Rock climbing has never particularly appealed – too much like sport rather than relaxation. And how to you appreciate the scenery when glued to rock face wondered where on earth you are going to put your feet? Via ferrata looked a good compromise between scrambling (good fun) and rock climbing (not fun at all). At least there is always a cable to hang on to, pull on and generally guide the way.

Start of the Cir Spitz VF (grade 2A) [46 33 29 N, 11 48 17 E]. After a bit of a hike from the Gardena pass and a rather tricky scramble up, the sight of the cable climbing up vertically was rather off-putting.

Other climbers on the ascent (EH). The cable is just visible towards to the bottom left.

Made it! (EH) The summit of Cir Spitz used to be much bigger before most of it was shattered by a lightening strike. Suddenly being attached to a steel cable on a mountainside doesn’t seem like such a good idea.

Descending from the summit (EH).

The second VF was the Marino Bianchi route on the M. Cristallo group [46 34 51 N, 12 11 40 E]. A chair lift to rifugio Son Forca (2215 m) was followed by a very odd separate lift to rifuigio Lorenti (2932 m) which involved jumping into moving “yoghurt pot” lifts.

The VF itself was graded 2B i.e. not particularly challenging technically but with a greater degree of “commitment”. Given that we were at 3000 m and the weather was poor, a few of the group decided that drinking coffee and hot chocolate in the rifugio was a more appealing option.

View down from the top (EH). The second lift (and some “pots”) are just visible. The top itself was in the cloud and the air was freezing. On the other hand, climbing in the cloud meant you couldn’t see the drop…

A tricky bit just beyond the ladder (EH).

Before we realised we could miss the last lift down if we didn’t hurry? (EH)

Dolomites IV – climbing

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