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I wanted to try another grade "4" again, this time longer. One enticing possibility was the climb to the top of the Marmolada , the highest mountain in the Dolomites. However, Jenn and Brian were about apprehensive. So, back to the guidebooks. Poring through the two volumes, I settled on an easier grade "4" called the via ferrata delle trincee , or "the ferrata of the trenches". This was a shorter and less committing route than the Marmolada , but was still a grade "4". And, it was also nearby.

We stayed at a reasonably out-of-the-way local campground, and started off from the Passo Fedaia (Fedaia pass). The via ferrata delle trincee is right across from the Marmolada, so we had fantastic views of it all day. Oh, and the weather? yeah, it was sunny and clear and warm. Again!

We did the ferrata as a loop outing. The first part of the loop was on trail, and the return part was on the ferrata. The trail portion was spectacular, with the trail winding amongst dark volcanic boulders, sheep grazing everywhere, and the high Marmolada shining at us from across the valley. Very very pleasant. As we walked along, we could see the dark jagged ridge that marked our return route. We could even see a delapidated foot bridge that was part of the route.
Arabba geologic trail
Ramp to the sky
Hike Break
Jenn bullies sheep
Jagged Trincee ridge
Marmolada and Cheery Brian
We soon reached the far end of our loop, and the start of the ferrata. The grade "4" portion of the route was right at this beginning section, with the wires alternately traversing and climbing some very steep volcanic rock (this ridge was not dolomite, but was instead a dark but still solid volcanic rock). After having done ferrata for a few days now, I found it not really all that hard, and there were many neat and airy situations that I found fun rather than scary. I think Jenn was getting better at it, too.
courtesy BConnell
First Pitch of Trincee Ferrata
Brian and Jenn on slab
Pointy Ridge!
Soon we reached the very sharp spine of the ridge, and the route then led along it, over the neat old footbridge, and then down into a notch. The ferrata portions then became intermittent, and there were many places where one could simply hike down off the ridge. There were also many old ruined emplacements from the first world war. We saw a family hiking group, with mom and pop and kids all kitted up in climbing gear. I wondered how they ensured that their little kids (they were probably around six years old, I would guess) clipped into the protection properly!
Jenn on the bridge
Brian on exposed ridge
Brian on narrows before bridge
courtesy BConnell
The continuation
Andrew and Jenn and Ruins
Brian and airy corner
courtesy BConnell
Jenn descends steep step
Sage Sheep
Continuing inside
The end of the route culminated in a series of wartime tunnels and galleries, hewn out of the rock by soldiers. Up stairs, through rooms, and past strategic lookouts down into the valley. The end of the galleries and tunnels marks the end of the route. From here, it is a short walk down to the trailhead and the end of the loop. An interesting ferrata, but really not that hard.
Stairs in the Dark
Porthole into the valley
Brian finishes it off
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[ Italy 2005 trip home page | The main trip report | Family | Monte Cervialto | Herculaneum & Vesuvius | Palace of Caserta | Amalfi & Capri | Abruzzo & Monte Amaro | Rome | Tuscany | Venice | The Biennale | Via Ferrata-ing in the dolomites | Climbing in the Ortles | Gottfried's Adventures | Maps, Graphs & GPS Data ]

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