Summer time in Dolomites with family part 3

Active holidays in the Dolomites, climbing, and hiking

  • Rock climbing in the region of Cortina d’Ampezzo

I promised a blog post about climbing in the Dolomites in summer. This time I am writing about climbing in Cortina d’Ampezzo. Cortina is situated even further north of Agordo and Belluno and it’s still in Veneto province. Around this little town there are beautiful mountains with the most popular climbing with trad and sport multi-pitch routes in Tofana di Rozes, Tre Cime, Cinque Torri, Picolo Lagazoi, and Lastoni di Formin.

There are also very good crags with single-pitch routes, some hidden in the forest or situated high up in the mountains which are perfect for summer . And what kind of rock is there? It’s Dolomite with a very good quality of stone. Climbing in this region is usually on very nice slabs, or vertical technical routes, and some steep or even overhanging routes with nice shiny pockets of crystals , so basically there is very good friction for climbing.

A few crags we climb;

1.Volpera crag is located 5 kilometers north of the town of Cortina. There are big boulders spread out over the forest with different styles of climbing. You can climb on very steep short routes with pockets or very long routes, mostly face climbing on good holds and crimps. One sector was even possible to climb in the rain.

A similar crag is 2.Campo, which is basically in the same forest, just parking is in a different location and the approach is from below, within 7 minutes from the parking lot.

Volpera crag

Volpera- Sasso dei Finanzieri sector.
Volpera crag.

Hiking day; There is not just about climbing in the Dolomites. Mountains offer lots of hiking trails, which are perfect to hike for all kinds of goals. And with a little kid it is perfect to go with a cable car and then hike on high mountains. We choose the mountain Lagazuoi, where the cable car runs from Passo Falzarego and goes on 2700m, and from there, you walk to the top for about 20 min, and it’s the perfect walk with kids and families.

Cable car on Lagazuoi.
Tofana di Rozes.
From the top of the mountain Lagazuoi.

3.Crepe de Oucera Basse is a vertical wall with lots of routes graded 5a and 7b, most of the routes are 6b-6c, 30 – 40meters high. Easy 5 minutes approach and you get in one of the best crags in Dolomites for these grades. It’s northeast, so it’s perfect for a summer climbing spot. The routes are amazing, with pockets, crimps, juggs and great friction gives you lots of endurance training. A little bit further is 4.Crepe de Oucera Alta, which has longer and more steep routes, up to 8b+. The wall is south-orientated, so late afternoon is already in the shade, and at an altitude of 1700m. The routes here are very technical and a bit hard.

Crepe de Oucere Basse.

Crepe de Oucere Alta

Crepe de Oucere Alta

A very nice and beautiful spot to visit is the heart of the area is 5.Cinque Torri, which is also great to hike around these towers. On these towers, there are sectors with single-pith routes and multi-pitch routes as well. Routes are a bit sharp and more alpine style but worth visiting, climbing, and enjoying the view of the mountains. It’s one of the best views in Dolomites from towers and climbing there is just a unique experience. The only downside is, that you must walk or take a cable car, or even a taxi from lower parking. You still can drive up with the small car but between 9:30-15:30 the road is closed, which makes sense because there is not much parking space above.

Cinque torri

Cinque torri -Massi west face

Torri Latina in Cinque torri

Cinque torri

Dolomiti mountains, Cinque torre.
the view on Cinque Torri.

Cinque torri -Massi west face

Sass de Stria.

Cinque torri -Torri Grande west face

In this region, we must mention the crag 6.Piccolo Lagazuoi and 7.Sass de Stria, with beautiful routes for beginners and gives you the real feeling that you are climbing in big mountains, even if there are only single-pitch routes. There are a few crags around Passo Valparola, like Salares, and Sestas, which we must visit for our next trip. These crags are at an altitude of more than 2000 m, so the weather forecast must be stable to visit these sectors.

Sass de Stria

Sass de Stria-east face

There are a few crags 25 minutes from Cortina which is in Valley Pusteria, direction north. The most attractive are 8.Franchi and 9.Landro Classic. These sectors are also good with a child, with a shorter approach and flat under the wall.

Leandro classic sector

Leandro classic

Rest days ;

So you have a few suggestions for summer in Dolomites. For the rest of the days we visited Tre Cime, then Mondo Bimbo for the most attractive playground for kids with the longest slide in the world , then Earth pyramids of Platten within 1hour from Cortina d’Ampezzo.

Tre Cime

Mondo Bimbo in Valdaora

The longest slide in Mondo Bimbo.

Earth pyramids of Platten.

Climbing course in Istria, Pandora.

How is the climbing in Istria, and what is the HC-Hardcore sector?

A little bit of history

Since we started visiting Istria years ago, we have noticed many changes in the past few years. The climbing in Istria developed a lot, and climbing tourism with accommodations expanded too. In the past, climbers didn’t know Istria as having potential for climbing. There were few places to climb. The first climbing began in 1922 on Kamenjak, near town Rijeka and in 1931, Emilio Comici and his friend Stauderi did the first ascent on Big tower in Vela Draga.

Climbing on tower in canyon Vela Draga, in Istria.
The couple was climbing on a Big tower of Vela Draga in National park Ucka.
Tower of Vela Draga, Istria.
2 pitches high tower attracts many climbers to step on the top of it.

Since then, local climbers and climbers from other countries have started to open new routes in Pazin, Dvigrad, Nugla, Raspadalica, Limski Kanal, and Rovinj. The more detailed history you can read in one of the climbing guidebooks.

Climbing in Pandora-Sopot sector in Istria.
Klemen is climbing in Pandora-Sopot on gorgeous tufas.

An enormous explosion of new sectors happened around 2008 when Austrian Horhager Gerhard and his friends found walls around Buzet and started with bolting actions. Then sector Kompanj, Pandora, Istarske Toplice rose up. Later also local climbers added new sectors, Kamena vrata, and Buzetski canyon, then Italian climbers bolted whole new sector Medveja. Around Buzet and village Roč, many climbers from abroad added new routes each year. Later Klemen Bečan bolted the hardest routes in Kamena vrata, Pandora, Raspadalica, Krkuž, and HC-Hardcore.

Kompanj sector in Istria.
Kompanj sector with best routes in the area next to village Roc.

How is climbing today?

Each crag and even each sector is different and very good for climbing. Istria has the best climbing crags in Croatia, with more than 1500 routes. You can have fun on an easy slab with big holds in Kamena Vrata and Limski Kanal. You can climb adventure routes in Vela Draga with sharp crimps and terrible footholds with spaced bolts. Then climbing on tufa-routes with power endurance in Buzet canyon and Pandora-Sopot. Then you can have very extreme power climbing on the roof of Krkuž with toe-heel hooks, or you have an enjoyable climbing holiday by the sea in Rovinj. On rainy days we can go to a boulder gym in village Roč.

Village Roc, Istria.
Village Roč is situated next to the sector Kompanj.
Entrance of village Roc in Istria.
Entrance into the village Roč.

School in village Roc, Istria.

Waterfall Sopot, near Buzet.
Once a year, waterfall Sopot comes through the roof in the Pandora-Sopot sector.

Board on parking for Kompanj sector.

Why are we many times here?

Because we like the atmosphere, in general, from climbing, delicious food, great rock, friendly people and climbing community, and many climbing spots still to bolt.

Vela Draga canyon, Istria.
The beauty of Vela Draga canyon is worth visiting.
climbing in Kompanj, Istria.
Climbing in Istria is one of the places with great vertical long routes with all kinds of shapes and sizes.









What is about the HC sector?

The HC wall is unique, next to the minor road with a 1m approach. The wall you can see from the main road, driving towards Kompanj. In the past, climbers were afraid to bolt this slightly overhanging 25-meter high wall with tiny small holds and no footholds. They thought that was too difficult, so they left it empty. But the wall attracted Klemen Bečan, and we started to bolt first routes. In the beginning, there were few lines, mostly projects.klemen is climbing in HC secotr, Istra.

For a start, Klemen sent easier routes, and then he stuck in the projects. Then Klemen sent all his projects during the lockdown in 2020. We came back in 2021 and found out that there is only one project left.

Klemen in Napaka v sistemu, 8c, sector HC.
Klemen in Napaka v sistemu, 8c, sector HC.

There are hidden small holds in the rock, sidepulls are far apart, and the athletic moves. Climbing is like bouldering on a rope. Learning new bouldery techniques on this wall is so different and exhausting after one day of climbing. And what about the grading in HC? It was also unique because it was hard to grade the bouldery route, so the grades are lower than usual. And maybe because we don’t like the grade hunters.

People sometimes visit the HC sector and try and then wonder how those moves are possible to climb. So we film the moves and show them the beta, or the best is if they climb with us, so Klemen can coach them on a specific route. So if you are interested in climbing coaching, specialized in the HC sector, you should hire Klemen. Only he can tell you how to climb there. He can explain not only technically but also how physics works. I don’t know anybody who can read the rock better than him. So, now we understand why HC is so unique. I think that sector HC could be one of the valuable heritage in the climbing world.

Climbing sector Ciritez, Istria.
Climbing in sunny sector Rock’n’roc in crag Ciritež with powerful moves and easier routes beside the overhang.
Climbing in Vela Draga canyon, in National park Ucka.
Climbing above the tunnel in Vela Draga. Today no trains are running.
climbing easy routes in Buzet canyon, Istria.
Climbing easier slabs in sector Plaža, with long beautiful 6a and 6b routes.
Climbing above Buzet in sector Raspadalica.
The first sector of Raspadalice with a beautiful view of Buzet.
Climbing in sector HC, Istria.
Climbing in the HC sector is for strong climbers and great for visitors.
Autumn colors in Istria.
The climbing season starts in the Autumn period when the colors are the most beautiful.
Family day in nature.
In Istria with family is a great place to have nice climbing holidays.

tower of Vela Draga, Istria. climbing in krkuz sector, Istria. autumn tree. Climbing in the roof of Krkuz, Istria.

Sunny sector Ciritez, Istria.

Sector Plaza, in Buzet canyon.

Family day in nature.
Doser sector in Buzet canyon with nice 7a, 7b, and 7c.