OK so we’ve been back over a week, but I don’t seem to have as much time to post as everyone else seems to manage. Anyhow Dave E, Fiona, Phil, Tony, Chris and I all had great time in the Dolomites. We had a pretty intense week.
Day 1: (arrival day) we arrived in Arabba in time for some gear familiarisation and set up for which Tony was glad of as he immediately decided that he needed new via-feratta crabs (or Biners as they call em in the US). We had a nice little trip around an easy VF called Sas-de-rocia
Running totals: (100m ascent, 100m descent, 30m VF)
Day 2: OK the Colletts guys usually do a little VF called cirspitz for their intro day, we decided that whilst this was a worthwhile trip it hardly filled a day so after a 6:30am Breakfast we managed to be first on the rock and knocked this off in time to get back to Corvara for the Gondola and chair up to Piz da Lech a 3B VF. Which turned out to have a zillion people on it but we still managed to do the round in time to get the chair-lift back down (which was a relief as missing it could have cost a few hours)
Running Totals: (900m Ascent, 900m Descent, 330m VF)
Day 3: We decided to head up a classic 4B Del Trincee direct from the Gondala in Arraba, the forecast was for thunder later so another early start to ensure we got the first gondala at 9am. The crux of this route is the first 20 meters but all got up without drama. We managed to complete most of the route but as the weather came in we aborted at one of the many escape points just before the final tunnel.
Fiona took a slide on one of the loose gravelly paths and hurt her knee, our first casualty
Running Totals: (1400m Ascent, 1400m Descent, 630m VF)
Day 4: With Fiona recuperating for at least the day we decided to do something Fi had done many times before, the well loved Tridentina. This is a lovely sustained 3 hour climb with almost the entire time spent on wire (there is 1 20 minute walk just after the initial short section) Some lovely exposed positions and it’s only 5 minutes walk from the car park. This last fact means, you guessed it yet another early start to avoid the crowds, I think we managed to be on the rock for 8am. My idea was that this would be a relatively light day, but the gang were eager to do some more exercise so after hot chocolate and apple strudel at the refugio we continued on a walk up from the top of the VF. This took us around the ridge behind the refugio, and back down a “foot path” to the normal descent route from Tridentina – this foot path suddenly brought us to a very exposed, marginally protected down-climb beneath a loose boulder pile onto an icy slope that finally led back to more sensible terrain.
Running Totals: (2550m Ascent, 2550m Descent, 1030m VF)
Day 5: This was my second planned “rest” day. A nice easy trip down the lagazoi tunnels. But Fi said her leg hurts more going down than up so we decide to buck convention and climb up through the tunnels and get the gondola down. The Dolomites are full of workings from the first world war and the Lagazoi tunnels climb up and up and up through the mountain with occasional glimpses of the outside world (very Lord of the Rings). Anyhow in the event even my plan of descent via the Gondola was snubbed, fuelled up by beer and hot chocolate once again the team voted to extend the plan and we headed back down the mountain on the Austrian Troop “path” once again the definition of the word path seems lost in translation as there was quite a lot of wire, some big drops and a fantastic bridge.
Running Totals: (3200m Ascent, 3200m Descent, 1230m VF)
Day 6: Off we go to Strobel, this is the first of our trips over the Falzerago pass through Cortina to park at the Hotel Fiames. A quick Expresso then a short slog up to the start of the VF. Strobel is a great trip with lots of sections of reasonably tough climbing interspersed with walks. Although relatively low it has a real mountain day feel to it. The descent is on some very loose scree which depending on your opinion is either horrid or a whole lot of fun, I’m personally in the whole lot of fun camp, glissading down is ace. 😀 Finally through mushroom filled woods and back to Hotel Fiames for what was described by all who tried it as the very best hot chocolate in the world.
Running Totals: (4150m Ascent, 4150m Descent, 1830m VF)
Day 7: A reasonable forecast so we decided to have a go at the logistically slightly tricky point to point Ivano Dibona. This involves dropping a car at the far end then once back at the start taking the chair-lift and very strange little yoghurt pot lifts up to the top. To get on the yoghurt pots you have stand on marked spots then sprint towards the end of the lift station and throw yourself in – crazy. As we arrived at the top the weather was horrid and we nearly talked ourselves out of the trip but set off anyway. This was a really long day with some tricky down climbing in the wet with long run-outs on the wire (which always seem to end about 2 ft off the deck I’m sure they are for helping with body recovery rather than protection). The weather didn’t really let go of us all day which is a shame as I think the views would be stunning.
Running Totals: (4250m Ascent, 5750m Descent, 2330m VF)
Day 8: Despite my suggestion that we do another one of my rest days the team declared themselves knackered and today really was to be a rest day, such a shame as this was the best weather of the week and Lipella would have been great but we really did need a rest. Anyhow we had a nice little bimble on Sentrino Astaldi. This has some very interesting geology (apparently) it’s certainly pretty.
Running Totals: (4650m Ascent, 6150m Descent, 2730m VF)
Day 9: Last day and an OK forecast – bad weather not due till later – so another early start and off to VF Col Rosa. There’s about an hour and a half walk in then a 300m VF. But the weather came in as we were gearing up at the start of the cable and despite two teams pushing on ahead we decided that discretion was the better part of valour and aborted the mission. I think this was wise as the weather kept getting worse and my recall is this VF has some shiny rock and long cable run-outs just when you don’t need them. We bailed out to the simpler but pretty VF Giovanni Barbbara which takes you behind a spectacular waterfall.
Final Totals: (4850m Ascent, 6350m Descent, 2830m VF)
Thanks all for your company and a great time!