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Dolomite Via Verrata fest.

Date: 24-31 August 2011
Submitted by: Keith Monaghan

24-31 August 11.  Sandra, Sam and I headed for a Via Ferrata trip to the Dolomites. Early Venice flight and easy drive had us in Cortina for 3pm so with the tent in place and kit hired we headed for a wee dander and a bit of clipping practice on an easy ferrata behind the town. Pizza in this posh town centre which is a terrible place to get parked but got a great pic of someone’s 911 Porche being clamped and then taken away for parking indiscretions. Proper police work.

 Next am was a “factor 30 white legs” day and a ski lift (little yellow box ) followed by a climb and the very busy VF to the  top of Cima Di Mezzo 3154m, lunch at the Lorenzi hut and another short VF onto Cristallino 3008m.

Next am we set off for a two day VF trip around the Sorapiss circuit (not to be mistaken with a medical condition in the lower regions) we were assured it was a classic Dolomite mountain trip.  Set off from “Scooter” (another uncomfortable condition) and a short climb to the San Marco hut for coffee and cake and then long slog over Forcella Grande, a long traversing route poorly protected and then down climbing the Vandelli VF towards our overnight hut of the same name,  After a long 10hrs Sandra and I were “having a discussion” about speed on the hills as were had a bit to go and it was getting near to dinner time.  Sam gave off to both of us highlighting that we were both behaving like children and to “grow up”!!

 Early start and a long climb and traverse to the start of the spectacular VF Berti which we topped out in time for a true Alpine thunderstorm.  Got completely drenched and had to trudge back to San Marco and Scooter with squelchy feet on paths which had turned into mud rivers. Once back at the car we headed for the Marmolada and an excellent campsite of the same name in Mallga Ciapela. Sun had returned and boots were set to dry.

Next am was a trip on the 700m VF fairly sustained climb to the summit of Colac with views of Marmolada. Interesting protected down climb through a loose gully with rocks rolling down from everywhere.  Cake again.  

29th was Sam’s 15th birthday, and the plan was the Dolomites highest summit the Pta Penna top of on the Marmolada, Crampons and axes in hand we set of in another lift which you had to chase at a run to get into with the attendant running behind you to close the gate, looked more like a pigging crate but got us well up the hill. Long traverse before we got onto the VF. There were a few workmen fixing a new wire who got very annoyed with a team slightly ahead of us who were kicking down rocks on everybody below, took a largish rock on the top of my helmet and  wished I could speak Italian because the can swear properly. However I’m sure they got my message as I discussed their lack of prowess in best Fermanagh slang.  Long VF with no difficulties to a busy summit and more cake, this time with a beer from a hut which looked like a battered chicken coup. Pictures taken, we headed down onto the main glacier for Sam’s 1st   glacier trip over some decent crevasses and snow bridges, then back to the bottom in the pigging crate.  Sam pointed out that this was probably going to be the last birthday he was going to have when I was taller than him. I have no idea where he gets his sarcastic wit from, must be his mother but he's probably right. 

Drove to Venice the next day for tourist trip on the canals etc. 40c + Beautiful city but there must be hundreds killed by the boat and gondola manic drivers. Early flight home,   

6 and half days of stunning weather and fantastic scenery.  VFs great fun.      

06 Sep 2011

Pretty damn good for a 15 year old. The milk crate lift is unique, in my experience.

08 Sep 2011

As usual a great report. It reminded me of previous trips to Cortina and Venice. Fair dues to Sam for toughing it out.

Photo of Route