When you can no longer tell your holding a jug or a crimp because you can't feel your fingers and the rubber on your shoes is frozen, dusted in snow and no longer sticking then it's time to set the rappel and acknowledge this as the last high-mountain climb of 2014, sans crampons. This was the reality of Sunday's climb on the Campanile di Val Montanaia as we stared at the summit and final pitch realizing it was both the safer choice and the path of less suffering to retreat.
I climbed this Dolomite Classic earlier in the year and this trip was dedicated to taking our friend on his first multi-pitch climb. We figured this would be a great introduction. He crushed his climb but the snow on the west side killed us. The mountain is not going anywhere so "today she wins." The passion of the mountains is not always the summit as much as it is the peace, power and beauty you feel under her gaze. Now we just need to cross our fingers for the temperature drop we were promised so we can sharpen our axe points and hit some ice.