Solo First Ascent in the Dolomites

Simon Gietl has made a new solo first ascent, this time on the west face of Mittlerer Zwolfer in the Sexten Dolomites, in South Tyrol, Italy. Gietl named his new line Identity.

Simon Gietl solo climbing on the west face of Mittlerer Zwolfer.

Simon Gietl on the west face of Mittlerer Zwolfer. Photo: Simon Gietl


The Zwolfer pyramid ends in several peaks. The main one is the 3,094m Hoher Zwolfer. To the left lie two slightly smaller peaks, Kleine Zwolfer and Kleinster Zwolfer. Oddly shaped rock needles called the Ladies of Vicenza stand next to them.

Toward the south, separated by a gap, the mountain continues with 3,011m Mittlerer Zwolfe (the “middle” peak).

Simon Gietl climbing "Identitat", his new solo first ascent on the west face of Mittlerer Zwolfen.

Simon Gietl on ‘Identity.’ Photo: Simon Gietl


Gietl is well known for his solo ascents, including several in winter, as well as for his bold climbs with small teams. His many achievements include:

  • a nonstop ascent of Supercanaleta on Patagonia’s Fitz Roy in 32.5 hours (valley-summit-valley) with Gerry Fiegl, in 2014
  • the first ascent of Black Rose on Devil’s Paw, Alaska with Roger Schaeli, in 2015
  • the first ascent of Stigmata in the Heiligkreuzkofel Dolomites with Andrea Oberbacher in 2017
  • the first ascent of Shiva’s Ice on Shivling in India with Vittorio Messini
  • the solo first ascent of Can You Hear Me on Cima Scotoni in the Dolomites in 2018
  • the North6 with Roger Schaeli in 2021 in 17 days, using bicycles and paragliders to get to the six great North Faces of the Alps
  • the first winter solo traverse of the entire Rosengarten route in the Italian Dolomites in three days in 2022
  • Finally, this year, Gietl, Mathieu Maynadier, and Roger Schaeli opened a new alpine-style route up Meru South in India’s Garhwal Himalaya
Simon Gietl selfie photo on the top of Mittlerer Zwolfen in the Sexten Dolomites.

An elated Simon Gietl on top of Mittlerer Zwolfen. Photo: Simon Gietl

Kris Annapurna

KrisAnnapurna is a writer with ExplorersWeb.

Kris has been writing about history and tales in alpinism, news, mountaineering, and news updates in the Himalaya, Karakoram, etc., for the past year with ExplorersWeb. Prior to that, Kris worked as a real estate agent, interpreter, and translator in criminal law. Now based in Madrid, Spain, she was born and raised in Hungary.