Two Big Solos in the Dolomites

Climbing
Mount Agner in the Dolomites
Photo: David Leduc

At the end of July, 29-year-old David Leduc of  Belgium soloed two big routes in the Dolomites.

One, the 1,600m Spigolo Nord, is a classic arete that climbs Mount Agnar in Italy’s Belluno Province. He climbed the other, the Diedro Casarotto-Radin on Spiz di Lagunaz, two days later.

The Longest Route in the Dolomites

On the Spigolo Nord, Leduc spent about 3.5 hours soloing the arete, which rises strikingly from the San Lucano Valley. It was first climbed in 1932 and is the longest route in the Dolomites. Almost 80 years later, it remains a proud Dolomites classic, with a UIAA grading of VI-/V+, V (YDS 5.9). The grade V rating should take an average party several days. Leduc floated up it in half an afternoon, solo.

Spigolo Nord of Mount agner

Spigolo Nord.

Leduc seemingly found that perfect alpine flow on this aesthetic ridge. “It was a delightful lightness to ascend this endless ridge, gallop down the hill, hitchhike to the valley and be at the terrace enjoying a beer in the early afternoon,” he told PlanetMountain.

The ridge carves its way up the skyline, leaving the climber to follow a moderate limestone line into the sky with a healthy dose of exposure.

Photo: David Leduc

A Dihedral to the Sky

Two days later, Leduc headed out again, this time to climb the strikingly wide corner of the Diedro Casarotto-Radin on Spiz di Lagunaz. The route mounts part of Pale di San Lucano, a group of peaks across the valley from his first objective. His route featured 750m with a difficulty of VI+, A1 or VII+ (YDS 5.10 A1 or 5.11).

Leduc self-belayed the vertical pitches of the route and completed the 20+ pitch route in 11 hours. The whole outing required two days, because of the challenging nature and length of the approach and descent. The bivy also became stressful with unforeseen storms.

Photo: David Leduc

“Everything went well, apart from the bivy on Spiz de Lagunaz,”
 said Leduc. “I had no shelter. Contrary to the weather forecast, there were two showers during the night, and…flashes of lightning kept me from sleeping because I was afraid that my dream would turn into a nightmare. Fortunately, the real thunderstorm didn’t start until the next day, just after I had finished all the rappels and started walking back down.

The double solo ascent was a notable accomplishment for the Belgian climber, who previously established a 1,500m route in the same area in 2019. The quiet San Lucano valley features stunningly high walls and beautiful climbing off the beaten path in the Dolomites.

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About the Author

Ilana Newman

Ilana Newman

A freelance writer and photographer based in Southwest Colorado, Ilana spends her time climbing, running, skiing, and geeking out in the natural world.

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