/ Long Routes on Marmolada - Summit Bivvy?
We'll be in the Dolomites in a week and amongst other things are looking to do some of the long routes on Marmolada such as Tempi Moderni (VII+).
I've been told that the lift closes at 4pm and therefore it's best to stash bivvy kit at the top in order to avoid an epic - can anyone comment on this? What sort of kit is appropriate? I have a Rab Firelight bag and Nemo Tensor sleeping bag, for example. Bivvy bag?
When Calum and I did The Fish we used foil blankets for the bivi in the half height cave and from that experience I can offer this one very simple piece of advice: don't, whatever you do, use a foil blanket...
Also, as a side note to Tempi Moderni (and you may well be aware of this already) the consensus amongst those I've spoken to about it seemed to be to climb the first few (crux) pitches the day before, then fix lines + jug up them during the big day itself. I can't remember exactly who recommended me this, so feel free to take it with a pinch of salt. Having witnessed first hand just how big the Marmolada actually is (i.e. f**king huge!!) anything you can do help favour efficiency is likely to be a positive thing.
Cheers Rob. I remember your write-up of the Fish rather well! Sounds like a proper day(s) out.
My plan was the usual formula for big days i.e. 3am start and smash it out nice and steady. Hoping to have a decent weather window to avoid any thunderstorm abseiling shenanigans as this isn't really one I'd like to have an epic on. We'll be in a three so we'll see how it goes... Foil blankets will be in the bag just in case.
Are you planning on summiting Marmolada as well?
If so you can stay in the summit hut? Capanna Punta Penia, awesome little hut.
A friend and I did the Vinatzer-Castiglioni/Messier Direct a few years ago and missed the list.
We bivvied in a concrete room at the lift station which was about 7ft by 7ft. This was uncomfortable with us and another party. It was pretty cold in a long sleeved top, down mid layer and goretex jacket. As with Rob, my foil blanket did f*ck all.
I'd rate it as one of my worst night's sleeps but obviously survived unscathed!
Also, Tempi Moderni looks quality...
> A friend and I did the Vinatzer-Castiglioni/Messier Direct a few years ago and missed the list.
> We bivvied in a concrete room at the lift station which was about 7ft by 7ft. This was uncomfortable with us and another party. It was pretty cold in a long sleeved top, down mid layer and goretex jacket. As with Rob, my foil blanket did f*ck all.
> I'd rate it as one of my worst night's sleeps but obviously survived unscathed!
My friends and had exactly the same experience complete with foil blankets, although there were 6 of us! I also rate it as my worst night's sleep.
4 of my friends walked down to the road at first light. Apparently it was very straightforward. So much so that they suggested we should have walked down during the night.
> My friends and had exactly the same experience complete with foil blankets, although there were 6 of us! I also rate it as my worst night's sleep.
> 4 of my friends walked down to the road at first light. Apparently it was very straightforward. So much so that they suggested we should have walked down during the night.
I've read that a few people did this and also wondering if it would be best to just bimble down. Considering it's August and we'd probably top out around 6:30-7pm there should be plenty of light left...
The walk down is pretty chilled, but its a fair distance back to the parking for the approach.
Yeah? Have you got any info or a topo map etc? Would be great to have a look at.
If you get down to the road, the first car that passes stick your thumb out, they will give you a lift back to Malga Ciapela. For my experience in summer that road see a few cars going at ungodly hours. I've done the walk down from the top, but I can't remember the details . But this was years and years ago...
The walk down is pretty straightforward, usually a few abs to the glacier then a casual stroll down the piste (depending where you top out and the state of the glacier of course). It doesn't take that long, but it does put you quite a way from your car. Walking down and hitching worked fine for us, but we only just missed the last lift and it wasn't too late in the day so plenty of cars around. If you have two vehicles you could probably leave one in a more convient place.
I know people who have bivvied in that little concrete room for the night, and regretted it when they realised just how easy the descent actually was!
Just be aware that this year there seems to be ALOT of thunderstorms. We've had a spell of probably 4 weeks now when its been very consistent with afternoon evening thunderstorms, some of the biggest have been at night infact. Pretty to watch from the valley. Make your balls go up inside when you're high... Sorry - no insights into your bivi system! I mean could you not just go to the lift house and find shelter there? It's pretty massive... Failing that the walk down the glacier is not too bad for snow this year I believe...
I did Tempi Morderni a couple of years ago.
It's very do able in a day without having to bivvy on the summit. The route took us about 12 hours, we then walked down to the mid cable car station then took the climbers descent that starts from there, there's a fixed cable at the start then straight down, it's very quick and easy to follow. This way saves you about 3 to 4 hours walking if you follow the glacier all the way. I've done both ways.
Just be aware that the fixed cable is in a poor state at the moment and needs replacement, for which currently there is no great rush... I wouldn't base your safety on the reliability of that cable...
I found the cable was just useful to mark the start, the ground was easy enough to cover without hanging on it.
It was in a poor state last time I went that way.
I am sure that is the case, just worth mentioning just incase someone does as they might get a nasty shock.
So apparently the thing to do with foil blankets is to use them under the hardshell layer, to prevent tearing the thing to pieces.
Don't know if that works better, but it seems to make sense to me...
At the midway ledge on the Vinatzer/Messner there is/was a stashed sack with fragments of foil blanket and one small bit of foam mat. It's easily accessible from the Tempi Moderni line by traversing the ledge - it's also one of the most sheltered points on the ledge from which to wait out storms.
Modern Times is supposed to be brutal for the grade (a friend has climbed it, I have not, but I did do two thirds of another Mariacher route called the Niagara - on the Pordoi - it was the biggest sandbag I've done in the Dolomites, I was climbing IV+ pitches and thinking he'd gotten his roman numerals the wrong way around!)
I've been on the Marmolada 3 times in my life and I've spent the night on a rock ledge two times in my life... Both on the Marmolada. Its Just so time-consuming because rather than the typical dolomitic grab-and-pull style, it's all technical boilerplate-slab climbing (or bridging/chimneying). Sorry if all that sounds rather preachy, I don't know how much of it you know already.
Both nights probably rank as my crappiest and coldest.
There is a Versante Sud guide just for the Marmolada, in English, if you want a lot of detailed information (or maybe you have it already).
Me and Tom D did a couple of routes on the marmalada a few years ago. We did don quixonte that was very easy until the top. We finished about 4pm and started about 4am. We also did the vinatzer into the messner direct. This was way tougher especially on the messner. We ran out of light on this. Full respect to messner solo onsighting this bad boy.
If I were you I would plan to bivouac half way on the huge ledge. I think you would enjoy the experience more and it would be less stressful. In terms of gear me and Tom got stuck on the messner 4 pitches from the top and literally just hung off a belay shivering. I had a bivouac sack. Tom had a down jacket. A down jacket and a bivvy sack each would be a good idea. If you slept on the ledge half way you could be comfortable and have decent shelter.
For the descent the walk is fine down the glacier but take decent fell running shoes with grip rather than super lightweight trainers with no grip. If you make the gondola then good skills.
Expect the rock quality to be shit in the first 250 metres and great above the half way ledge.
Be careful where you leave your car as well.....I got a 100 euro fine when I got back to my car I had parked above the camp site....
Ahh yes, forgot you'd been up there! Definitely going for the single day ascents where possible considering we've got good margin on the routes, but also happy to climb by headtorch if it comes to it.
Got a few warm-ups planned for going for the big routes so should hopefully be nice and slick by the time it comes to going up there.
Good tips. We've got a decent bit of margin so hopefully even if super sandbagged it should still be a goer. I've not climbed in the Dolomites before so all the info is very much appreciated as it all paints a picture!
Thankfully one of my climbing partners has far more experience of this area so we'll be following his judgement and taking things nice and steady.
Re. foil blankets - by far the best way to use them is to have your partner basically swaddle you up in it around your chest/neck and tuck it all into your trousers. Down jacket over the top and then ideally hardshell as well - you can have an amazingly good nights sleep with this combo. I recently had to do an unplanned bivvy with only a sleeping bag liner and managed to get 9hrs sleep! Granted the temps only got down to 10-12 degrees but considering we had no other insulation I was pretty pleased.
Cheers Mike, good tips. We're hoping for a wee break in the weather but we'll see how it goes... Friday & Saturday looking good for long routes at the moment.
The descent to the road really is benign (or was a few years ago) - if you're comfortable on a route of that scale, you'll probably be comfortable on that descent in the dark. But hitching back to the start took a while!
Cheers. Entertainingly I suspect I've done far more sketching around on loose/slippy terrain than I've done long routes! But we are a team and after a big day on a Big Wall it's best everyone feels comfortable and stays safe We'll plan ahead and then assess as necessary whilst underway, I suspect.
I guess my thinking is that if you are going to bivvy on top of the route anyway you may as well bivvy in the middle of the route instead of this. That will enable you to get to the top by 2pm and get the cable car down. I guarantee that the bivvy in the middle on the South face will be more comfortable and warm than the bivvy at the top on the north face.....even if you find a cave up there.
By doing it this was you could also start the route on the first day in daylight not at 3am. As you will be doing a harder route you are likely to have it to yourself so an early start is not a necessity.
Me and Tom also stayed at a little red bivouc hut on the ridge and found this was a good base for us. In total we spent about a week up and around there. The two huts below the South face were full and this little red hut was a fantastic base. It also meant that we walked down and across to the base of the routes in the morning rather than up to the routes from the hut. It was also free which from our perspective made it brilliant. We were beating people leaving the huts to the routes we did who left at the same time.
On one descent we choose to go down the via ferrata from the mid way cable car station. Just to break up the monotony of the walk. Not a great plan.....it goes on forever.
We also parked at the base of the walk down and then cycled to the start of the route and left bikes in trees. This worked well. Avoided a parking fine and saved the hassle of having to hitch.
Enjoy the trip whatever you do. It is a fantastic mountain. I enjoyed in much more that the Tre Cime area which was a tourist hell by comparison.
> I guess my thinking is that if you are going to bivvy on top of the route anyway you may as well bivvy in the middle of the route instead of this. That will enable you to get to the top by 2pm and get the cable car down. I guarantee that the bivvy in the middle on the South face will be more comfortable and warm than the bivvy at the top on the north face.....even if you find a cave up there.
But. If you wake up to find the weather has turned on the second day and the forecast was wrong, being at the top with an easy descent is a LOT better than being in the middle of the face with no short and easy way out of dodge. Also, starting climbing again after a night on the face feels absolutely grim, though it may be that I'm just a bit of a wimp.
(Not saying I can't see your pov though, there are definitely advantages and disadvantages both ways).
Mountaineering Scotland has called for action to be taken against the growing issue of 'dirty camping', which sees irresponsible campers leaving rubbish, fire damage, toilet waste and even tents in their wake.