Thursday, July 26
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The Ivano Dibona ferrata is one of the (if not the most) famous via
ferrata of the Dolomites. It is a long traverse of the ridge system west
of the highest Cristallo summits. During the mountain war of WWI, the
Ivano Dibona route saw much military development, and the route is as
historic as it is scenic, with many well-preserved buildings and artifacts
built into the rock along the way. The route also crosses a notch via a
long suspension bridge. Called the 'ponte Cristallo', it is the longest
ferrata suspension bridge in the dolomites. A bridge very much like this was also made
famous in the movie 'Cliffhanger', with Sylvester Stallone (it was actually over in the Falzarego Mountains a little ways to the west; it was temporary, and they blew it up as part of the end of the movie).
The Ivano Dibona ferrata is another very busy ferrata route. It was not
entirely by luck that we timed our start of the route with the time of the
last chairlift down. That way, the vast majority of the day-users were
gone, and we were free to explore the route in relative solitude.
We rounded the back of the chairlift station and started up the metal
stairway that marked the start (or the end, if you are doing it in the
opposite direction) of the Ivano Dibona Ferrata. The route wound up and
around a small knob, diving through wartime tunnels with lookouts, and
then arriving at the long suspension bridge. We were fortunate enough to
make visual contact at that point with Pu, who was descending the Marino
Bianchi route. He took several pictures of us on the bridge (see
Above the bridge, we walked along an airy but easy ridge, and then started
a long descent down to a pass where several very interesting looking
wartime buildings were located. They were in pretty good shape for being
abandoned for nearly 100 years in a hostile, high-altitude environment.
We inspected the buildings, along with several other wartime artifacts,
including a neat but sobering sniper post, complete with little aiming-holes for shooting in various directions.
We could see other interesting buildings further along the route, but it
was getting late, and we most certainly did not want to miss dinnertime at
the rifugio, so we decided to turn around at this point. The Ivano
Dibona ferrata continues on for several more hours, so we'll definitely
have to come back and explore this at some point!
(If you'd like to read more about the Ivano Dibona route, please click here
to go to my dedicated Via Ferrata page's route description.)
Back at the Rifugio, we met up with Pu, who was intensely studying a
coffee-table picture-book of the Dolomites. We also met two British men -
one older, and one quite young - who were new to exploring ferrata (gee,
what a surprise) and who wanted some tips and advice on what routes they
could do the next day before jetting off. Our dinner was delicious, as
usual. Afterwards, Pu went off to climb up a bit of the Ivano Dibona
ferrata to get some sunset shots.
As darkness fell, we introduced Pu to the board game 'Settlers of Catan'
(to which he took an immediate liking). We played until the rifugio
staff came 'round and told us it was nearly lights out time - 10:00pm. I
was losing, anyway.