New Ice Route on Dolomites’ Sorapiss

Italian guides Francesco Rigon and Mirco Grasso have opened a 170m-long ice route on the Croda di Cacciagrande on Mt. Sorapiss in the Dolomites.

They dubbed it Solo per un Sorriso — “Just for a Smile” — a warm name for a cold endeavor. Unlike other routes opened recently, this one lies in a less visited corner of Italy’s climbing mecca.

“The approach [compares] to those in Patagonia,” Rigon wrote. They took five hours to approach the north side of the peak, where they had spotted a potential line while ski mountaineering some days before. It then took another hour to reach the beginning of the line. They were already very tired, but once on the wall, the excitement of the route kept them going.

A climber advances in deep snow among small trees toward a huge rock and ice face.

During the long approach, at sunrise. Photo: Francesco Rigon


A sunset summit

The line first climbs an ice gully (AI3, 60m), then continues up an ice wall for four pitches. Rigon lists the details, partial grades proposed, and the gear used on his website. Overall, the climbers propose WI 5+ for the new route.

They summited at sunset. It was already dark by the time they rappelled down to their gear depot. They were still three hours from the car.

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Angela Benavides

Angela Benavides graduated university in journalism and specializes in high-altitude mountaineering and expedition news. She has been writing about climbing and mountaineering, adventure and outdoor sports for 20+ years.

Prior to that, Angela Benavides spent time at/worked at a number of local and international media. She is also experienced in outdoor-sport consultancy for sponsoring corporations, press manager and communication executive, and a published author.