A Sure Frozen Thing

Guaranteed ice formations in the heart of the Italian Alps – Dolomites, Italy. On a recent quest of quests to ramp up our alpine training by hacking away at some frozen ice falls in the Alps, we realized that 2013-2014 is shaping up to be a rather disappointing ice climbing season.  At least for us [...]

Guaranteed ice formations in the heart of the Italian Alps – Dolomites, Italy.

On a recent quest of quests to ramp up our alpine training by hacking away at some frozen ice falls in the Alps, we realized that 2013-2014 is shaping up to be a rather disappointing ice climbing season.  At least for us here in Europe.  Our go-to 300m ice falls amongst Austria and Switzerland were sporty as all hell where they were “in”, though mostly still rushing waterfalls fighting the winter freeze.  We took two weeks to travel over 1,500 miles and in that journey we stumbled upon some *gasp* guaranteed ice.

Serrai di Sottoguda, a natural reserve, is a gorge carved out of the massive Dolomite rock walls.  The best way to describe it is an outdoor ice climbing gym.  Tourists, both by foot and skis, pass through the 1.2 mile gorge to take in the site of ice climbers making their way up waterfalls seemingly frozen in time.   Sold?  Stand in line, so is every other European.  We stopped counting at a tally of 100 ice hungry climbers in the gorge with balmy temps of 10° F.

Ice climbing in Serrai di Sottoguda and tourist onlookers.

Ice climbing in Serrai di Sottoguda and tourist onlookers.

Photo Album

Serrai di Sottoguda Mini-Topo

Information adapted from dolomiti.com.
–>  Download your copy here.

Serrai di Sottoguda Ice Climbing Topo Guide

Name

Technical Rating

Beauty

Formation Likelihood

Length (m)

1

Baby

2

**

****

15

2

Baby Killer

5+

***

*

25

3

La Luna Nera

5

***

**

25

4

Del Sole

3

***

***

90

5

Le Ciandeline

3+

**

*

20

6

Della Luna

3

**

***

40

7

Della Clessidra

3+

*

**

25

8

Nicol’erta

4+

***

*

105

9

La Roccia nella Spada

7/7+

****

*

50

10

La Spada nella Roccia

5

***

****

40

11

La Spirale della Contingenza

5+

**

*

90

12

Del Gelato

2

*

**

15

13

La Cattedrale

dx 4+ sx 5

****

****

100

14

Della Traversata

3+

**

****

70

15

Psico

5+

**

*

20

16

Delle Trasparenze

4+

**

**

40

17

Palestrina

2

**

**

35

18

Excalibur

4+

****

****

105

19

Lingua d’Argento

4+

***

**

95

20

Rugiada

4

**

*

20

21

Placca d’Argento

5-

**

*

55

22

Arbre Magique

4-

**

**

30

Quick Reference Guide

Location: Serrai di Sottoguda – Dolomites, Italy

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Best Time to Climb:
Winter.

Gear:

Approach:
Park at 46.424720°, 11.933290°.  Obey all parking signs.  Follow the signs to ‘Serrai di Sottoguda’.

Guide Books:

  • Alpine Ice, by Mario Sertori

Article by

Raised in the ocean lined landscape of Southern California, Ilana now calls the rocky mountains of Colorado home. Ilana is a mother to an adventurous daughter, an accomplished rock and ice climber, skier, snowboarder, mountain distance runner, avid adventurer, and a Registered Trauma Nurse. A recent, near fatal accident in May, 2018, has left Ilana with a new disability; bringing her biggest life challenge to head, adapting to continue her pursuit of long, hard days in the mountains and share it with the generations to come. Ilana is the founder of Thrillseekers Anonymous, a seasoned event speaker, and has been featured in various media outlets including the February 2015 issue of ‘Climbing’ magazine, December 2013 issue of ‘Rock and Ice’ magazine, December/January 2013 issue of ‘Gripped Climbing’ magazine, Canyoneering: A Guide to Techniques for Wet and Dry Canyons (How To Climb Series) by Dave Black and Pasadena Magazine as well as a Climbing Expert on MTV’s Parental Control (Season 7 – “Heather”).

Ilana has written 121 articles for Thrillseekers Anonymous.

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