A long day to Pradidali
The weather in the morning of day 2 was a great improvement on that of the previous evening, so Richard and I walked up to the start of via ferrata Sentiero Attrezzato Dino Buzzati, to take a look at a route that was only 100 m long – unfortunately our idea of a nice ‘warm-up’ route was cut short due to snow en route – we should have guessed at this point that many of the routes may be affected by snow. Nevertheless, we were rewarded with nice views across the valley.
On returning to the rifugio, we began the trek to Rifugio Pradidali. We chose a route along Via Ferrata del Velo (route 739), which had quite a few fun sections of climbing.
This route led onto via ferratta Sentiero Attrezzato Nico Gusella. Just before reaching the start of this route, we met a party coming the other way who said that they had turned back because of snow. However the guidebook was so complimentary, “a pleasant and undemanding route with the most dramatic scenery in Pale”, that we continued anyway. Indeed it did get rather snowy and we crossed a few bits of ground that we didn’t fancy re-crossing should a return be necessary. So, when we reached the near end of the route and were faced with a rather snow-filled gully the decision of whether to go on or turn back was a difficult one. We decided to go on.
Thankfully, Dave had brought a rope and we had a couple of ice axes with us, hence we very carefully descended the snow gully. In normal conditions it would probably have taken about 30 minutes to get to Passo di Ball at the gully base, however on arrival at the pass, we calculated that it had taken 3 hours.
Thankfully, the remainder of the route was straightforward and we arrived at the rifugio happy, hungry and slightly cold. We were glad of the huge warm fire.