After a couple of tough days on the Col dei Bos, we decided that we would continue with a third day, this time on the Via Ferrata Michielli Strobel on Punta Fiames. This is close to where we have parked and seems to have a smaller approach time, as Jess does not like long approach times, and had a decent length on the actual route, we decided to ignore the fact that the descent looked pretty long.
Unlike the hardened alpinists that were obviously parked all around us, we got up late and by the time I looked outside we were one of two vans left, compared to ten or so the night before. I felt a little tired after the intense couple of days, but was happy to push out another day in the hills! Once we were up and ready we drove for a short while out of Cortina towards Fiames, and in typical sat nav style it took us down the thinnest and windiest road instead of the main road that was literally next to it.
We found the path, well not really, it was signposted so took little finding, and made our way up. The path got steeper and steeper the higher we went, and seemed to take an age. We were walking through the midday sun, and I was starting to feel this ascent. Although eventually we were underneath the rock face and somewhat protected from the sun here and there as the rock gave us sporadic shade.
I thought the via Ferrata was along the arête, however it was more on the west side of this, and therefore we were not as exposed as I thought, although sometimes the exposure did sneak up on you, and as you looked down, you were looking straight down to the valley! There were many sections of via ferrata that climbed the steeper rock that was on the route, these were interspersed with sections of scrambling and walking. On one of the walking sections we came across this exposure, and the edge of the thin path dropped off to nothing below, a little scary when clipped into nothing, it’s weird that I’ve often been in similar sections when climbing, and although the rope is not clipped into anything, it’s like having a dishonest security blanket.
This route had a few differences to the last including a ladder section and a few more staples on the harder steeper sections, which added to the wonderful views across the mountains and Cortina, all in all it made this a really fun via Ferrata. We arrived at the summit in just over two hours, which included a lunch break, so we were making good time, we wrote in the book, advertising this blog, and after a short break began to make our descent. Initially this followed a path that contoured the north faces of the cliffs, until it reached a saddle and then we were greeted by another gully full of scree, with a faint path etched into it to follow down.
Initially it was a little slippy, although as we lost altitude the scree became more dense, and each step was accepted with a slide, until all the stones compacted to hold your weight. We continued this style of shoe skiing down the slope until we found an actual path that took us back to the valley and eventually our van. Once again the descent was the most dangerous part of the day, with no protection if you did fall, and the result if you did would be extremely painful or worse. Once at the van we had been on the go for 5 to 6 hours or so, and my body knew about it! I would have been happy to just have camped where we were, but we decided that it would be better to park in Cortina for the night! A massive home made sweet and sour hit the spot, before binge watching Netflix, oh and picking out what to do the next day, as if I’m not tired enough already!