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Wednesday, July 25
Climbing a "Five"
Mighty Punta Anna
As I had mentioned earlier, I felt we were now ready for a ferrata route of the highest grade, and I had picked out what I thought was a suitable one in the nearby Tofana mountain range: the Via Ferrata Punta Anna / Gianni Aglio. We were now ready to tackle that route: we had had a relatively easy day the day before, we were based in a spot not far from the start of the route, and the unsettled weather of the day before had given way to another perfect, clear, sunny day. All systems go!
Heading to Pomedes
For the sake of convenience and time, we decided to book another night at Camping Olimpia so that we could leave our tents set up, and not have to deal with finding another place to stay at the end of the day. We got up early and prepared our food and gear; our intention was to be at the lower chairlift leading up to the route as soon as it opened, so that we could maximize the amount of time available to us on the cimbing route. We had hard deadlines, since we were taking the cablecar down from the end of the route. If we were late and missed that, we would have a huge downclimb to make at the end of a long day.

Rather than descend into the busy little heart of Cortina D'Ampezzo (and in doing so get caught up in its traffic), we took a quiet little forest road that fortuitously led right from our campground to the access road from our ascent chairlift (I believe this chairlift is called the 'pietofana' lift). We arrived at the chairlift station fifteen minutes before it opened at 8:30am. Around us, several other groups of climbers were also getting ready.
The Ferrata we climbed is called... well, it's called several different things. In fact, it is really two ferrate climbed as one unit. The lower part is called the Via Ferrata Punta Anna, or alternatively as the Via Ferrata Giusseppe Olivieri. The upper part is called the via Ferrata Gianni Aglio. Together, they form a grand traverse of the peaks, sub- peaks and ridges of the southern part of the Tofana Group. The route starts at the southern end of the Tofana Group and climbs higher and higher, following the spine of the Tofana, until it tops out at the summit of Tofana di Mezzo - the third highest peak in the dolomites.
Switching lifts
Jenn enjoys the views
Passo Giau
As we lazily let ourselves be carted up in the chairlift, we saw ahead of us, in profile, a very steep ridge of rock. We were looking at this ridge from the side: to the left, it rose steeply out of a valley, and on the right, connected up with higher alpine terrain. This was the knife-edged crest of the Punta Anna ridge - and the Punta Anna ferrata climbs right up the crest of this ridge. It looked very, very airy!
Getting ready
Reaching the top of the two-lift system near the rifugio Pomedes, we disembarked and got our gear together. There is very little approach to be made if you take this lift, as it drops you off right under the soaring cliffs of the Punta Anna ridge. It is only a fifteen minute hike to the start of the wires.
There seemed to be a lot of people heading for this route, even though it was a week day. I wondered what it was like on weekends in August!!

Once fully suited-up for ferrata climbing, we made our way up the short scree-path to the start of the wires. A very handsome plaque proclaimed this ferrata was in memorial of Giuseppe Olivieri.
courtesy PChen
courtesy PChen
courtesy PChen
Starting off
Ferrata start plaque
The first wires
After letting a few faster climbers ahead of us (or at least we thought they looked faster), we ourselves clipped on. The wire climbed up steeply for a short bit, then headed left on a horizontal traverse to gain the crest of the Punta Anna ridge.
Airy traverse
The exposure even here was quite big - but I think we were becoming acclimatized to it, because it didn't really seem to bother any of us all that much. Instead, it felt exciting and bold. Even though this was a top-grade route, I felt more at ease here than I did before the beginning of the grade-4 route of the Bolver Luigi back in the Pale group some days before. Experience and 'calibration to the guidebook' were kicking in...
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