7th Outing: 14 June - Via Messner to Cima della Madonna
Via "Messner" ("Messner" Route) → Cima della Madonna → Pale di S.Martino(length 300m / diff. 5+ / opened by R. and G. Messner in October 1967)
We leave early from the valley bottom, looking enraptured at the charming profile of Cima della Madonna. As we climb under the North face we realize straight away that perhaps this was not a good day to climb in the shadow: there is a chilly wind blowing, that cools our ideas as well as our hands, and forces us to put on a full winter gear. And to think that the Messner brothers made the first ascent in late October, way back in 1967... At the start of the route one immediately realizes how determined Reinhold and Günther must have been in conceiving this route on an open face, with no obvious reference points. It certainly was a cutting-edge achievement and a forerunner of some great exploits that were to bring to the fore these two young men from Alto Adige, the prophets of a rebirth of free climbing after the long season of artificial climbing.
With friends Luca Cornella and Roberto Pedrotti we moved in the footsteps of the openers, seeking out the route in between slabs: the incredibly worked rock allows to climb with moderate difficulty even in the steeper sections and delivers a handsome, fun climb where the search for the numerous rock tunnels somehow turns into an intriguing treasure hunt. On the last stretch we rejoin the Velo edge, where the ice sticks remind us why today we see no sign of the usual crowd! Better descend quickly and go enjoy the panorama on the sunny terrace of Rifugio Velo...
Access: from the town of S. Martino di Castrozza (or, alternatively, from the first hairpin bend ahead of Valmesta), reach Malga Zighertage (1,375m) along a forest road. From there, follow the Sat 713 path to Rifugio Velo (1.45h), then go up the first ferrata stretch and still higher , along the channel at the base of the North face. The start is located next to 3 tunnels with cords (45 min. from the refuge).
Return: starting from the summit, cross to the east (direction Sass Maor / red arrows) until you come to a notch that lets you into the North side (diff. 4), where the descent belays are equipped (2 abseils x 25m, 1 optional (or down climb), 1 x 25m). From the fork, go down along the south eastern gully (diff. 3) to the last crag with compulsory descent (1 x 20m). From here, follow the path to return in 15 min to Rifugio Velo (1.30h from the summit).