Winter Dolomites: New Route On The East Face of Civetta

Contrary to last season (which was very dry), the Alps are enjoying a good old-fashioned winter. It is cold and snowy, and local climbers are making the most of it.

Some climbers have long-term projects in mind and will wait weeks for their dream ice routes to coalesce. On other occasions, new lines are revealed to the climbers’ expert eye as they gaze up at the mountains. Such was the case two weeks ago, on one of the most famous peaks in the Dolomites.

Two days on the Civetta

Civetta is famous for its mighty limestone walls, especially the 1,000m-long northwest face. In winter, downhill skiers watch its flanks as they slide around the massif, which lies in the middle of the huge ski area around Cortina d’Ampezzo.

While driving through the region, Frenchman Matthieu Maynadier and Italian Francesco Favilli caught a glimpse of what looked like a potential climbing line. The line was on rock and ice, up a gully on the East face of the peak.

“[We made a] quick call to guide Christian Casanova and went off for two days of fun,” Maynadier wrote on social media.

Climbing on Civetta's east face.

Climbing on Civetta’s east face. Photo: Mathieu Maynadier


The result is a 560m mixed route with difficulties graded as M6+/WI5. Favilli, Maynadier, and Casanova climbed the route in two days, on Jan. 15-16. They used only retrievable gear (no bolts). Once on top, they descended by the via ferrata degli Alleghesi.

the three climbers at a belay on a snow sections.

The climbers on the new route. Photo: Mathieu Maynadier


Maynadier is a professional climber with an impressive resume of new routes and first ascents. Last year he opened a new route on Meru South (Garhwal, India), one of our top expeditions of 2023.

Yet, the new route on Civetta was his “introduction to Dolomites’ alpine climbing,” he said.

Route marked in red on a photo of the Civetta's face, and the route data typed on the upper left corner.

Route topo. Photo: Mathieu Maynadier

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.