On the last day of out holiday we decided to climb the classic Via Maria up the south face of the Sass Pordoi. This is a 370m 8 pitch climb (+ 3 pitches of moving together at the top) which is graded at VI+ or about UK Hard Severe.
As it was a long route we wanted to leave plenty of time, and we didn’t really want to spend the day queueing if we could avoid it we decided to have a really early start. This worked out as we were the first team on the route, however as it turns out there was actually only one other team on the route that day anyway!
As it was a long route, and I have had previous issues with the Rockfax guidebook I searched around the internet for better route descriptions. I found this one which seemed much better for most of the route: https://www.multi-pitch.com/climbs/via-maria-on-sass-pordoi-south-face/
After a harsh start to the day with the steep climb out of the car park, with tired legs we were soon at the climb. Most of the climbing was brilliant with good rock and interesting climbing. There were a few scrappy pitches and one very poorly protected pitch.
The highlights were the second (crux) pitch, the bold but interesting fourth pitch and the amazing exposed sixth pitch. It was really strange having the cable car pass so close to us, especially from ledge at the end of the technical climbing, however we did spend most of the morning ducking when the shadow suddenly passed over us!
We made good time up the route and the excellent time up the last 120m by moving together, which was easy thanks to threads on the first half, and metalwork on the second half. The top out was novel as it involved jumping over the fence into the lift station, and then belaying off the fence. To the amusement of the many tourists who had got the lift to the top.
Unfortunately there was a load of building work going on so the top wasn’t the most relaxing place to be, but we enjoyed a quick drink before making the easiest descent possible back to the car in the cable car.