Herzogenaurach/South Tyrol, 15th September 2011 – This August, Reinhard Kleindl and Armin Holzer have added another chapter to the history of the ‘Tre Cime di Lavaredo’ ( three battlements of Lavaredo). Tackling the famously crumbly Dolomite rock, the Austrian and South Tyrolean located perfect highline spots on all three of the battlements and were the first to walk them one after the other.
Overcoming all doubt and uncertainty (is it even possible to safely anchor material in this crumbling and exposed terrain?) they found world class locations and perfect rock on all three summits.
They started on the ‘Cima Grande’ (big battlement), where they spanned a 31-meter/101ft-long line west of the summit, above the classic ‘comici’ north face. A real challenge. The exposed setting and loose rocks meant that they had to be extremely careful not to dislodge stones, putting climbers below at risk. After a couple of attempts to get himself accustomed, Reini Kleindl was able to walk the whole line. Armin managed one direction, but fell on the way back. They named the highline ‘Vertigo’.
The ‘Perle des Westens’ (the pearl of the west) is a 37-meter/121ft long highline located close to the summit of the ‘Cima Ovest’ (western battlement) heading east towards the ‘Cima Grande’. Again, they had to cross awkward, crumbling terrain to set this highline up. Special care was required on the block opposite the summit cross because the classic ‘Demuth Kante’ route passes directly underneath. Both managed complete crossings of this highline.
The highline on the ‘Cima Piccola’ (small battlement) was a highlight for both of them: “As we descended from the ‘Cima Grande’ we looked to the ‘Cime Piccola’ and noticed a mountain that looked like a fortress in a fantasy film and a highline spot like in a dream – overpowering – across the whole width between the lower and main summits,” is how Armin Holzer describes the first impression. According to Reini it was “the best spot that we have ever set eyes on”. They spanned the 53-metre/174ft long highline between the lower and main summit. Reini completed another crossing – Armin managed half the line.
They named this highline ‘Elysium’, the finish to their big project.
“For us it was important to do more than just set up and walk any old highline on each of the battlements: we wanted to select what we reckon are the most awesome and logical”, explains Reini. “It had to be lines that do the ‘Tre Cime di Lavaredo’ justice.”
During preparatory work and actual highlining, which took the whole of August, the pair climbed the ‘Tre Cime di Lavaredo’ a total of eight times and each time carried all the material themselves. “During the project we experienced these mountains from all sides, from warm and sunny summer days through to hailstorms followed by amazing sunsets”, says Armin in reflection.
Note from the first ‘Tre Cime di Lavaredo’ highliners:
If you want to repeat these lines you not only have to be skilled in all the technical aspects of highlining – you also need to be an experienced mountain climber. If you are not capable of climbing safely and responsibly in crumbling terrain, you not only put yourself at risk but others even more so.