by Via Kiene, from Refuge Tuckett
The Via Kiene to the Castelletto Inferiore, opened in 1910 by the Kiene brothers, embodies many of the best features that a climber could want from a climbing route: the beauty of the environment, the quality of the rock, the variety of climbing, the elegance of the line, the south face exposure.
As a consequence, it is a rather frequented route, and therefore it can be appreciated the most if one avoids the busiest tourist season.
The stops are all equipped with robust iron rings, there are nails along the lengths, where necessary; for the rest you can place quick protections.
Author's Note: I thank very much Flavio, who shared with me this climb, and who appears in several photographs.
From Refuge Tuckett, you initially take the path 303 towards Bocca di Tuckett, but soon divert, to move towards the base of the Castelletto Inferiore, where the initial chimney is clearly visible: is the middle one among the three that run through the wall (the central one in the photo; the left chimney, where the normal route climbs up, is out of frame):
L1: Climb the difficult initial dihedral-chimney, and where it overhangs, pass through on the right; continue along the chimney until the first stop. 40 m, IV+, V, 5 nails.
L2: Starting a little to the right, but going up to the left, you go out, reaching a ledge with debris. You then go to the right, up to the stop. 40 m, III+.
L3: Climb to the right coming out of the detritic funnel, up to a cairn with an iron rod. Here you climb on rocks initially a bit cracked, to the right, then bend to the left again, then continue climbing past some terraces:
up to the one where you find the stop:
40 m, III, I, IV-, nail.
L4: Move left along a ledge:
Then climb up along a dihedral; not the vertical one, but rather the one going up to the right:
You overcome a last vertical stretch and reach the stop, on a small terrace:
35 m, I, IV-, 2 nails.
L5: Continue along the vertical dihedral; when it ends, emerging slightly to the left, continue on a vertical slab, up to the stop:
35 m, IV, 4 nails.
L6: Climb up obliquely to the right:
thus reaching the base of a chimney that goes up obliquely to the left; there you stop:
45 m, II, III.
L7: Climb up along the chimney, that only in some sections can be climbed inside, due to the modest width, and a stuck boulder in the upper part:
The chimney ends on a terrace:
where you find the stop. 25 m, IV-, IV, 2 nails.
L8: Climb up, preferably on the left edge, the next chimney, shorter than the previous one:
and stop on the terrace at its end. 25m, III+.
L9: Traverse left, then go up:
Overcome a vertical stretch, then on somewhat easier rocks you reach the summit, where you stop on a spike. 30 m, IV, II, 2 nails.
Climbing up the normal way and then crossing to the right, or climbing easy rocks about 60 m to the right of the original srating point and then traversing to the left, you can reach the end of the second length, or in the second case, the initial part of the third length. You should be, however, very careful not to drop rocks while crossing.
From the eighth stop, rather than traversing to the left, go up along the crack, directly to the top. 25 m, V-, 5 nails.
From the summit, you head east along a ledge:
At its end, go down to take a narrow notch, which heads to the north side:
Cross it, so you reach a terrace with a ring for double rope:
Run a double rope of about 50 m:
thus reaching a terrace with another ring, from which you run a second double rope of slightly less than 30 m, which allows you to reach the scree at the base of the north wall.
Descend along the trail with cairns, to the north-west, and then descend more directly to the west, up to the junction with path 316. Following it to the south, you will return to the Refuge Tuckett.
■ gb, 2013-09-13