Late October climbing in the Dolomites
Michael and I wanted to do one last alpine climb for the season. For the northern Alps the weather forecast wasn't great, but for the southern Alps it was much better. So the initial idea was to climb the Campanile Basso in the Brenta group of the Italian Dolomites. But since it was already late October, gondolas had stopped running and the huts had shut down for the season leaving us worried about logistics, long approaches, and about being able to get enough drinking water. So instead Michael suggested the Langkofel group with short approaches and long and interesting alpine climbs.
We took off in Munich at 9pm Friday evening, arrived at Sella Pass near Wolfenstein half past midnight, and slept right by the car. The next morning, just after sun rise, we where on our way toward Grohmannspitze (3126 m) where we wanted to climb a 13 pitch route up the south face called "Dimai/Eötvös" (IV-). Compared to other routes in the area this route is fairly short but it seemed perfect for a short autumn day.
Since Michael wrote an excellent pitch-by-pitch trip report of our climb I can be short: The climb was a blast, the summit views spectacular, yet the descend interesting and demanding: After rappelling a few times we had to down climb long sections of the normal route (III). Since there where some snowy and icy patches this took a lot of time. When we finally arrived at the notch between Grohmannspitze and Fünffingerspitze (Fünffingerscharte) it was getting dark and so we had to descend the scree slopes back to the car in the light of our head lamps. We finished the day with a hearty Italian dinner in Wolfenstein before we drove to Groedner Joch. There, we spent the night outside of a closed hotel.
The plan for the following day was to climb Sas Ciampac (2672 m) via "Adang" (12 pitches, V-), but when Michael was leading out on the first pitch it started to rain and we decided to retreat. Instead, we climbed Piz Miara (2964 m) in the Sella group via the Pößnecker Klettersteig, an old Via Ferrata put in place in 1907! Now, usually I'm not a great friend of Klettersteigs, but this one was very enjoyable and full of variety: steep walls, narrow chimneys, rusty ladders, and not overprotected. After tagging Piz Miara we strolled over to Piz Selva (2941 m). A long hike over the high plateau and down brought us back to the car where we arrived after nightfall. We finished another great day with yet another delicious dinner in Wolfenstein and were on the road back to Munich where we arrived well after midnight.