Dolomites, Cinque Torri, The Climbers Playground!

Whilst climbing on the South Arête of Sass de Stria, we could see in the distance a skyline broken by a hedge hog effect of rock. Sticking out in all angles and all shapes and sizes was the Cinque Torri (the five towers). This was one of the places on my climbing hit list in the Dolomites and so it was great to have the opportunity to climb there. 

The view of the five towers from Sass de Stria

We nearly didn’t make it, as we woke in the morning to thick fog covering everything, so not a great start. We decided to head into town as Jess had some work to send and we could decide what we were doing once we finished. Although the fog cleared, the clouds stuck around, and we thought we would take a punt at climbing some of the five towers. 

We took the usual winding roads up through the pass, and for the first time on the trip our road rage advanced to sign language, as we were beeped by the car behind, for slowing for the car in front who was turning off the road, I’m not sure if they thought I should just drive through them and not slow, however when they overtook I returned the favour, pipped my horn and gave them a grand fuck off! It’s weird that after all the bad driving we encountered in France, where it seems licences are handed out in cereal boxes, only now when the general driving seems more normal have we both broken, and simultaneously upped our road rage!

The view from the top of the cable car

Once we arrived, clear heads were back on and we made our way up to the towers via the cable car. Once at the top, you are immediately rewarded with a fantastic view of the towers! We navigated our way around the site and found a set of three towers that all had routes that we wanted to climb. The whole area was a maze of footpaths, boulders and towers, if there was a playground built for climbers, this place looked tailor made! We were following a large group of Germans and were fearful that we were going to be ten minutes late and caught in traffic on the route, however they stopped short and we set up for one of the climbs on the north face of the Torre Seconda.

As this was again a lower grade climb, the route was polished and occasionally had bolts or pegs which helped with our route finding. We did have one off moment, when Jess led a 3+ pitch, so it should have been easy, however I found myself laybacking a corner on smeared feet and average to good hand holds, I was not sure of what to make if this, until after we finished the climb and saw another group on the route who did not take it directly, and instead climbed the other side of the wall, which seemed a lot easier. 

Me climbing the tower
Jess dangling in thin air on the abseil from our first climb

The route was not an epic nor will it be remembered as a great, however it was a fun route all the same. Following finishing the route we did an abseil that was mostly in thin air, which is pretty cool and made our way to the foot of the face again where we found a boulder and climbed atop to sit and have our lunch. I decided that I wanted to climb a shorter climb as I was just not feeling it today and the clouds were blackening in the sky, and so completed the normal route on Torri Inglese, the most northerly tower in the group. Again this was something of a polished number, although it was still a good bit of fun, that is until we pulled down our abseil ropes and right at the end it got stuck! We tried in vain to get the rope to budge and eventually gave in to climbing the first pitch again, Jess led off and got to the first belay and removed the rope that had wrapped itself around a boulder on the ledge. Sometimes there is nothing you can do about the ropes getting caught, we took all precautions and it still got stuck. Luckily this time the retrieval was on an easier pitch of climbing than the last time we had an ab rope get stuck! 

Climbing Torri Inglise

By now we had missed our lift back to the van, and so I trundled through the trenches and gun emplacements that had been used in World War One by the Italians. A lot of this has been rebuilt and made to look similar to what it would have been like in the war, unlike Sass de Stria, which in places looked as though it was falling into disrepair. Here and there were information posts, although these were not of a high quality, as well as manakins acting out scenarios. All very touristy but still good fun, for me at least I’m not sure Jess was overly enthused…

The view from a trench
Inside the trench

As we missed the lift we made our way back to the van on foot, and the path was decent enough throughout. I’m quite happy we walked down, as we have been quite sedentary for a while so some extra exercise was good! Back at the van we filled the water tank up with fresh water that was flowing down the hill, basically Evian on tap! I cooked up a culinary delight of fat pasta with German sausages, which was severely needed as I was feeling pretty tired! Again, another day has come and gone so quickly, if we are not careful, this trip will be over before we know it. I’m loving this lifestyle, so I really hope it does not fly by too quickly!

A cross in memory of the fallen, with Cinque Torri in the background
The view from the first tower we climbed!
At the top of the climb!
Torri Lusy, one of the Seconda towers
Torri Inglise

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