Historical Rock Climbing Images


Page 5.5

 The Dolomites - Early Years

On the Origins of Modern Rock Climbing
in the Dolomites

Quotes from: Verso La verticale. Dall'esplorazione all'alpinismo acrobatico
Paola Lugo


Alpinismo Acrobatico: Le Dolomiti e L'invenzione dell'arrampicata
Città di Boilzano (2006)

17 September 1887 - a cold but clear day in the valley:

". . . In this quiet solitude, a youth makes the solo first ascent of the eastern tower (of the Vajolettürme), that today is graded  IVth degree. At that time such a value had no meaning, but it now describes an extremely difficult and exposed wall. The climber is Georg Winkler, a 17 year-old high school student from Munich, and leading this tower would become a test piece for all mountain climbers of the period. Today, amid hundreds of extreme enterprises, sitting at the foot of the tower and gazing up at the steep wall, we feel only respect at the feat of this audacious 17 year-old.

". . . Perhaps for the first time, a mountain climber had gone beyond the simple conjecture of "would go", and designed a route based on logic, beauty, and above all, difficulty. But with the ascent of the first tower, the urgency of conquest that had characterised the first mountain climbers now becomes a search for the steepest wall, after that the most overhanging and with the smallest holds.

". . . Many expressed the view that Winkler was influenced by the theories of Eugen Guido Lammers, this Viennese school lecturer who has impressed more than one climbing generation. At 17 years it is easy to follow the bad teachers, to play with risk and anxiety . . . the good fortune that had assisted Winkler in overcoming the great difficulties of the Vajoletturm left him the following year when he died from a fall on the Weisshorn, and became a legend."

(translation by J. Gill)

Die Drei Vajolettürme - 1910
From left: Delago, Stabeler, Winkler
Photo Guido Rey

Delagoturm - ca 1905
Photo J. March

Winklerturm - ca 1905
Photo J. March

north face of the Grossen Zinne

Felix Simon
North face of the Grosse Zinne in the Dolomites,  1936
Photo R. Ghedina
Drei Zinnen

Drei Zinnen

Photo L. Baehrendt

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