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Kurt Astner Climbing Tre Cime di Lavaredo

Dolomites Climbing: Pressknödel & Super Erectissima

The Dolomites Tre Cime di Lavaredo are undoubtedly one of the most beautiful settings in what are arguably the world’s most beautiful mountains. The north faces of these towering walls are home to world famous steep rock climbing, rich in history and tradition.

Professional Italian climber and UIAGM Mountain Guide Kurt Astner has been busy freeing both old aid lines as well as putting up some routes of his own on the dizzying steep walls of the Cima Ovest and Cima Grande. In 2008, I joined him on Jean Couzy (8a+) and photographed the difficult moves through the wildly overhanging route’s mid section.

Kurt Astner climbing Jean-Couzy, 8a+ at the Italian Dolomites Tre Cime di Lavaredo

In the summer of 2010 he established an all new route, Pressknödel (7c), with fellow UIAGM Mountain Guide and professional climber Christoph Hainz. The line is on the Cima Ovest’s right side, starting left of the classic Cassin Route. In the same summer he repeated a Czech team’s work, the all free 8a+ Super Erectissima.

Kurt again asked me to join him on the two routes, but time and time again poor August weather delayed the work. We even managed to get up on the routes in preparation for the photo work only to have thick cloud cover, rain and ice force us down. Finally, in late August, the high class climbing magazine Vertical became involved and renewed our motivation with a deadline for a story on Kurt’s climbing.

On September 4 we were able to photograph both routes in decent weather. Yet still some rain came down, we were pelted by ice and the clouds tortured us at sunset. Together with Stephan Steinkeller we managed a long and productive day, climbing the first half of the Cassin Route before traversing into Pressknödel to rig ropes to get me into place to shoot Kurt. After these photos, we rappelled the route and ran for Super Erectissima. The sun was sinking and big black clouds hung on the horizon. Kurt had to climb the lower pitches, fix a rope for me, then I jumared as fast as possible up the overhanging face. Literally, in the final moments of daylight, we made the last images.

Photographing Climbing: A Photographer’s Perspective

Below are some photos along with a photographer perspective (Dan Cam) video of what I saw, and how it all looks to be up on a big alpine north face, first the climbing, then the monkeying about.

Left: Super Erectissima. Right: Pressknödel

Kurt Astner climbing Pressknödel 7c. Tre Cime di Lavaredo, Italian Dolomites

Kurt Astner climbing Pressknödel 7c. Tre Cime di Lavaredo, Italian Dolomites

Kurt Astner lowering off the wildly steep Cima Ovest. Tre Cime di Lavaredo, Italian Dolomites

Lassoing Kurt Astner to reel him into the wall

Kurt Astner climbing Super Erectissima 8a+. Tre Cime di Lavaredo, Italian Dolomites

Kurt Astner climbing Super Erectissima 8a+. Tre Cime di Lavaredo, Italian Dolomites

This page is cross posted with our Professional Photography site’s Blog : To see more images, please visit PatitucciPhoto

:::   Many thanks to Kurt Astner’s climbing sponsors   :::

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