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Monday, July 16
Ferrata 101: An Intro for Pu
Monday dawned hot, sunny, and hazy... much like the previous two days. Our destination for the day was a ferrata route a few mountain ranges away, about an hour's drive. Still in the region of the "little dolomites", this route attracted our attention for a couple of reasons: one, it apparently had been one of the focal points of the "mountain-war" during world war I, and as a result there was a large amount of historical artifacts, and secondly, because it was rated a "2B" on my ferrata guidebook's difficulty scale, which is right where I wanted to start off with our ferrata-ing (and as an intro to Pu).

The road route leading from Riva del Garda to the trailhead involved some lovely twisty roads! Unfortunately, because of our late night at the opera the night before, we only got to the trailhead at around 11am - a little on the late side.
Bocchetta di Campiglia
Ferrata Route Start Sign
Steep forest path
Our itinerary involved using the ferrata route to go up and over a ridge consisting of five peaks, and then returning via a very neat war-time route called the "strada del 52 gallerie", or "road of the 52 tunnels".
Initial Scrambling
Because we were still in the "piccoli dolomiti", the mountains were low enough to support forest and vegetation on their slopes. Even on the summits there are a few hardy shrubs and plants.

We wound our way up through an initial bit of forest, steeply switchbacking up to the beginning of rocky outcrops.
courtesy DBoyd
courtesy PChen
Initial Scrambling
Emerging views
Forest Scrambling
There were a few short bits of ferrata wire here and there, and we taught Pu "the ropes" (pardon the pun). It was sweaty and hot climbing with all of the heat and humidity, but at least there was a wonderful breeze when we climbed up into the open.
Admiring the view
The ferrata route essentially followed a rising ridgecrest. From the crest, we could ocassionally see down to the wartime road and tunnels - our return route. Looked impressive from our vantage point, and I was looking forward to exploring it on the way back.
A bit of exposure!
Not long after this, we reached what turned out to be the crux of the ferrata climb - a steep climb, tall vertical ladder, and airy traverse up a sub-summit on 'Cima Bella Laita' - our first of the five summits along this ferrata. Pu was quite impressed and surprised at the boldness and exposure of the ferrata route. He was also quite excited about it. The rock was good and the climbing even better, and we enjoyed our first taste of real exposure on this trip.
Waiting for Pu
Up the Prow
Climbing the Ladder
Above the ladder and traverse, the route turned back into a hike - mostly, that is, because there were a few rock steps here and there, along with brief sections of ferrata. Being on a ridgecrest, we had excellent views down steep grassy-and-rocky ravines down each side of the ridge.
courtesy DBoyd
courtesy DBoyd
Pu's first ferrata ladder
Down craggy slopes
A familiar sight
Soon we were at the top of Cima Cuaro, and we had our first of several summit breaks. We could now see, for the first time, along the ridge. Hmm... lots of elevation gains and losses between these peaks. This was going to be a somewhat strenuous day!
courtesy DBoyd
courtesy PChen
Neat trail
Impressive 'strada' view
Point out our route
Seeing that we had some work yet to do before reaching the end of the ferrata, we didn't break for long and continued along the ridge, soon reaching the next highpoint, Cima Forni Alti, altitude 2023metres (6480 feet). From here the ferrata led down the other side of the peak, losing many hundreds of feet of elevation, and eventually reaching a low saddle in the ridge. The ferrata route at this point parallels the return route quite closely - in places it is only a few tens of metres apart! In fact, in places, the ferrata route follows the ridge crest, and we could tell that directly underneath us, in a tunnel, ran the return route!
Reaching the Forcella
Blocky climbing
Rustic cross
The next peak offered a wealth of wartime ruins - old steps, walls, tunnels, portholes, barbed wire, wood... you name it! Daryl was intrigued and went exploring every hole he could find - some quite crumbly, too!
courtesy PChen
Wartime ruins
Cima Forni Alti
Down to the Golden Pass
courtesy PChen
Seems obvious, no?
Cool Mountain Works
A break at the top
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