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5.13 and 5.14 Sport on Big Italian Walls
Posted on: March 10, 2008
Nicola Tondini on Via di Testa (8b+ [5.14a], 6 pitches), which he established with Nicola Sartori on Monte Cimo in Brentino, Val d’Adige, Italy. In addition to this climb Tondini and Sartori put up two other routes: Vola Via (8a+ [5.13c], 8 pitches) and Gioco di Equilibri (7c+ [5.13a], 5 pitches), which are now the most difficult routes on the face of Monte Cimo. [Photo] Andrea Gennari Daneri, courtesy of Pareti Magazine
Nicola Sartori and Nicola Tondini, two Italian mountain guides from Verona, recently established three new sport routes on Monte Cimo in Brentino, Val d'Adige, Italy. Vola Via (8a+ [5.13c], 8 pitches), Gioco di Equilibri (7c+ [5.13a], 5 pitches) and Via di Testa (8b+ [5.14a], 6 pitches) are now the most difficult routes on the popular limestone face high above the highway through Val d'Adige. The redpoint on the hardest of the routes, Via di Testa, was completed on November 2nd, 2007.
Four of Via di Testa's six pitches are graded 8a to 8b+ [5.13b to 5.14a]. The route is comprised of sequences of bouldery moves that proved relentless; from the first 75 feet of steep overhanging bulges to the second-to-last pitch of extremely runout 8a slab, the climb was a decidedly burly endeavor.
First, the pair freed each pitch individually, using aid only where they required a bolt. Determined to free all six pitches from the ground up, they spent two years working out the moves that included single digit pockets and precarious two finger matches. They took countless numbers of falls of 45 feet or more. Sartori was the first to redpoint the route, but Tondini repeated the day after.
Planetmountain.com quotes Tondini saying that "Just the thought of freeing each single pitch seemed to be a great achievement," but "making the first ascent on such a compact and overhanging face in such perfect style and with such precise rules seemed like a dream come true."
The two Nicolas are an accomplished pair. Sartori comes from a strong sport climbing background and had many top-ten finishes in the World Cup tour in the mid-1990s. Primarily a mountaineer, Tondini recently has focused more time on sport climbing. Together in March of 2005 they completed the first winter ascent of Moulin Rouge (IX [5.12d/5.13a], 11 pitches, 1,350’) in Roda di Vael in the Dolomites. Tondini cites their friendship as the reason that their "dreams actually come true."
Nicola Sartori on Via di Testa (8b+ [5.14a], 6 pitches). Four of the six pitches are graded 8a to 8b+ [5.13b to 5.14a]. [Photo] Andrea Gennari Denari, courtesy of Pareti Magazine