Thursday, July 19
(...continued from previous page)
The route neared the top of the wall, then curved right around into a small
gully underneath some towers, and then emerged onto a gently sloping
terrace, where the ferrata ended. We could now see a large expanse of
the barren high plateau of the Pale, and it looked very moon-like: Light
gray expanses of totally naked rock.
Above us we saw a small orange dot. This was a 'Bivacco' - an
unserviced first-come first-serve mountain shelter. There are many of
these scattered around the Dolomites.
The edge of the altopiano
After a pleasant snack under a bright sun and clear skies, we headed off
on the trail which led up to the Bivacco (and ultimately, down the other
side to our descent route). We reached it in short order, and there
were many climbers who were planning to stay the night at the Bivacco.
They'd be packed tightly in tonight!!
Altopiano and La Fradusta
From the height-of-land where the Bivacco was located, we could see
across the head of the Val dei Cantoni to a steeply rising peak with a
long finger of snow on it's flank: Cima di Vezzana, the highest
peak in the Pale di San Martino Group. We could see the dots of several
climbers slogging up a steep path to its summit.
Pu capturing the view
Given our continous climbing pace for the last several days, I was
inclined to skip the peak and take our time heading on to the rifugio.
Most of the others agreed (I think Pu was the most gung-ho of us to do
the peak, but even he didn't protest too much when we suggested
bypassing it). Also, because we had reservations at the Rifugio
Rosetta, we were expected to arrive no later than 6pm or so, and we most
definitely didn't want to miss a scrumptious 6:30pm dinner.
Heading down to the Pass
So, by a vote of 3.5 to 0.5, we decided to just head down to the
Rifugio. We scrambled down and to the north, reaching the pass at the
head of the Val dei Cantoni (called the passo travignolo).
The Valle dei Cantoni
we could see down into the valley. There were snowfields, but from this
angle they looked discontinuous and mostly avoidable. I suggested that
anyone not comfortable with snow-slope travel could walk on the scree
next to the snow. Jenn and I decided to take a change of pace from
tiring scree-walking (and besides, we'd lugged up our ice axes, so we
might as use them, right?) and headed down the snow slopes.
Using the axes
The Val dei Cantoni steepened in its middle portion, and there were a few
steep downscrambles, all well-marked. I could see how in big snow
years there might be a lot of continuous snow descent, but this year was
obviously a low-snow year. We'd more-or-less brought our gear for nothing... but that's what preparedness and safety is sometimes about, right?
Once at the bottom of the scrambly
middle-section, the route becomes entirely well-defined trail (waymarked
#716). Thoughout this descent, there are excellent views into the heart of the Altopiano (high
plain) of the Pale di San Martino.
Jenn, Andrew, and the Pale
Following waymarks and the occasional 'rifugio rosetta' marking, the
trail rises out of the Val dei Cantoni and curves to the right into the
next valley over. The trail then heads up this valley, over a pass at
its head, and then down, left and around onto the western edge of the
altopiano itself. Eventually the tiny, tidy dot of the rifugio Rosetta
came into view, as did the top station of the Rosetta cablecar (our
descent route the next day).
If you'd like to read more about the Ferrata Bolver Luigi, please click here
to go to my dedicated Via Ferrata page's route description.
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| Where did we drive?