Monte Cimo: Nicola Tondini climbs three new 8a multi-pitches
Nicola Tondini introduces three multi-pitch rock climbs located on Monte Cimo (Brentino, Val d’Adige, Italy) they are united, apart from their difficulty, by their extraordinary beauty: Tra Nuvole e Sogni and The Edge on Sass Mesdì, and Destini Incrociati on Castel Presina.
Monte Cimo is, without a doubt, an endless source for adventures close to home. After first ascending the beautiful and difficult routes Via di Testa and Testa e Croce I teamed up with Nicola Sartori and Luca Montanari to try other decidedly "tough" projects, at least, tough for us. These projects have been on the back burner for a couple of years now and we only manage to try them when we’re on top form.
But Monte Cimo still held some other lines, too good to ignore, so we decided to invest our time creating something new and less intense. And so between 2011 and 2015 three routes were first ascended, all three beautiful and not to be missed, all three with differing characteristics but with one common denominator: beauty. The routes were put up and freed while I trained for my projects in the Dolomites, namely (Quo Vadis on Sass dla Crusc and Colonne d’Ercole on the NW Face of Civetta) and some others still in the making.
MONTE CIMO FACTSHEET
Located north of Verona in Val d’Adige, Monte Cimo is that bastion of rock above the village Brentino Belluno, located on the left as you drive north towards the Brennero before the side valley with the beautiful Vajo dell’Orsa canyon.
700m high in total, Monte Cimo is split into three distinct bands stacked one on top of the tother. All three host routes of different technical difficulties (ranging from 6a to 8b+) and psychological commitment (from S1 to S4). The lowest band is 120m high, while the middle band (Scoglio dei Ciclopi and Sass de Mesdì) and the upper band (Castel Presina) both reach 200m in height.
The climbing is highly technical and excellent training for mountain routes. For me it represents one of the best laboratories where I can experiment difficult first ascents, and an ideal place to train for my projects in the Dolomites.
The routes in question are located on the Sass de Mesdì face (Tra nuvole e sogni; The edge) and the Castel Presina face (Destini incrociati). Sass de Mesdì offers greyish white limestone, on a par with that found in the Verdon Gorge: crimps, pockets and tufts abound. Castel Presina is marked by its characteristic red rock in a truly unique setting.,
Destini incrociati and Tra nuvole e sogni are destined to become classics for those who climb 8a. The Edge is recommended to those who want to try some climbing which is slightly more runout and psychologically demanding.
Destini Incrociati – Monte Cimo, Castel Presina
6 pitches, 8a, 7b obligatory climbing, S3. Nicola Tondini and Nicola Sartori. First free ascent: both on 14 October 2011.
Highly technical climbing on slightly overhanging rock, with a crux slab pitch. Strong fingers needed for the small crimps. Redpoint repeat: Andrea Simonini and Rolando Larcher. No on-sight as yet. Best time of year: October to April. View the route topo
Tra Nuvole e Sogni – Monte Cimo, Sass Mesdì
7 pitches, 8a, 7b obligatory climbing, S3+. Nicola Tondini and Andrea Simonini. First free ascent: Nicola Tondini October 2013.
The crux pitch is overhanging and runs along a series of tufas. The pitches that follow are extremely technical. The unique 4th pitch (7c+) follows the arch via the few holds the rock provides. The 6th pitch (technical 7b) is not to be underestimated. Climbing predominantly on crimps and pockets. Best time of year: September to November and March to May. View the route topo
The Edge – Monte Cimo, Sass Mesdì
8 pitches, 8a, 7b obligatory climbing, S3/4. Nicola Tondini and Luca Montanari; one pitch with Tommaso Dusi. First free ascent: Nicola Tondini, June 2015, accompanied by Alessandro Baù and Claudio Migliorini.
Airy route that zigzags its way along the aerie past the large roofs. Exposure is the hallmark of this climb and almost all pitches contain bouldery cruxes. The easier sections are fairly run-out. This, combined with the exposure, creates an interesting mind game. Best time of year: May to mid-November. View the route topo