Italian Duo Completes 21-pitch 5.13

By Dougald MacDonald ,

Matteo Della Bordella leads the ninth pitch of Coelophysis, a newly completed 21-pitch 5.13c in the Swiss Alps. Courtesy of Fabio Palma.

Looking down the crux fourth pitch of Coelophysis, featuring Wendenstöcke’s characteristic limestone runnels. Courtesy of Fabio Palma.

After three seasons of work, Matteo Della Bordella and Fabio Palma have completed Coelophysis, a 21-pitch 5.13c on the 2,000-foot-high Mahren sector of Switzerland’s Wendenstöcke cliffs. Della Bordella, 24, redpointed the crux fourth pitch, “a very technical 8a+ (5.13c).” Coelophysis is now the longest route on the 9,980-foot mountain’s water-carved limestone walls.

Palma, 43, spent 18 days over three years working on the new route, which was equipped “trying to use as few bolts as possible.” Most pitches require cams for protection, often in the flaring runnels characteristic of Wenden. There are two possible bivouac sites, atop the third and thirteenth pitches.

In addition to the crux fourth lead, Palma said, “the rest of the route has several challenging pitches, from overhanging to slab style.” The climb has mandatory free climbing as hard as 5.12b.

The line of Coelophysis, straight up the 2,000-foot Mahren sector of Wenden. Courtesy of Fabio Palma.

In 2005, Della Bordella and Palma, plus Domenico Soldarini, opened Portami Via (5.13a) on Wendenstöcke, a seven-pitch route that has seen only one known repeat, by Simon Anthamatten and Ueli Steck.

Date of Ascent: August 2008

Source: Fabio Palma

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Fabio Palma leads the second pitch of Portami Via (5.13a), a route he completed in 2005 at Wenden. “It’s much shorter than Coelophysis, but very, very exposed,” he said. Courtesy of Fabio Palma.

Fabio Palma, left, and Matteo Della Bordella. Courtesy of Fabio Palma.

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