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8/19/13 – Sasha DiGiulian and Spanish climbing partner Edu Marin have onsighted the Camilotto Pellissier on the north face of Cima Grande in the Italian Dolomites. The 11-pitch 5.13 was established in 1967 and free-climbed in 2003 by the Italian climber Mauro “Bubu” Bole, who rated the route 8b (5.13d). Subsequent ascents have suggested lower grades for the key pitches, but it remains a very difficult Alpine testpiece, beginning with six pitches of 5.12 or harder on a cold, wet north face.
DiGiulian, who made a landmark free ascent of Bellavista (5.14b) on nearby Cima Ovest about a week earlier, traded leads with Marin. Each onsighted every pitch, leading or following, with DiGiulian leading two of the hardest pitches. This was the first time a woman has onsighted the route and free-climbed it in a day. Two women, Ines Papert and Alexandra Schweikart, had previously free-climbed the route, putting in multiple days of work. And last summer, Frenchwoman Stephanie Bodet repeated the crux six pitches at the bottom with partner Arnaud Petit, without continuing up the remaining five pitches (up to 5.11) to the summit. The route was first free-climbed in a single day in 2011.
The French climbers and a Slovenian who repeated the route earlier each suggested the climbing was considerably easier than Bole had rated it, topping out at no more than 7c (5.13a, French opinion) to 8a/8a+ (5.13b/c, Slovenian opinion). At her 8a.nu scorecard, DiGiulian wrote, “It’s probable that this route is not an 8a+ as originally graded. We…didn’t find the hardest pitches to be harder than 7c+ or so, because the climb was wet and holds broke and it was still possible. Though, at the same time, in my opinion it is hard to equate grades of a big wall in the Dolomites to sport climbing grades. The experience is much different, and the one is much more taxing than the latter.”
The north wall of Cima Grande di Lavaredo is one of the “six great north faces of the Alps,” first climbed by Emilio Comici and partners in 1933, and now a superb 1,500-foot, 5.10+ free climb. The Camiloto Pellissier lies on the left margin of the north face.
Date of ascent: August18