Paternkofel, Northwest Ridge (Bolte/Wolf), IV (7 pitches)
We slept in Saturday, somehow unable to get up and do some harder climbing. We had either the “Kleine Cassin” on the Pruessturm on the agenda or the “Egger-Sauscheck” route on the Kleine Zinne in mind. But those were hard and we felt lazy. We decided against the Comici route on the Punta di Frida because of the way it goes halfway up then you walk off (unsatisfying).
Above is a picture of the “Kleine Cassin,” with some people on it.
Ultimately, we just wanted something like a hike, and the Paternkofel fit the bill. Taking a single rope and a few pieces of gear, we hiked over to near the route. Jesse went a good way, and I chose a poor way to climb the scree slopes to the start. Basically he had to wait 30 minutes for me to arrive, a bit dirty and shattered! Another party of four was 3 pitches above.
Above, the Paternkofel as seen from the Drei Zinnen. Our route takes the left skyline to the summit, ignoring the towers further left, rather going straight up from scree.
After our day yesterday, we found this terrain so easy, it was like walking. We swarmed up the first two pitches in 10 minutes and caught the party as they worked on a grade IV chimney. I spied a better line right of the chimney, led up that, then continued into the next pitch so that we wouldn’t crowd them at their belay. Jesse made a crux grade V move at an overhang (our topo says to go around far right…see…we don’t pay as much attention to it anymore!), and then we enjoyed several very nice pitches on the ridge crest. A final scenic scramble got us to the summit. We’d done that route in 2 hours, actually beating a Dolomite guidebook time for the first time ever! (BTW, this route is not the North-Northwest Ridge in the Koehler and Memmel guide (III+), though they eventually join up.)
What a great view up here!
Another view…with years of climbing in it!
We descended the Sepp Innerkofler via ferrata that leads to the Rifugio Locatelli, then had a great spaghetti lunch. It was fun playing around in the war tunnels, and speeding down the via ferrata to the consternation of folks methodically clipping and unclipping carabiners. We saw some lakes in front of the Drei Zinnen and resolved to hike there for a swim. Jesse didn’t want to descend too much, so he tried a different way. His heart wasn’t in it though, and he eventually took the path of least resistence, going back to the Aronzo Hut for a rest. I could tell he was going to do that by his comments and the extreme aversion to hiking uphill he’d acquired since lunch!
I hiked down into a lovely basin with cows, then back up to a great plain of stone in front of the Drei Zinnen. Eventually I reached the lake, stripped and jumped in. Oh my god that’s cold! But refreshing!
I got out and sat looking at the walls a while. I took a nice nap, and eventually figured it was time to head back. There was only one day left on the trip, we’d better see what we can do with it. I went back over the Col-de-Medo pass, ending up well pleased with our easy but spontaneous day.