Wednesday, July 25
(...continued from previous page)
Near Punta Anna, the ferrata traverses off of the ridge on an extremely
spectacular airy section, then climbs in a few small gullies, then reaches
Punta Anna and ends. This marked the end of the first part of our route,
and we would now hike and climb to the second part of our route - the Gianni
Aglio Ferrata. But first, it was time for a break and a look at the
wonderful view around us.
Tofana di Rozes
Close by to the west was the large, pyramidal-shaped mass of the Tofana De
Rozes - another of the major peaks of the Tofana Group. To the left of
the Tofana de Rozes, off in the distance, was the Marmolada - the highest
peak in the dolomites. It was interesting to see how little snow remained
on its glaciers, even though it was only late-July. climbing down from
the Marmolada ferrata route would definitely have involved crampons!
Queen of the Dolomites
To the south, we could see Nuvolao and the Passo Giau, where Pu had
discovered what was not a cow, and beyond that, the dark shape of the
Civetta, where we had climbed the long ferrata Alleghesi route. It was a
spectacular day with excellent visibility, and the temperature was
perfect. We couldn't have asked for anything better.
Civetta from Punta Anna
With some food and some views under our belts, we turned to continue our
odyssey. Looking up-ridge, we could see a large, wide face of rock. By
eyeballing the scree-path, and the dots of climbers ahead of us, we saw
that the route climbed a diagonal ledge of this face. It looked exposed
from where we were, but as we climbed it was nothing much - not in
comparison to the Punta Anna ridge that we had just climbed.
After this bit of the route, we scrambled along a few unprotected ledges,
and then emerged onto a wide, sloping plain of scree. A well-defined path
led northwards mostly on the level, until we reached a junction. Ahead
was a descent route off of the mountain, but we weren't done yet, not by a
long shot. And so we turned left, switchbacked back up to the crest of
the ridge, and started along the Ferrata Gianni Aglio.
We could now see all of the way up across many towers, rounded domes, and
tilted strata, all the way to the summit. We could see the top station
of the Tofana cablecar, which reaches almost all the way to the summit.
It looked remarkably close, prompting Jenn to exclaim that it looked like
we were almost there. I knew from the guidebook, however, that we had a
long way still to go.
The slightly airy ridge soon became much airier, and a ladder led up over
a vertical step. I then made a mistake and was seduced by a well-trod
scree path that traversed left. I should have continued up along the
ridgecrest, following the red waymarks. In any case, the scree path
traversed along increasingly slanted scree, soon reaching beyond the point
of comfort. Below the slant were big dropoffs. The footing was actually
quite good, but the combination of the exposure below and the side-slant
of the trail made it unnerving. By the time I realized that we were off
-route, we had already come quite far along.
Crags and Towers
Jenn was not at all pleased with this little off-route excursion, and it
spooked her a fair bit. And as I said before, your mood in the mountains
are everything - and a spooked mood means that everything looks a little
more ominous and scary. From this point onwards, Jenn was more
apprehensive about the climb - even though the actual climbing was easier
than it had been on Punta Anna.
I could see that the herd-path scrambled back up to what had to be the
actual route, and in my estimation felt that it would be shorter to just
continue than to turn around and go back. After very careful foot
placements and a little upscrambling, we were back on route, closer up
near the ridgeline (see annotated picture below for a diagram of what not to do!)
We soon arrived at deep notch in the ridge - the Torri Gianni wind-gap. This
was a spot where a short but exposed little path leads across the crest of
dirt that fills the gap.
Beyond this, ferrata wires led up quite
strenuously and then around the overhanging side of a big, leaning tower.
This part was fantastically exposed and physically somewhat tiring. It
was short, though, and soon after traversing around the tower, we then
climbed down over a neat rock-arch - the 'bus de Tofana', and then the
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