Fine new route on the Sella Towers

Posted by Lindsay Griffin on 02/09/2009
Batajan (VII+) on the Second Sella Tower. Claudio Cima

Confirming that the Dolomites are still very far from worked out, Manuel Stuflesser and Norbert Weiss have put up a fine new route on one of the region's most popular formations, the Second Sella Tower.

Just 20 minutes walk from the road over the Sella Pass, routes on the four Sella Towers are some of the most frequented in the Dolomites. The Second Sella Tower (2,598m) features on the front cover of the most up-to-date British guide, Selected Climbs to Dolomites East and West (Ron James).

The new route weaves through the prominent roofs at mid height on the left side of the West Face, just right of the classic Kasnapoff Route on the North Face-North West Ridge.

After considerable research, Dolomite activists Stuflesser and Weiss were surprised to discover that apart from the ultra classic 1935 Demetz-Gluck start to the North West Ridge, there were no recorded routes between this ridge and the standard West Face Route (Delago-Demetz, 1930: UIAA V+).

Dogged by bad weather, Stuflesser and Weiss had to spend four days working on the route, some days only allowed a few hours when it was not wet. They used nuts, Friends, a number of threads and placed 47 pegs before reaching the summit. No bolts were used and the climbers came back to make a one-day redpoint ascent.

The climbing, on excellent rock, is generally sustained at VI- to VI+ with one pitch of VII and one of VII+. The crux is the 25m fourth pitch, directly above the point where the route cuts through the Demetz-Gluck. The finish, up the steeper right flank of the North West Pillar, is in an excellent position.

The 325m, 10-pitch line was named Batajan. This was the nickname of Franz Stuflesser, who was killed on the Third Sella Tower.

Within three days of the redpoint, the route had been repeated twice, both parties commenting on the excellent quality.

The Kasnapoff Route (Ms Kasnapoff guided by Zeiger, 1913: 10 pitches: now thought to be V+) and Demetz-Gluck (Demetz/Gluck, 1935: 12 pitches: joins the Kasnapoff after pitch six: VI-) are the great classics of the Second Sella Tower and are now polished in parts.

Further round to the left on the precipitous North West Face lies another recommended route on compact limestone, the Messner Direct (Messner/Messner, 1968: 10 pitches: VI-).
 



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