Become a Member

Get access to more than 30 brands, premium video, exclusive content, events, mapping, and more.

Already have an account? Sign In

Become a Member

Get access to more than 30 brands, premium video, exclusive content, events, mapping, and more.

Already have an account? Sign In

Brands

News

Italian Trio Establishes 21-Pitch “Space Vertigo” (5.13b) on Cima Ovest, Dolomites

Space Vertigo takes a nearly completely independent line to the summit of Cima Ovest, Tre Cime di Lavaredo, Dolomites, Italy.

Lock Icon

Become a member to unlock this story and receive other great perks.

Already have an Outside Account? Sign in

Outside+ Logo

All-Access
Intro Offer
$3.99 / month*

  • A $500 value with 25+ benefits including:
  • Access to all member-only content on all 17 publications in the Outside network like Rock and Ice, Climbing, Outside, Backpacker, Trail Runner and more
  • Annual subscription to Climbing magazine.
  • Annual gear guides for climbing, camping, skiing, cycling, and more
  • Gaia GPS Premium with hundreds of maps and global trail recommendations, a $39.99 value
  • Outside Learn, our new online education hub loaded with more than 2,000 videos across 450 lessons including 6 Weeks to Stronger Fingers and Strength Training for Injury Prevention
  • Premium access to Outside TV and 1,000+ hours of exclusive shows
  • Annual subscription to Outside magazine
Join Outside+

*Outside memberships are billed annually. Print subscriptions available to U.S. residents only. You may cancel your membership at anytime, but no refunds will be issued for payments already made. Upon cancellation, you will have access to your membership through the end of your paid year. More Details

space vertigo
Cima Ovest. Space Vertigo is the red line, Alpenliebe is the green line, Via Couzy is the blue line, and Itasiss is the orange line.

At the end of summer 2019, Italian alpinists Alessandro Baù, Claudio Migliorini and Nicola Tondini opened a new route called Space Vertigo on Cima Ovest di Lavaredo, Tre Cime di Lavaredo, in the Dolomites, Italy.
 They established the new line ground up, having started the route back in 2016. Protected with wires, cams, tricams, pitons and—at the belays only—bolts, the route takes an elegant line to the right of Via Couzy and climbs completely independently all the way to the summit, apart from one belay shared with Alpenliebe.

A full free ascent of the route would have to wait though. The three alpinists returned this year to finish Space Vertigo by completing a full free ascent.

In 2019, the line was established by free climbing only, without any aid climbing whatsoever, and takes a logical line through the roofs. The name of the route recalls the tremendous exposure that characterizes the route.

[Also Read Lukasz Dudek Rope Solos 550-Meter Pan Aroma (5.14b), Cima Ovest, Italy]

“For us, it was an incredible experience of teaming up and sharing ethics, fears and joys,” says Alessandro Baù of finishing of the multi-year project. “Years ago none of us thought of drawing a new line in Tre Cime di Lavaredo and, once we started, we tried to do it in the best way. We are satisfied with the result and we hope that someone will come and repeat it; it is certainly the most difficult route we have opened so far.”

Pitch 3 of Space Vertigo. Photo: Giovanni Danieli.
Pitch 7 of Space Vertigo. Photo: Giovanni Danieli.

All three worked a few pitches earlier this summer and, after hauling provisions and two portaledges to the middle of the hardest section of the route (“the yellow overhanging wall”), on September 9 they returned to their route to free every single pitch.

The start proved far harder than expected, due to the humidity and total lack of friction, and by the end of the first day they had only freed the first three pitches instead of the first six as planned. Instead of sleeping in the portaledges, they returned to the ground and set off early the following morning, ascending the fixed ropes before continuing up the harder section over the next two days.

In the early afternoon on the fourth day they reached the summit; each pitch had been freed by at least one of the three mountain guides.
 The route’s main traits are its relentless difficulties coupled with hard obligatory climbing.

While the grades still needed confirming, the crux is a traverse in the region of IX+/X- (5.13b/8a). Five pitches are graded IX (5.12d) or IX+ (5.13a)  and another eight weigh in at VIII+ (5.12a) or IX- (5.12b or 5.12c), while the remaining seven pitches are easier with classic difficulties.

“It’s a nice kick in the teeth,” says Alessandro Baù.

The team on the summit. Photo: Matteo Pavana.