Three weeks ago I made some last minute plans to climb with Jerry Gore out in the Alps. Jerry has set himself the challenge of climbing three of the most difficult routes in the Alps to raise money for and increase awareness about people with type 1 diabetes in third world countries where insulin and testing kit are difficult to come by and often very expensive- or at least relatively so. Jerry has type 1 diabetes himself but it certainly doesn’t seem to slow him down as he’s already had an impressive year of climbing with an ascent of Divine Providence as well as some difficult routes in the Ecrins Massif near his home. We planned to climb a difficult route on the North Face of the Eiger called ‘La Vida es Sibar’ which is predominantly a rock climb but the weather had different ideas and a dump of snow put payed to our plans making the wall we hoped to climb very wet with no hope of drying this late in the year.
Plan B however was a trip to climb Tempi Moderni on the South Face of the Marmolada in the Dolomites. I’d climbed on the South face before and knew how fantastic and adventurous the climbing was in a truly sensational setting.
After a day of multi pitch sport climbing in the Ecrins we crept our way across to the Dolomites getting caught in all manner of traffic jams to finally reach the car park below the approach to the South Face where we camped and had a nice lie in after our long journey. We headed up to the Fallier hut late in the morning and then went up and fixed a rope on the first pitch of the route, a technical pitch of 7a.
A nice evening meal of tuna pasta preceded a short sleep and an early start to get onto the route for first light. We made reasonable progress up the wall which had some really enjoyable and at times quite run out climbing up slabs and walls and we reached the halfway ledge at soon after midday. This spot is where most climbers will bivi for the night to allow themselves plenty of time to tackle the rest of the route and in a little cave was a small bin bag full of various random items including porn magazines and a glow in the dark dildo! Not what you really expect to find on a kilometre high rock wall in the Dolomites!
After a very short break we were back climbing again but some navigational errors with a slightly confusing diagram of where the route went wasted valuable time and left us very worried of getting benighted if we tackled the final four pitches which included some climbing that would have been very difficult at night time in sub zero temperatures. We decided to cut our losses and finish up a nearby route which was somewhat easier that Tempi Moderni but we only just mad the summit before darkness fell and were glad of our decision. The glacier descent was quite exciting in the dark wearing trainers but other than a small slip above a crevasse we made it down quite safely to the road and the long walk back to the car.
This quick trip certainly highlighted the fact that the Dolomites are an amazing area and I can’t recommend the area enough for outdoor people as the walking, skiing, paragliding, climbing and via feratta’s are amongst the best in the world. I’ll certainly be heading back next year for a longer trip.