Tuesday 17 September 2013

Waiting to actually try on Bellavista

Last month after the Eiger I came to the Dolomites with Calum to have a go at Bellavista, Alex Huber’s famous 8c on the north face of Cima Ovest. We had one day on it when it was wet and then had to leave when faced with a forecast of a week of thunderstorms.

Not liking being defeated, I hastily arranged a return in September for a long shot week on it with Alan Cassidy. A long shot because it might be getting a little cold by then for alpine north face 8c. The roof pitches on Bellavista suffer from dampness a lot. Sometimes, it’s just damp, and it’s ok for getting on it, if a little slippery. But this time it’s been just wet, soaking bloody wet. And when it's not wet, it's full on winter.

On our first day it was actually a bit drier, but about minus 2 with a strong gusty wind bringing in some snow flurries. I went for a session in the roof and made a bit of progress even though I was shivering quite amusingly by the time I got back to the belay. Alan took one look at me from the comfort of the belay jacket and opted to go down. Sensible.

After that it did warm up to around 3 or 4 degrees on the wall, but the warm humid air on freezing rock made it soaking. We opted to go up and do the 8a pitch above the 8c which we both could do pretty easily despite the wetness.

Overnight and this morning the conditions have turned back to full on blizzards and so once again we are sitting it out. We have a couple more days but It’s looking almost certain that if it warms up again it’ll take longer than that for the slime to dry off that roof.

Nevermind, at least we have tried. And I have done a lot of writing...

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