General information regarding the local aplinistic History, in particular to the historical ascents and the first routes

In 1856 two English friends, Josiah Gilbert (1814 - 1892) and George Cheetam Churchill (1822 - 1906), during one of their adventurous trips under the banner of the so-called "Gran Tour" in English style 'discovered' the Dolomites. They returned in 1860 and in 1863 exploring thoroughly without testing themselves in real and true alpinistic tactics or ascents to the smmits. They wrote their memories and the various sensations in the very famous book 'The Dolomite Mountains' published in 1864 and which is considered a classic of the alpine literature, a "breviario" (breviary) and a guide book for all those who wanted to know more about these mountains. Gilbert who was a fine artist, illustrated the book with designs of rare beauty. The book was published in the Italian language only in 1981 by the 'Sezione di Fiume del CAI .
Also, the English writer Amelia Ann Blanford Edwards (1831 - 1892) visited the western Dolomites and wrote a wonderful book entitled 'Untrodden Peaks and Unfrequented Valley' published in Italian in 1985 by Nuovi Sentieri Editore di Belluno (Cime Inviolate e Valle Sconoscuite).
The era of 'Alpinism in the western Dolomites was inaugurated by the great English pioneer John Ball whose ascent of Pelmo in 1857 was considered remarkable.
Paul Grohmann from Vienna (1838 - 1908) was another great explorer and admirer of the Dolomites. He arrived in Cortina d'Ampezzo at the age of 24, and ".........completely opened the ways of alpinistic history in these mountains" as Antonio Berti wrote about him. 'Wanderungen in den Dolomite' of the Nuovi Sentieri series. In particular, Grohmann was dedicated to the mounts of Cadore, from Ampezzo to Fassa (1862 - 1869), climbing a great number of summits, among which the Marmolada (1865) in the company of the guides from Cortina Angelo (1819 - 1869) and Fulgenzio (1821 - 1904) Dimai. Grohmann ascended the inviolated Tofàna di Mezzo in August 1863 with the mature guide from Cortina ( 68 years of age) Francesco Lacedelli (1795 - 1886) known as 'Checo from Lelères. Then he re-climbed Pelmo and then reached the crest of Antelao,' the first ascent of Antelao' was attributed to him but according to certain historians, it had already been ascended by the deer hunter Matteo Ossi from San Vito di Cadore. In 1864 Grohmann conquisted the Tofàna di Ròzes with his faithful friend and guide Francesco Lacedelli (69 years old), Angelo Dimai and Santo Siorpaès (1832 - 1900) on his first experience as guide and who in later life became one of the most emminate figures of the Dolomites.
In the same year 1864 Grohmann and Francesco Lacedelli climbed the inviolated Sorapiss. In 1885 Grohmann conquisted the Cristallo and the Tofàna di Dentro, then he attempted the ascent of the Croda Rossa d'Ampezzo where he stopped within a few meters of the summit because of the opposition of the two hunters who had accompanied him. In actual fact Baron von Wolfen had conquisted numerous summits in the Steiner Alpen and also the ascent of Monte Lungo di Bràies, and had left written to have reached in 1794 the 'Geisl, the highest peak of the alpes of Bràies' . This made one think of the Croda Rossa d'Ampezzo, quite improbable taking into consideration the enormous difficulties of the period. Probably the brave Baron had reached the summit of the Piccola (small) Croda Rossa d'Ampezzo much easier and within his limits. The Croda Rossa d'Ampezzo was climbed in 1870 by the Englishman Edwards Robson Whitwel (1843 - 1922) with the guides Christian Launer (1826 - 1891) and Santo Siorpaès.


From the 40's the Croda Rossa range (especially on the Spalti di Col Becchèl and on Taburlo, and also the Torre del Signore) developed, sporting alpinism which brought to the opening of the 'vie di alto difficoltà' (high risk difficult routes) .
The Fànis range was the last to be "scoperto" (discovered). It was unexplored until the late '800, and was ascended by Viktor Wolf von Glanvell (1871 - 1905), Gunther von Saar (1878 1918) and Karl Domènigg (1871 - 1950) who methodically climbed almost all the summits. It is said that von Glanvell had the first dolomitic revelations and the baptism of a vocation. In this range:
- the Cima Fànis sud 2,980 m was climbed by Glanvell and Appenbichler in 1897.
- the Lagazuòi Nord 2,804 m was reached by Glanvell and Saar in 1898
- the Torr Fànis 2,922 m a memorable ascent by Glanvell and Saar in 1898
- the Cima Fànis di Mezzo 2,988 m reached by Glanvell and Saar in 1898
- the Piccolo Lagazuòi 2,778 m climbed by Glanvell, Domènigg and Stopper in 1899
- the Grande Lagazuòi 2,855 m climbed by Glanvell, Domènigg and Saar in 1899
- the Cime di Campestrìn Nord 2834 m and Sud 2,910 m by Glanvell, Domènigg and Stopper in 1899
- the Monte Cavallo 2,912 m reached by Glanvell, Domènigg and Stopper in 1899
- and another via of Cima Fànis sud by Glanvell and Saar in 1899.
In 1900 they returned and conquisted
- the Lagazuòi di Mezzo 2,750 m
- Glanvell, Domènigg, Saar and Sehrig
- the Monte Vallon Bianco 2,687 m
- Glanvell and Saar
- the Monte Casale 2,894 m
- Glanvell, Domènigg and Stopper.
A real harvest of conquists..............great levels of alpinistic difficulties arrived in the 40's with the wonderful ascents of the Torre Fànis, the Cima Scotòni, the Torre dal Lago, etc.

The cinque Torri d'Averàu, a small kingdom of sharp spires, have always been the most frequented of the Nuvolàu range. The Cima Nord della Torre Grande had already been reached in 1880 by C.G.Wall with the guide from Cortina G. Ghedina , while the sud was reached in 1892 by L.Trepton with the well-known guide from Pustere Sepp Innerkofler (1865 - 1915). The Torre Inglese or (the Quinta/Fifth) was reached in 1901 by G.W.Wyatt with the local guides Menardi and Maioni. The other towers (Romana, del Barancio and Lucy by the guide Z. Pompanin and the Quarta/Fourth by A.Dibona) were reached from 1911 to 1914. The highest of the range Mount Averàu (or Nuvolàu Alto) 2,647 m was climbed for the first time in 1874 by the famous guide from Cortina Santo Siopaès accompanied by R. Issler. The first routes tracked in modern style on the Gusèl (Mount Gusèla or Nuvolàu) 2,595 were carried out by the guides from Cortina A. Gaspari and A. Maioni with the Schmitt sisters in recent times on the Croda da Lago range, Becco di Mezzodì 2,603 m and Croda do Lago 2,701 m are the most alpinistically interesting. In 1872 the Becco di Mezzodì was reached by the guide from Cortina Santo Siorpaès in the company of the Englishman Utterson Kelso. The Cima d'Ambrizzòla (then known as Cima di Formin) 2,715 m, was reached by the guides Angelo and Pietro Dimai with P. Froschels and F. Siberstein in 1878. But the Croda do Lago has always provoked and aroused extreme enchantment, a certain fascination for both the architectural structure and its legendry elegance. The first ascent in 1884 was by the famous guide from Sesto Pusterìa Michele Innerkofler (1848 - 1888) with the Hungarian Baron Roland von Eotos. The most famous, high difficulty modern style routes were discovered during the 40's in the forementioned range.

As has already been stated before, Pelmo 3,168 m was reached in 1857 by the Englishman John Ball (who the following year became the president of the first alpinistic Club in the world, the prestigious Alpine club. The Pelmetto 2,990 - 2,981 m another colossal which gives the mount a severe rocky massif aspect without comparisons, was reached only in 1896 by the guides Clemente Callegari "Battestrada" (1838 - 1917) and Angelo Panciera "Mago" with the alpinist Francesco Spada. An itinerary of great historical importance (as it marks the innovation from the classical climbing method to the more sportive concept of Alpinism) is the route opened on the north apical peaks of Pelmo by Felix Simon and Roland Rossi in 1924, with difficulties which almost reach the VI grado (level).



The Civetta (or Monte Civetta) 3,220 m is considered, and quite correctly emphasized, "L'Università dell'Alpinismo"( The University of Alpinism), "La Pareti delle Pareti" (The Wall of Walls), "Il Regno del Sesto Grado" (The Kingdom of the VI grade). The exact date of the first ascent is unknown. The only sure fact known is that of the deer hunter Simeone De Silvertro (1833 - 1905) from Pècol di Zoldo known as 'Provanèl' who is said to have reached the main summit stalking a prey. The first alpinistic ascent was carried out by the Englishman Francis Fox Tuckett (1834 - 11913) with the Swiss guide Melchior (1827 - 1914) and Jakos Anderegg, then by Paul Grohmann accompanied by the same guide 'Piovanèl'. The first route braved and confronted was the northwest wall of Civetta, 1,000 m (known as "via degli inglesi"/route of the English) opened in 1895 by John Swinnerton Phillimore (1873 - ?) and Arthur Guy Raynor (1863 - 1935), accompanied by the guides Antonio Dimain (1866 - 1948) and G. Siorpaès (1869 - 1909), sons of the great Santo. Another more logical and direct route was opened in 1906 by Cesare Tomè ( a great pioneer of Agordo), accompanied by the guide Santo de Toni (1849 - 1926) and the bearer Donato Dal Buos. But in 1925 the most logical route for the summit, "a goccia cadente" (a falling drop) was traced by Emil Solleder (1899 - 1931) with Gustas Lettembauer on the 7th August and is well-known as the "direttissima" (the most direct) opening VI grade Dolomite route in the world. Single passages of this difficultyhda probably already been overcome and mastered but never on such a long and complex route. a golden ten year period followed for the Italian alpinism, spurred on by that success. Honoured names found on this list are: Bortoli, Parizzi, Zanetti, Ghelli................all from the Belluno area. Then we find: Comici, Benedetti, Carlesso, Gilberti, Videsott, Soldà, Menti, Sandri, Castiglioni, Cassin, Rati, Dell'oro, (the old pioneers) ..........all 'noble gentlemen' of alpinism both classical and modern who have left unforgettable signs in the history of the dolomites. Then the technical know-how changed and alpinism became an acrobatic sport finding its maximm level of expansion and fantasy on the great magic wallls of the Civetta......

The Moiazza is a mountainous irregular complex near Civetta which in the sub-division of alpinistic terms, forms, in reality, an under-range separated from the "madre" (mother) by the Forcella delle Sasse already transited by hunters and shepherds in anicent times. The history of alpinistic began in 1885 when topographics accompanied by unknown villagers reached the Moiazza and Moiazzetta, today called Cime dell Moiazzetta della Grava 2,727m and the Moiazza Nord 2865 - 2870 m. A great pioneer of these mounts was Cesare Tomè from Agordo (1844 -1922) who dedicated his campaign in 1893 climbing the Corno di Framònt 2,186 m with the guide Pietro Conede. I n 1895 he dedicated an intense alpinistic exploratory exhibition to Moiazza accompanied by the guide Eugenio Condeera "Beca" and the bearer Luigi Farenzena.
Reaching, in those years, the highest summits: the Moiazza Sud and the Cima delle Sasse, both 2878m (the only known example of two distant summits of the same range of the same height). In 1900 the Moiazza Sud was conquisted by Lothar Patèra from Vienna (1867 - 1931) in an incredible time of 3 hours from the casèra (mountain hut) Moiazza 1758 m. Another great pioneer of the Moiazz was Arturo Andreoletti (1884 1977) - that of the north of the Agnèr in 1913. Other (explorers) "esploratori" with notable victories are the sperti brothers (Giancarlo and Silvio) and Francesco "Checo" Zanetti in 1923 and the Angelini brothers (Valentino and Giovanni) with Franco Vienna in 1928. The modern-day alpinism was inaugrated in the Moiazza range by Alfonso Vinci, Paolo Riva and Camillo Giumelli in 1936 on the eastern wall of the Castello delle Nevère 2,599 m judged to be of the VI grado (level) with 19 climbing hours...........
The alpinistic history of the San-Sebastiano - Tàmer Range is lost here and there due to the characterisics of the formation, considered easy and it is thought that certian summits were reached by deer hunters even before the birth of aplinism, even though no proof exists of such facts. The first to reach the summits were without a doubt topographists accompanied by local villagers. The topographist A. Betti ascended Monte Tàmer 2,547 m (which later became Tàmer Grande) and the Monte Castello 2,499 m (later Castello di Moschesin) in 1885. The summits of Gardensano 2,446 m was touched in 1893 by the guide from Zoldo Rinaldo Pasqualin. Also Cesare Tomè from Agordo reached the forementioned in 1892, with the well- known alpinists such as Jeanne Immink, Demeter Diamantiol and Eugen Zandem; with the guides Eugenio Concedera, Tomaso Da Col, Michele Bettega and Giuseppe Zecchini on Tàmer Piccolo 2,550 mwhich notwithstanding its name is the highest of the range. Explorations were carried out by alfred von Radio- Radis in 1899 and by Arturo Andreoletti in the years 1907 - 1910 - 1913 with the guide Serafino Parissenti. The Sassa di Càleda 2,132 m though modest in height, marked the VI grado (level) of the range with its overhanging walls;Franco Contini and Umberto Benvegnù conquisted the southwet ledge in 1961. Thus, underlining the fact the the apparently easy summits are never to be underestimated; internally there many hidden surprizes.......

The S'ciàra di Oro, known as the Schiàra, is the most beautiful mountain in the basin-valley surrounding Belluno. The main summit (Schiàra 2,564 m) gives the name to the whole range and was reached for the first time by the omnipresent Cesare Tomè from Agordo in 1878, by the German alpinist Gottfried Merzbacherl by the grand guide Santo Siorpaès and by a local hunter employed at the Pian dei Gat, and who remains unknown and according to logic was the only one to know the ascent routes. Almost certainly it was not the first absolute; the summit hasd already been reached by hunters in previous times; confirmed by the deer skeleton found. The great prestige of this mountain is without a doubt the wonderful panorama which brought Merzbacher to declare "............certainly the most enchanting, varied and great, among all the dolomite mounts". The first 'modern' explorer of the Schiàra wa Antonio Berti (1882 - 1956) who in 1909 carried out the first crossing from north to south with Maria and Gino Carugati (from Milan). The second was Arturo Andreoletti (1883 - 1977), one of the most expert alpinists of that period, exploring deeply the Schiàra and who published a methodical sytematic monographic entitled 'La Sinistra del Canale di agordo ( La rivista mensile del CAI no.4 1914), which followed in the "Guida Berti" of 1928. The most significant ascent by Andreoletti was that of the Gusèla del Vescovà in 1913 (already attempted in1909 with a group of alpine soldiers). Thus, began the "Alpinismo Acrobatico Moderno" (Modern acrobatic Allpinism), the pamous fuide Francesco Jori and the Alpine soldier from Falcade Giuseppe Pasquali took part in the group. Other names worth mentionion are Francesco Terribile (1884 - 11977), president of the Bellune Section of the CAI from 1919 and the hunters Eugenio Da Rold called "Genio Pol" (1891 -1980) and gioacchino "Chino" Viel (1893 - 1973).
The great south wall of the schiàra was ascended in1920 by Ten. Luigi Zacchi and Giovanni Olivotto of the alpine corps by a somewhat complex via. Later "raddrizzate" (straightened) in the same year by Gianangelo sperti with "Chino" Viel. In later years the Schiàra became a daring rock gym for great alpinists and explorers such as the Angelini brothers (Valentino and Giovanni), Silvio Sperti, Francesco Zanetti and Attilo Zancristoforo.Dino Buzzati (writer 1906 - 1972) began his alpinistic life at the age of 17 on these mountains.

By Italo Zandonella Callegher