'Every daredevil dreams of it'
Fortunately, Sigi reads this comment about the chosen route on the Torre Trieste in the climbing guidebook just after the successful ascent.

On the Carlesso to the summit of the Torre Trieste

12.09.2019 - Very stable and beautiful weather is predicted for the coming days in the Dolomites. This gives us the opportunity to climb a classic which Caro has had on her wish list for quite some time. The route Carlesso (VIII- or VI/A2, 26 pitches) leads through the impressive south face of the Torre Trieste and with a climbing distance of 875 m guarantees a long day. When we arrive at the departure point in the evening, we can marvel at the Dolomite peak in the light of the setting sun. We pack our backpacks and, after much consideration, decide to take a hammer and some pitons with us.

The next morning we march off at 05:00 in the light of our headlamps and two hours later we are at the starting point. On this day the Dolomite rock reveals its opposite nature. Some sections of the lower wall are extremely brittle and difficult to protect. Furthermore, the climbing difficulty and the route finding should not be underestimated. Presumably in the confusing terrain of the sixth pitch we get off the original line and climb orthographically too far to the left until we reach the first ledge. Due to this deviation and the resulting confusion about the further line of the route, we lose plenty of time. Despite the continuous climbing difficulty, we can increase the speed and make faster progress. Soon we reach the famous Carlesso Slab. As I arrive at the old piton, which is dangling from a questionable jumble of old ropes and wires, I abandon my attempt to free climb the slab. This climbing aid would probably not withstand a fall and without it we would have problems to get over the crux. We continue to make good progress in the upper part of the wall and choose the direct variant because of the firmer rock. After an ascent time of about 11 hours we reach the summit and immediately start the demanding descent.

Finding the way through the steep descent terrain in combination with countless times of rappelling is quite a challenge. The descent has apparently forced many rope teams to do an emergency bivouac because we find several places equipped with stone walls. Till the end we are confident to pass the rappelling sections in daylight. But unfortunately, the rope gets stuck and I have to climb up a gully to free it. Luckily, we find the remaining belays in the light of our headlamps and can continue our descent into the valley. After a total of about 17 1/2 hours we reach the parking area, exhausted but happy. After this climb I also know the wild and untamed nature of the Dolomites which demands everything from a climber, physically and mentally.

Overnight stay: N 46.343153, E 12.031358

Lessons learned

  • This Dolomite route is not for the faint-hearted. It offers brittle rock, poor protection, difficult route finding and demanding climbing.
  • In future we will only pack hammer and pitons if explicitly demanded.
Written by Sigi