Italian Guide Nails Major Dolomites Enchainment, Solo and in Winter

On March 3, 2022, Simon Gietl of Italy’s South Tyrol successfully completed the first-ever traverse of the Rosengarten route in the Italian Dolomites. No less, he did it alone and in the dead of winter.

The Rosengarten traverse’s first ascent

Gietl, 38, is an accomplished alpinist and mountain guide. Following his online travel log makes it clear that when he isn’t guiding, he’s pursuing first ascents.

The Rosengarten traverse rides along the Catinaccio massif in the Italian Dolomites from Val di Fassa in Trentino to Eggenstal in South Tyrol. Outfitters offer some moderate portions of the traverse as guided treks during the summer and early autumn.

A solo winter excursion in the alpine loft of northern Italy, though, is a different animal. The frozen task could only ever appeal to a real adventurist. Gietl happens to be just such a character.

Gietl on his solo winter ascent of the Rosengarten enchainment in the Dolomites circa March 2022. Photo: S. Gietl

Gietl on his solo winter ascent of the Rosengarten enchainment in the Dolomites, March 2022. Photo: S. Gietl


The ascent took Gietl three days and two nights, beginning on Tuesday, March 1. The route gains more than 5,000 vertical metres in total. Despite its clear challenges, Gietl posited that the Rosengarten is “a route that’s absolutely logical. Unlike the Tre Cime di Lavaredo where I know every nook and cranny, here I was climbing a mountain that I hardly know at all. I had to break the trail, self-belay all hard pitches and climb them twice to get my gear, and for three days I didn’t see a soul.

I was completely alone, and this was exactly the experience I’d been searching for.”

It was Gietl’s second attempt at the undertaking. His first began one week prior, in the company of fellow alpinists Egon Resch and Daniel Habock. According to his report, the trio retreated from that attempt when rockfall hit their first bivouac.

Watch Gietl’s personal ‘First Ascents’ page for his forthcoming Rosengarten traverse report, and keep busy reading through his remarkable tome of earlier climbs while you wait.


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