Martin on the TGO Challenge 2017

Martin on the TGO Challenge 2017

Friday, 11 July 2014

Friday 11 July 2014 - Summer Holiday - Day 15 - Passo Duran to Rifugio Pian de Fontana


 
Alta Via 1 - Day 6 - 18km, 1200 metres ascent, 8.4 hours.

A classic day on AV1. 

Sunlight of Delight and Views of Desire.

For the first time on this trip, several of our waterproof clothes remained stashed today. Others came out briefly towards the end of the day when we skirmished with a cloud as we descended through a zone of marmots and the occasional Burnt Orchid - amongst a vast selection of flowers. 

Beniamino and his staff saw us off before 8am after a good breakfast. (Pictured) After a short descent along the road, we headed along path 543 all the way to the Pramperet Rifugio. It's a wonderful belvedere path for most of the way. Fabulous views and splendiferous flora. Forest, scree slopes, and lazy rises through rock bands.

A good lunch at the friendly hut saw us winding our way up to Forcella de Zità Sud with a couple of Germans who were grateful for our guidance across some snowfields and up a rocky crest to the col, the last few metres being up a steep snow slope. 

Sue, Susan and Roy nipped up to a summit whilst Karen and Mike and I admired the view (also pictured).

It was a 700 metre descent to this fairly basic but friendly Rifugio that hadn't been built when I first visited AV1 in 1991. Its derelict predecessor building is pictured on the wall in 1983.

The descent was perhaps the toughest part of the trip to date, as it was unrelentingly steep and slippery on the limestone that was being lubricated by the passing cloud.

We are enjoying our last evening of 'hutting' before descending to the fleshpots of Pedraces. The food tonight is as good as ever - pasta, pork, polenta, nut cake etc.

The alpenglow on the Schiara is wonderful.

Here's a slideshow for the day (73 images)
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Thursday, 10 July 2014

Thursday 10 July 2014 - Summer Holiday - Day 14 - Rifugio Coldai to Passo Duran


 
Alta Via 1 - Day 5 - 22km, 1000 metres ascent, 9.2 hours.

Mudpits of Despair and Cow Pats of Doom.

After an ordinary breakfast we set off at 7.45am in an effort to cover some ground before the predicted rain. After a couple of minutes there was rain in the air. That was the on and off story of the day. Waterproofs, that is. Actually we could have got away with leaving them in our bags. But we didn't. 

Sue is pictured shortly after the start, posing in front of Lago Coldai and the Civetta.

During the course of our traverse alongside the western cliffs of the Civetta, we encountered everything from steep snowbound scree slopes to meadows with wild flowers and newly born calves, then forest paths with cesspits of cowpat laden mud.

The twelve Germans from Lago di Braies made a brief appearance before heading off to the Tissi Rifugio for coffee, whilst we continued in the cool weather as far as Rifugio Vazzoler for our own refreshments. 

Lunch soon followed, then a magnificent belvedere path concluding with beers at Rifugio B. Carestiato amongst a dog loving family from Padova.

Down at Passo Duran, Beniamino and his staff at Rifugio S. Sebastiano have provided excellent accommodation and have fed and watered us brilliantly. But there is no wifi and a minimal phone signal with the usual network problem, so transmission may be delayed. 

As to the heading, Mike decided to tramp into a cowpat laden mud pit, hence triggering the comment from Susan. It did rain a lot last night and the ground is unseasonably soggy just now.

Here's a slideshow for the day (47 images)
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Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Wednesday 9 July 2014 - Summer Holiday - Day 13 - Rifugio Città di Fiume to Rifugio Coldai


 
Alta Via 1 - Day 4 - 15km, 1150 metres ascent, 7 hours.

In search of dinosaurs' footprints.

By the time we reached Rifugio Staulanza for coffee we were on Plan E. Plan A, the AV1 route over to Rifugio Venezia, had been extinguished by the dangerously steep snowfields due to abnormal amounts of snow last winter. Readers may recall that we suffered similar problems in the Pyrenees last year. 
Plan B was rejected as being too short - the direct route past Mt Pelmo.
Plan C was rejected as being too long - the other way around Mt Pelmo involving a lot of descent and ascent.
Plan D was abandoned due to snow gullies that Karen would have struggled with. 

Plan E resulted in an excellent day despite indifferent weather that had us putting waterproofs on and off and trying to avoid the mud. 

After the interesting route to Staulanza we headed along the belvedere path, number 472, through much mud, towards Rifugio Venezia. Shortly before Col delle Crepe we headed up to look at the dinosaurs' footprints pictured above. The other pictures show us at the start of the day in front of Mt Pelmo, and the Civetta group from belvedere path 472.

Descending from Col delle Crepe towards Palafavera, we paused briefly for lunch under some pines in light rain. Then it was down to the road and up a jeep track and footpath to reach our destination before 3.30pm.

Luckily, it's another cosy refuge, if rather larger than last night's. 

Outside, one minute it's snowing, next it's all clear with distant mountains bathed in sunlight with a rainbow foreground. 

The three Johns are here, but the French and the Chinese have gone further today. There are quite a few others here. Showers are good if brief, and we have a room for four and one for two. Half board is €40 for Alpine Club members.

Here's a slideshow for the day (37 images)
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Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Tuesday 8 July 2014 - Summer Holiday - Day 12 - Rifugio Dibona to Rifugio Città di Fiume


 
Alta Via 1 - Day 3 - 16.5km, 1100 metres ascent, 7.5 hours.

A wet day in the Dolomites. 

After a fairly damp day we arrived here soon after 3pm. That should leave plenty of time for blogging, but in a cosy Rifugio full of sociable folk - our own six, the three Johns, French and Chinese couples, etc - it isn't so easy!

The first hour and a half today's walk was thankfully in a pause from the rain that had fallen all night and demanded a dash from the annex to the main building for breakfast. 

A steep slippery 300 metre descent to the Cortina-Passo Falzarego road was followed by a steep thrutchy 300 metre ascent almost as far as Rifugio Cinque Torri. Before reaching that sanctuary we turned left and took a steep slippery 300 metre descent to the Cortina-Passo Giau road. By now the rain had made the tree roots of which the path was composed even more slippery.

After a short section on a freshly sanitised pathway, normal service was resumed by way of a steep thrutchy 300 metre ascent to mercifully level path to Rifugio Croda da Lago 'G Palmieri'.

Lunch was taken in this fine establishment as the rain tipped down outside and an elderly group of Japanese tried to commit hari kiri on the welcome grate. Then waterproofs were redeployed for the stroll up to Forcella Ambrizzola. My five companions are pictured leaving the Rifugio. Mike had given up on his brolly by this point.

The afternoon was spent on limestone pavements then mud. A beautiful high level stroll in light rain, followed by a gluey descent to a "cute" (to quote our friends from Paris) Rifugio Città di Fiume. 

It's full tonight with just 25 like minded tourists and some Italian scouts who have sought refuge from the rain.

Last night I discovered some wifi, and this Rifugio, despite being quite remote, also has it. Great stuff!

Here's a slideshow for the day (21 images)
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Monday, 7 July 2014

Monday 7 July 2014 - Summer Holiday - Day 11 - Rifugio Lavarella to Rifugio Dibona


 
Alta Via 1 - Day 2 - 20km, 1250 metres ascent, 8.4 hours.

Last night's wrestle with the wifi in 'hotspot corner' distracted me from the 'start time' discussion. I wasn't expecting our American friends to go to bed at 8.30! My 7am breakfast plan had been thwarted by the desire for a long sleep. They must still be jetlagged. Not to worry, we were away by 8.15, in lovely weather.

Last night's remote spot was never likely to have phone reception. If it had, I'd have no doubt received a message saying that I had no data network connection despite the good signal. This Samsung phone seems too complicated for its own good and no amount of wrestling with settings seems to solve the problem. 

The wifi at Lavarella was unstable to say the least. I kept receiving messages saying my blog posting had failed, but it was showing up on the website. I tried and failed miserably to respond to AlanR's message of sympathy. Thanks Alan. And thanks for commenting on one of yesterday's pictures, proving that the 'failed to send' message was a glitch. (And perhaps indicating that the network problem is resolved.)

Here there is no wifi, and a vague phone signal but no network available to me unless the problem resolves itself, so readers could have a long wait to hear about our excellent and energetic day on AV1.

We started by rising past Rifugio Fanes in the company of marmots and nutcrackers, to a low col, Passo di Limo. Then it was a lovely walk through meadows to a turning to a notable and memorable notch that gave one of our 2005 team a nickname. A German group of twelve who started at the same time as us yesterday, pointed out the 'path closed' signs. Apparently the steep route the other side of the col had suffered a landslip. So we continued on down to near the road head at Capanna Alpina, then up to the splendid Scotoni refuge, for drinks and excellent apfelstrudel. From there we forsook AV1 in favour of the quieter 18B and 20A route to Forcella Lagazuoi. Lunch was enjoyed with views to Corvara and Sassongher, of which more next week. We could also see numerous people wending their way along the supposedly closed path beyond the notch. Then we encountered many snowfields on the way to the Forcella, where a cold wind and short shower greeted us. We'd met a very friendly and quaintly dressed English couple on the quiet path.   

The rain soon eased and we wended our way along various AV1 paths past a couple of cols and numerous signposts to the Lipella via ferrata. After missing path 404, we took the excellent 412 route through undulating woodland, to reach Rifugio Dibona at beer o'clock - which today was 4.30pm. The rifugio is at a roadhead high above Cortina, and is where in the past I've driven Braemar Simon with his paraglider, as well as descending rapidly from the summit of Lipella on one occasion after many hours of ascent on the via ferrata.

We are sharing the annex with a French group, but at least we have a room for just the six of us, and the food here is very good. As are the views. Today's pictures, if and when they transmit, are from the Campestrin valley and from path 20A on the approach to Forcella Lagazuoi, where many of the other folk walking AV1 are staying tonight.

Lots more flowers today, starring Least Primrose, but not many birds apart from the abovementioned and a flock of Choughs.

Here's a slideshow for the day (57 images)
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Sunday, 6 July 2014

Sunday 6 July 2014 - Summer Holiday - Day 10 - Lago di Braies to Rifugio Lavarella


 
Alta Via 1 - Day 1 - 20km, 1400 metres ascent, 8.5 hours.

Away from the fleshpots of Lago di Braies at 8.45 after a hearty breakfast of unlimited portions, we joined the crocodile heading up to Rifugio Biella. By the time we got there three hours later, we'd lost the blue sky and had our waterproofs on and off. The wonderful reflections in Lago di Braies were long gone.

Lots of flowers as usual kept Sue busy with her camera at the back of the pack.

Lunch was enjoyed shortly after passing Rifugio Sennes, before some more spots of rain from a bulky cloud to our south caused another brief deployment of waterproofs. 

It's a long way down to Rifugio Pederü, along a slippery surface. Drinks at this huge 'hut' at the roadhead went down well and set us up for the stroll up to this lovely rifugio. 

Improving weather ensured this final stage of today's walk was an absolute delight, with lovely light on the high summits of the Fanes across the valley. 

Good company, good food, and an early curfew for the hut's wifi, mean that I have to leave you now after this excellent first day on AV1.

Today's pictures were taken above Lago di Braies, and on the approach to Rifugio Lavarella.

Here's a slideshow for the day (52 images)
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