After skiing the Piz Boe Direttissima, we decided to try and nail the ‘Hole in the Tofana” on the Tofana di Mezzo on the drive back to Cortina. You can access this route via the chairlifts of the resort with a short hike, but that would be too easy and waiting for lifts is always such a drag.
The starting point of the tour sat below the Tofana de Rozes which is home to one of the biggest walls in the Dolomiti and I think renowned climber Alex Huber even soloed a 5.13 route on it. (Maybe someone can help me with this) There is lots of climbing history in this area and we passed the famous Cinque Torre a few times on our way to different areas as well. After about a half an hour skin we broke out of the trees into the more alpine world and were really able to grasp the immensity and beauty of the terrain. Just amazing!
As we gained elevation, we began to see more and more stone structures left from World War I when the Italians battled the Austrians high in the mountains. The buildings ranged from small barricades that protected the fighting soldiers, to large buildings which housed the soldiers during their time away from the heat of battle. There was also a cable system that was used for transporting food and artillery up the mountain. Stories of the Italians tunneling into the mountains and blowing up the ground directly underneath the enemy were heard often and although I’m not much of a history buff, were quite interesting to hear.
The Hole in the Tofana got its name because of the rock arch that occupies the top of the couloir and it slowly came into view as we made our way up the couloir, eventually bootpacking the steep, upper section. Unfortunately, the snow petered out the last ten feet or so to the top, so we wouldn’t be able to make turns from directly beneath the arch. Peering over the top into the ski resort, we could see that the upper lift that accesses this area wasn’t running, so we were glad to have climbed it under our own power than wait for the lifts to open.
The skiing was pretty good, but I remember a breakable crust that challenged us somewhere on the descent. Some clouds rolled in and really gave things a mystical feeling as we made our way down to the skin track, passing a memorial to the fallen Italian soldiers on the way. This was our last day in the Dolomites before heading to Milan to catch a flight back to the states the next day. We skied two really fun lines on our last day, and it gave me a sense of accomplishment before heading home.