MOUNTAINEERING HISTORY OF THE DOLOMITE MOUNTAINS
The magic of the Italian Dolomite's originates from the sea: the fossils found here bear testimony to this. The landscape of the Dolomites is varied, with wooded valleys and the lush green meadows, above rise the imposing dolomitic towers and a more hostile area. It is a landscape conducive to fantasizing: the kingdom of elves and pixies, trolls and witches. The alpine folk went into the mountains for various reasons: hunting, wood cutting and farming. However, these activities did not involve the climbing of mountain peaks which were looked upon, as sacred and inaccessible places. The undescribable colours that tinge the mountains in the morning light can only enhance this enchanted world and render it even more fantastic.
It is in this awesome setting that an English man named John Ball, conquered the Dolomites with the ascent of the Pelmo in the second half of the 18th century. Interest in mountaineering began long before Ball's climb of Pelmo, in the Western Alps in 1760 Mount Blanc was conquered: this bought event brought mountaineering into a specialized league of its own. There is no written documentation of the first ascent of the Dolomites but it is accepted knowledge that it was made in the Marmolada Group in 1802 by by a group of local priests. However, mountaineering in the Dolomites became very popular towards the mid 18th century.
After Ball's ascent Francis Fox Tuckett and Leslie Stephen two other English gentlemen and pioneers in mountaineering, dedicated their time and energy to the exploration of the Trentino Dolomites, including the Brenta Dolomites. German, Austrian and Italian mountaineers soon followed in the discovery and conquest of the untouched peaks. From then on the Dolomites have been a much sought after terrain for some of the best Italian and European climbers: Messner, Cassin, Detassis, Maestri, Comici, Bonatti, Tito Piaz are just a few and all have left their mark on the Dolomites. Even nowadays, the “ pale mountains” attract millions of mountaineers from all over the world, some are content to repeat the routes opened by famous climbers of the past, others endeavour to open new ones.
The Dolomites offer a truly spectacular stage on which to play and the less harsh climate, according to Motti, make them a Paradise for mountaineers:
When the Dolomite peaks were conquered
- 1852 PALON DEL LATEMAR (Latemar, 2812 m.) Grabmair.
- 1864: PUNTA PENIA (Marmolada, 3343 m.) Paul Grohmann with A. Dimai and F. Dimai.
- 1865: CIMA TOSA (Dolomiti di Brenta, 3173 m.) Giuseppe Loss and companions.
- 1869: SASSO LUNGO (Sasso Lungo, 3181 m.) Paul Grohmann with P. Salcher and F. Innerkofler .
- 1870: CIMON DELLA PALA (Pale di San Martino, 3185 m.) E.R. Whitwell with C. Lauener and S. Siorpaes.
- 1872: CATINACCIO D’ANTERMOIA(Catinaccio, 3002 m.) C.Comyns Tucker and T.H. Carson with A. Bernard.
- 1872: CIMA DI VEZZANA (Pale di San Martino, 3192 m.) D. H. Freshfield and C.C. Tucker.
- 1874: CATINACCIO (Catinaccio, 2981 m.) C.Comyns Tucker and T.H. Carson with F. Devouassoud.
- 1875: SASS MAOR (Pale di San Martino, 2812 m.) H.A. Beachcroft, C.Comyns Tucker with F. Devouassoud and B. Della Santa.
- 1882: CIMA BRENTA (Dolomiti di Brenta, 3150 m.) E.T. Compton and A. de Falkner with A. Dallagiacoma and M. Nicolussi.
- 1884: CROZZON DI BRENTA (Dolomiti di Brenta, 3123 m.) Karl schulz and M. Nicolussi.
- 1885: CAMPANILE ALTO DI BRENTA (Dolomiti di Brenta, 2938 m.) G. Merzbacher with B. Nicolussi.
- 1887: TORRE WINKLER (Catinaccio, Torri del Vajlet, 2800 m.) Georg Winkler.
- 1888: TORRE INNERKOFLER (Sasso Lungo, 3081 m.): L. Darmstadter, H. Stabeler, L. Bernard.
- 1890: Punta delle Cinque Dita (Sasso Lungo, 2996 m.) J. Santler, R. H. Schmitt.
- 1895: TORRE DELAGO (Catinaccio, Torri del Vajolet,2790 m.) Hermann Delago.
- 1899: CAMPANILE BASSO (Dolomiti di Brenta, 2877 m.) Otto Ampferer e K. Berger.