vigiani (8a max, 600m) on Marmolada.

A few days ago Enzo Oddo, last decade’s enfant prodige of French sport climbing, and Léo Billon completed a fast raid in the Italian Dolomites destined to leave its mark. Oddo warmed up so to speak by onsighting, with Silvia Loreggian, Gigi La Trottola on Mulaz and Muro Giallo in Tre Cime di Lavaredo, then when Billon arrived the trio moved across to Marmolada where the climbers onsighted Specchio di Sara with its Coitus Interruptus (7c+ max, 350m) variant start. After a night at the Dal Bianco bivouac, the trio repeated the famous Larcher-Vigiani, once again onsight (8a max, 600m).

The Frenchmen then headed to Civetta where in 2018 Billon had made a winter ascent of the historic Solleder - Lettenbauer on the mountain’s NW Face with Max Bonniot and Benjamin Védrines. Climbing fast and light, Billon and Oddo now repeated Colonne d’Ercole, a masterpiece that leads directly to the top of Punta Tissi, established by Alessandro Baù, Alessandro Beber and Nicola Tondini between 2009 and 2012. Billon and Oddo succeeded in climbing the entire route on-sight and, absolutely worth underlining, in a single day. This involves tackling difficulties up to grade IX along the 1200m climb. A herculean effort.



COLONNE D’ERCOLE by Leo Billon


The first time I came to climb Civetta, it was to repeat the "Solleder-Lettenbauer" route in 4 days in winter, with Max and Benjamin. I solemnly promised myself that the next time here would be in climbing shoes, and in summer!

This year, in order to escape the snow of the Mont-Blanc massif, I joined forces with Enzo and Silvia to climb the beautiful limestone of Marmolada, from which one can observe the imposing and attractive walls of Mt. Civetta. Quite naturally, a week later Enzo and I were in the middle of these.

First we slept at the excellent Tissi hut, ideally located at the foot of Civetta’s NW Face. On Tuesday 10 August, we left the refuge in the dark at around 4:30 am, and we started to climb at dawn at 5:25 am.

The ascent went well, the difficulties were never too hard, but the route finding towards the summit cost us time. Nevertheless at 5:10 pm we reached the top of Punta Tissi, from where we followed the via ferrata and descended easily, returning to the Tissi hut at 8:30 pm to a warm welcome.

Colonne d’Ercole is a beautiful route, where you do not encounter a single bolt, bravo to the first ascensionist! A big thank you to the team at Rifugio Tissi refuge for their warm welcome!

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French climb Civetta's Colonne d’Ercole onsight in Dolomites
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