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The Spigolo Nord of Monte Agnèr, Dolomites, first climbed in 1932 by Celso Gilberti and Oscar Soravito.
Photo by Ettore De Biasio

Quicklyquickly up Spigolo Nord, Monte Agner. By Ivo Ferrari


Ivo Ferrari remembers the solo ascent up the infinite Spigolo Nord on Monte Agnèr, Valle di San Lucano, Dolomites. A majestic 1600m high route, first climbed in 1932 by Celso Gilberti and Oscar Soravito, considered to be the longest rock climb in the Dolomites.

My shoes are dripping wet again and these days, whenever I go for a "run" (better still, a fast walk) I always return soaked to the bone. Mixed with sweat, it's pretty unpleasant! But if I don't go, I feel guilty and feeling guilty just isn't worth it. Speed isn't the essence, what I'm after is height difference as I happily use up the batteries of my watch... at time the desire to "not glance at" at the time and battle against the temptation of "doing nothing" paid, and still pays, off! The following is something I wrote a long time ago but it's still up-to-date, in a sense that I was and and still am happy to put in lots of hard work... But oh what hard work it was!


It's been raining all summer, after eleven months at work, finally it's time for holidays,... finally, but it's raining! Federica and I go back and forth to the Dolomites, two days in our tent and then back we go! Back home to dry everything.

The San Lucano Valley seems a like the Amazon rainforest: rain, water and humidity enough to bring on a terrible arthritis! We returning below Mount Agnèr, have drowned any hopes of doing something in the river Tegnas that rapidly descends down the valley, as dark brown as the hot chocolate we drink litres of during these "fresh" and "tranquil" days.

It's11 in the morning, I hastily pitch the tent, certain that even tonight I'll sleep in the car; it stopped raining last, strangely the sky today is blue, but the Arabba weather forecast is loud and clear: from tonight onwards there'll be another new beautiful, angry Amazon-like... storm!

I wander nervously around the few tents that have withstood the onslaught, a thousand thoughts cross my mind, what to do, where to go, why bother going in the first place... Federica comes to my rescue, a few words suffice but, said at the right time, they work wonders: "Ivo, have a go on Spigolo Nord, through my binoculars I've noticed you won't be alone."

No rope, no carabiners, just climbing shoes and a mad desire! Indecision is not a part of me today, I glance at my watch, it's just gone 12:30... just like a child who's discovered a new toy, I quickly walk towards the Giant's Arête... because of my euphoria I even forget to take a rucksack and notice that I walk upwards with my comfortable climbing shoes in my hands.!

I'm sweaty but not tired when I start up the first few meters of rock, rendered treacherous and wet from these "crazy" days. I've tied my shoes around my waist with their shoelaces... I climb helped by the desire to ascend, it's the second time I experience the Spigolo, but now I'm alone. Delicate and precise moves enable me to gain height. As I climb past the mountain pines I meet a team, their looks transmit amazement at seeing me appear so suddenly. I say hello, as I always do in the Mountains, smile and exchange a few hasty words, then my speed increases with every hold I gain...

In the central section I "invent" a short variation that makes me curse ear and towards the end, just before the last section, I encounter a pleasant couple, a man and a woman who come from a different country than mine. Then I'm on the Summit... three hours and fifteen minutes after having said goodbye to Federica, I find myself alone on the Most Beautiful Summit! I played with my vertical desire and unwittingly and unknowingly (I only found out back down in the valley) I set an unusual record, the fastest up Monte Agnèr's arête, two hours and a handful of minutes ... SHOULD I show this off? Perhaps, maybe... I don't know! But it's certainly something I'm proud!!!!

I've never climbed up the Spigolo again, but whenever I see it... I enjoy admiring it.

by Ivo Ferrari





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