Sport: The Human Flies

Dark and forbidding, the rocky pinnacle rises 9,750 ft. out of the Italian Dolomites, and the last 1,800 ft. of its north wall is as sheer and smooth as a Manhattan skyscraper. An Italian team first scaled Cima Grande di Lavaredo's north wall in 1933. and the rock is stitched with hundreds of pitons, or spikes, left behind by alpinists following the winding "staircase" trail to the summit. But not until this month did anyone tackle Cima Grande's north wall by the "elevator route"—straight up. Even in summer, that route was so perilous that it carried a No. 6 rating, highest...

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