Finally we have made it back to the mountains, oh how much I have missed being here! It sounds weird to have been travelling, climbing and diving across Italy and Sardinia, and the whole time I felt like there was something missing, and I’ve not realised it was this, hills, mountains, towering rock faces, amazing scenery in every direction, you get the picture, I love it!
We had a bit of a mission getting here, all we needed to do was some laundry, stock up on food and buy some snow chains. By the time we did this we had waited or wasted over two days. Although as soon as all was done, we immediately headed back to the Dolomites as the weather looked better than I had ever seen it!
We arrived at the foot of the Col dei Bos just after lunch, and quickly set to having some food and getting our kit ready. As soon as this was done we were off, following winding paths up the mountain side, crossing streams and dry river beds until we arrived at a plateau where there were large remains of what used to be a military hospital in the First World War. Not far from these remains our first via Ferrata started, Degli Alpini. We kitted up, all new and shiney!
The start of the route was actually quite tough, or at least tougher than I expected. Add to this the polish and my mountain boots, I was beginning to think that I had underestimated this Via Ferrata malarkey? Although it was soon after this that the route eased and we were making good speed, even though we were still getting used to the new equipment and way of moving. We were both surprised by the CV element, in climbing you are able to relax (most times) at belays, and are not constantly on the move, however here we were working continuously for a couple of hours, all up hill and therefore gave us a great workout, ensuring active acclimatisation was taking place!
I was soaking in the views, and as I said previously the views were inspiring, different to our previous trip, as the trees have welcomed autumn, and shades of yellow and orange were glowing in the sunlight across the valley. At the top we were rewarded with a great view and I sat for a short while to soak it all in, whilst also refreshing my self with some water and snacks! The guidebook says this has an easy descent, yeah it is paths all the way, but they were a little bit loose and the chances of slipping were high, I think me and everyone I saw descending took at least one unexpected skiing lesson on the thin scree slopes!
We slept that night just down the road, as we planned to take advantage of the weather and climb again, we decided to do an easy route just around the corner called Spigolo Alpini, IV. The place we parked was awesome, directly below the grand faces of the Dolomites, surrounded by trees and small streams, it was ideal, although at 1800 metres above sea level, bloody cold! For the first time in a long while, we wore thick socks and clothes to bed! Anytime I got too near the van wall I would freeze, then change my position so the frozen limb was wrapped in the duvet, sleep and repeat!
We woke at a normal time and slightly rushed getting ready to take advantage of the all around clear blue skies! The path was the same as yesterday, and finding the route was pretty easy, we passed a few teams on the walk in, showing that our mountain fitness must still be quite adequate. We chose this easy first route, as we had not climbed in the mountains, multi pitches or trad for about a month, in fact in the last month we have done less climbing than any other time in this trip. So an easy route seemed to be the way to go, although I felt that this was a little to easy and at times, felt more like scrambling than climbing. I’m sure there were two pitches where only a single piece of protection was placed. Even though we were climbing well within our abilities, there was no polish which was a nice change of pace and it was just good to be climbing on a proper alpine route again.
Before we knew it we were a couple of pitches from the top and here we stopped for our lunch, we had spent just short of four hours on the route, covering 300 metres in height, not bad as we had been going at an average speed, and not trying to be fast due to a group ahead! During lunch we were joined by a few winged friends, who could see a pair of climbers having their lunch from a mile off! Usually they keep there distance, but there was one chappy, who was more than happy to get close and cock his head to have a good look at what we were chomping on, so unfazed at being near humans he would happily take food from your hand without even fluttering, I guarantee you that this bird will be fat one day!
The walk down was the same as the day before, and therefore horrible. Although once down, we were both spent, it had been a long couple of days, full of everything that we have missed, so we have been working hard on catching up! That said, we were soon flicking through the guidebook at what to get up to next….there is no stopping us if the weather continues to be this good!