Wednesday, 10 October 2012

The mighty Dolomiti


Civetta from Alleghe
Civetta (3220m P1454)
My second highest mountain, ever - the highest of the trip, so far. Shame it is 46m short of being an Ultra and hence, it only counts as a Major. It is a fabulous mountain to climb and to look at.
I did consider using the Via ferrata degli Alleghesi route but realised that it would mean a very long day and there may not be enough daylight hours at this time of year. And, anyway the Via Normale VF was tough enough for me, thank you very much.


I knew that there was a lot of palaver about using the road up from Palafavera, so  opted instead to start from Alpe della Grava (1627m) at the end of a rough road through the forest.

Alpe della Grava
The rough track (trail 557)continues traversing  up the hill past the accessible road end until it reaches the foot of a lift to take provisions up to the near summit RifugioTorrani.  The signposts at this point are not as clear as I have grown to expect, however, the path goes up through dwarf pines to the foot of a large scree slope. The way across the scree slope is fairly obvious. There were still patches of last winter's snow at the top of the scree. It does not take long to get to the foot of the Via Normale. The via ferrata is fairly simple at first - however, there are a couple of sections where it gets quite steep and I did begin to worry about having to descend them on the return. At least one I vowed to try and find a way of avoiding when going down - there was what looked like a previously cabled way that had been inexplicably abandoned and looked a lot easier even without a fixed cable.
VF takes longer than mere walking (especially when there are patches of ice underfoot) so it took a while to reach the closed Rifugio Torrani (2984m) (although the winter room was open) and have some well needed food to restore my blood sugar levels.
From the rifugio the route is steep with scree and ice in places and I found it tiring - but not really difficult. And it was worth the effort, the view down to Alleghe and across the surrounding Dolomiti hills was breathtaking.
And, so was the way down - however my alternative to the final hard section of VF turned out to be quite easy, hurrah!
Lago Alleghe from summit
Civetta summit

Can you see my washing? All the Dolomiti campsites are shut and I needed a shower.

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