Harder Ferrata, Harder Weather
Sunday, September 13
Given the continued unsettled forecast, I was delighted to once again wake to a mostly clear morning. Up here at the higher altitudes in the Tofane Group, the scene outside was quite wintry. High above us to the west I could see the summit of the Tofana di Rozes, a 10,600+ foot (3200+m) peak that had most definitely received a fair coating of snow (for early September, in any case). I estimated maybe 10-15 cm of fresh white stuff on the upper slopes and summit.
We started out on the descent back to the Rifugio Dibona carpark shortly before 8 a.m. Roland wanted to spend a bit more time exploring the ruined Rifugio Cantore, so we detoured over to it for a few minutes. Shortly after resuming our downhill trek to the car, I idly noticed some extra bulk in my pocket. Fishing around a bit further, I soon realized that I still had the keys to our rifugio room in my possession!
Not wanting to delay our group on what would surely be another tight-timeline day, I dropped my pack and ran back to the rifugio, telling the others to go on ahead and that I would catch up. Fortunately, I had discovered my mistake within relative proximity to the hut: it only took ten minutes or so to run back to the rifugio and sweatily (for the second time in 24 hours) present myself at the front desk, return the room keys, and then run back down to where my pack was.
It was indeed a beautiful morning as we walked back down the easy track towards the carpark at Rifugio Dibona, although one could tell that the air seemed moist and ready for cloud development. There was a fair bit of haze in the distance and a few puffs of clouds were already starting to condense out of the sky here and there. The forecast still called for unsettled weather, but now the trend line was now definitely downwards, and tomorrow was looking solidly inclement.
Roland and Stephanie had continued a steady march downward when I turned around and headed back to return the room keys, so they had accumulated a fair lead and were still some distance below us. A brisk pace on the smooth track quickly closed the gap, though, and by the time we emerged from the shadowy Valon de Tofana and into the bright morning sun, Jenn and I had caught up to them. A further fifteen minutes of downslope hiking and we arrived at the carpark. Overall, it had taken us about 1 hour from the rifugio to our car.