Free Solo of El Cap-Sized 5.12 in Dolomites

By Dougald MacDonald ,

Hansjörg Auer free-soloing Via Attraverso il Pesce (33 ptiches, 5.12c) on the Marmolada, as seen from the nearby route Don Quixote.

Austrian Hansjörg Auer has free-soloed the legendary route “The Fish” on the South Face of the Marmolada in Italy, completing the 900-meter 5.12c in just under three hours. The 33-pitch Via Attraverso il Pesce (aka “The Fish”) was established in 1981 and is famed for its serious, sustained free climbing on massive slabs of limestone. The climb was free-climbed solo in 1990 by Maurizo Giordani, but the Italian self-belayed on nine pitches.

Auer, 23, had climbed Il Pesce in late 2004 with a partner, but did not free-climb all the pitches during that ascent. On April 28 this spring, he rappelled in from the top to inspect the crux pitches, spending about five hours on the route. At 9 a.m. the next day he started climbing, wearing only his clothes, climbing shoes, chalk bag, and helmet; he did not bring a rope. Auer tagged the top at 11:55 a.m.

In June 2006, Auer completed the third free solo of the classic Tempi Moderni (27 pitches, 5.11) on the Marmolada. The route previously had been free-soloed by Giordani and Tomo Cesen.

Read a good short interview with Auer at

Date of Ascent: April 29, 2007

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