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.
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".
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.
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.
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
Pu's first ferrata ladder
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!
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
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
[ Dolomites 2007 home
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| Sun, July 29
| Where did we drive?