Pandora – Mother nature’s gift

Italy South Tyrolean alpinist and LOWA PRO Team athlete Simon Gietl gifted himself a very special Christmas present in December 2019. Together with climber Vittorio Messini, he climbed in two days the Pandora route on the steep west face of Pordoi.

Simon Gietel climbing the Pandora route.

Simon Gietel climbing the Pandora route.

The steep wall of Pordoi’s west face in the middle of South Tyrol’s Dolomites is well-known among alpinists and climbers far beyond the borders of Italy. In the coldest time of the year, impressive ice form­ations always take shape – although this winter partic­ularly unusual shapes were formed.

Simon Gietl Pakistan

“Our friend and fellow guide Isidor Poppeler contacted us in early December and gushed about the really unbe­lievable ice lines on the upper part of the wall – lines that had formed just to the left of the well-known Niagara route.”

Simon Gietl | LOWA PRO Team

Due to tight timing, they were not imme­diately able to check it out. But on 10th December came their chance. Gietl and Messini wanted to use the day to get an overview, to test the conditions and identify the best possible route. “Central to our project were always these spec­tacular ice form­ations that had formed an estimated 450 metres above ground”, he said.

The new route followed the start of the wellknown Niagara route, but then moved over to the Abram route, then moved back again to follow the Niagara route. Finally, the

climbing route took a right turn and in part touched on the Dornröschen route. Arriving underneath the ice form­ations, the team around the LOWA PRO Team athlete had reached the spot they had selected for a bivouac on a narrow, but still defined ledge a good 450 metres high. Early on the morning of 17th December, it was time for the project’s highlight – the good 150 metres on the upper part of the icefall.

Simon Gietl Pakistan

“We now stood precisely at the place we had gushed over a few days earlier. At the foot of this powerful icefall – where exposure, structure and ambiance all seemed to merge – something the likes of which we had never set eyes on in our home mountains.”

Simon Gietl | LOWA PRO Team

After an extremely steep and demanding ice climb, the team reached the top of the icefall a solid 10 hours later. They had completed the project – they had created a new route.

A humble feeling also serves to explain the name of the route. Translated from the Greek, Pandora means basically a gift or present – for Simon Gietl, Pandora is Mother Nature’s gift.

The shoe

“After this fascinating ice climb on Pandora, I felt a huge sense of grat­i­fication and joy that we were able to climb this unique gift of nature and could undertake this route – of course also thanks to the LOWA boot ALPINE ICE GTX.”

ALPINE ICE GTX: Climbers who are determined to reach the very top have to be able to rely on their technical gear. For Alpine moun­tain­eering boots in particular, there are a wide range of requirements, depending on the terrain and weather conditions. The ALPINE ICE GTX is a boot that was developed jointly by the LOWA PRO Team and active Alpinists. The completely crampon-compatible boot is designed for both icy and rocky passages, with GORE-TEX Duratherm lining and a cush­ioning element integrated into the shank. More …
ALPINE ICE GTX

The facts

Duration:
2 days
Difficulty:
5, M5, A0, WI6
Altitude:
0.6 km
Climate:
Polar