Belgian climbers Siebe Vanhee and David Leduc have established a first ascent of Spazzacamino up the Terza Pala di San Lucano (Pale di San Lucano, Dolomites). The new multi-pitch climb was established ground-up, all free and with one bivouac on the face.
Siebe to your route: ‚Spazzacamino, the Italian word for ‘Chimney cleaner’, indicates perfectly our experience climbing a new virgin line on the Terza Pala di San Lucano in the mythical San Lucano Valley in the Belluno Dolomites. Last week David Leduc and myself managed to climb this south face in two days. Our goal was the appealing unclimbed headwall. Despite an incredible effort (WHY? => Read below) to reach the base of the headwall we had to change our minds. Prepared with 50 pitons, mobile protection, lot’s of water, food and bivouac gear to climb the line clean and free, we realized two days on this headwall wouldn’t be enough. The wall is compact and demands some hardcore, time consuming, aid climbing. Maybe even a few bolts for free climbing. One amazing bivouac night past by and we committed to a more obvious line on the right. Two rappels and some traversing brought us at the base of four amazing ‘dolomites’ pitches up to 7a. This was the very first time I was able to place pitons while free climbing, psyched! I love this feeling of exposure on this kind of terrain while sticking with the pure free and clean climbing ethics.
Dolomite big walls are famous for their ‘zoccolos’, or in English ‘base’ or ‘pedestal’. These are very steep, vegetated terrain or 3th class climbing, often on loose rock. In the case of our first ascent, we had to hike up 500m of burned zoccolo and climb 350 meters of burned 3th and 4th class climbing. Up to two third of the Terza Palo di San Lucano has been a victim of a forest fire in October 2018. Which meant that all the trees and bushes where useless to hold on to and even worse to use as protection for a fall. Basically; we climbed on high quality sliding dirt. With our headwall objective ahead we were heavy, climbing with 25 kg each on our body we moved our way up. Only two hours into the climb and we were real Spazzacamino (chimney cleaners)!‘