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MI Winter Meet, Adamello

Date: 14th-21st March 2010
Submitted by: Alan Tees

Mountaineering Ireland, Winter Meet 2010

Thirteen of us hired a minibus at Bergamo airport to ferry us the final leg of our journey to Ponte Di Legno, in the Adamello Alps. These are just West of the Brenta Dolomites, and about 2 hours leisurely drive from the airport. On arrival there were about thirty of us in total, including 6 Colmcillers/North West members (Rory, Johnny, Dennis, Finbarr, Margaret and self) and the hotel Pineta proved a comfortable and hospitable base for activities.

The first day we ascended by cable car/ bus/ cable car to over 2000m, where we all undertook the mandatory training on avalanche awareness, and transceiver training (sort of hide and seek)! The place was hiving with skiers, who very much have right of way!

On Tuesday, having had my fill of training (more than in the last 30 years) Finbarr and I trailed Italo, the guide, up into the Val Bione, and while they took their clients on the lower part of the right hand icefall, we tackled the central one, which turned out to be considerably longer and steeper than it looked! I had only one 8mm rope and six ice screws, (so had to get lowered down to take out previous screws, replacing them higher), but three pitches later we were at the top. The ice was perfect, did not appear to have been climbed on, and it was solid Norwegian IV. Finbarr’s first ice climb!!

The weather continued to be perfect, and a group, including Rory and Johnny had gone into the Alpino Hut, the night before, (intending to climb Cima Cadi and Cima Verde). Fintan, who lives in Zurich had his Landrover available, so, on Wednesday we decided to follow them, in the hope of getting one top. We, Dennis, Fintan, Margaret, Finbarr and I, snowshoed up, being very grateful for their tracks in the otherwise deep snow, and met them on the way down. We managed Cima Cadi 2449m. The views from the top were magnificent.

On Thursday , while a big party went snow holing, we took a rest day, visiting the local villages of Temu and Vezza.

On Friday,( the last of the predicted clear spell), we, Fergus, Finbarr, Margaret and self, headed up to climb Cima Presena, the highest accessible peak at 3069m. It was straight forward, but magic. Finbarr needed some more excitement so while Margaret went down , the two ffers and myself did the ridge on Cornicciola Di Presena 2922m, which was exciting enough in parts.

The expected snow on Saturday did not materialise, but it was cloudy. I went back up the Val Bione with twins Conal, and Donnacha, and Fintan, who wanted to try ice climbing, and we did some short routes around where the guides had been on Tuesday. Margaret climbed too, and again the ice was wonderful. A last evening meal was had, with thank yous and the Presidential Ditty, and we were off home again in the morning.

This area would be well worth a visit in the summer, with steep dramatic peaks, glaciers, sharp ridges, a network of paths and huts as good as anywhere, handy for the Dollies, via Ferrata, and of course Italian food, wine and weather. There is already an Irish connection, particularly with Kerry, as Tomas Awylward, Anne O’Connor and Dave Gaughran, have all apartments there, and Tralee MC have been there a number of times.

Photo of Route
Summit Cima Presena - Fergus, Finbarr and Margaret enjoy the view.