Climbing in Arco 2019

After our dolomites mission we spent a couple of days climbing in Arco. It was like returning to summer. We arrived in the afternoon and camped at “the zoo” which is right next to a huge line of cliffs full of climbing and about a kilometre from Arco. We made a sensible start by going out for pizza in the evening.

The next day we drove into the hills above the lake stopping near where Frauke and I, now almost 10 years ago, went mountain biking. I’ve been in Europe for a long time.

We walked down a busy rode and where it disappeared into a tunnel we followed a small side road. We branched off and went upwards to the start of our climb (named Kain und Abel). It was an interesting, well bolted, multipitch route with great views. This meant enjoyable climbing and low stress. Perfect.

 

View down to Lake Garda (Climbing in Arco)Johannes leading a pitch (Climbing in Arco)

Above left: From our happy multipitch we could see down towards Lake Garda. It’s the bit of blue in the distance. Above right: The climb was well protected and not particularly difficult.

Cris on route (Climbing in Arco)At the top of the climb (Climbing in Arco)

Above left: The climb was interesting. Above right: From the top we were able to walk back down a track to the road.

Kain und Abel Topo (Arco)

The following day we did another multi pitch climb (the via Calliope) which felt much more scary. I lead the first pitch. Someone had removed the bolts at the top so I set up something around a tree. Johannes wasn’t keen on leading the next pitch which was up a scary slippery chimney which wasn’t well protected. I scrambled up it not enjoying it at all.

I lead the next pitch which also wasn’t much better, starting with a traverse that you couldn’t protect. The climb itself was very funky and technically not so hard just not protected to the level I’d had liked and occasionally a bit polished.

I continued leading the following pitch also which was the crux but had nice big holds. Johannes lead the next one but stopped half way due to rope drag and set up an anchor around a tree. One of his placements between bolts was laughably bad. He had placed a friend into a small groove in the rock so that it faced up out of the rock. He didn’t have any other choice though. It was a case of not protecting it at all or putting in a dubious bit of pro. Probably others wouldn’t have been phased by the amount of bolts but I found it a bit sparse.

The pitch was cool but the rock looked unstable and like it might randomly break. It looked like it had been put down in a big pile with random bits sticking out and looking a bit loose.

I lead the last pitch and set up a final anchor around a tree. Julie and Phil arrived not long afterwards and we walked back down to our campsite.

Johannes belaying (Climbing in Arco)Johannes belaying (Climbing in Arco)

Above left: This pitch was scary. I lead up through a chimney with polished sides. The climbing wasn’t particularly difficult but it wasn’t that well protected and I was not keen to go hurtling down towards Johannes. Above right: Someone had chopped the bolts at the top of the first pitch so I had to set up an anchor around a tree near where Phil and Julie are standing.

Julie climbing (Climbing in Arco)Scary placement (Climbing in Arco)

Above left: Julie almost reaching the anchor on the 2nd pitch. Above right: Johannes was forced to make this dubious placement for lack of anything else.

Phil climbing (Climbing in Arco)

Above: Phil leads the last pitch.

Via Calliope Topo (Arco)

Johannes and I drove back to Lindau the following day and left again in the evening for the last time, getting ready for his new life in Norway. I packed for my Croatian holiday.

Dolomiten ohne Grenzen 2019

Johannes wanted to do a trip in the dolomites before leaving for Norway and Philip, Julie, and I were easily convinced.

Day 0 Lindau to Lunelli Hut

We drove from Lindau to the dolomites and up to the Lunelli Hut. It was raining as we arrived and we weren’t sure whether we would have to re-plan the trip a little.

Julie and Philipp ate the wraps that I had brought from my flat while Johannes and I sampled the polenta that was included in the halb-pension.

Day 1 Lunelli Hut to Carducci Hut

We got up early to beat the electrical storm that was expected after lunch. At 6:30 we headed off with bellies full of bread and jam. We arrived at the Berti Hütte after about an hour of ascending. From there we headed more steeply up into the mountains and the first ferrata route began. This was the Via ferrata Aldo Roghel. There were a few harder moves but it was generally quite ok. It lead us steeply up into the typical dolomite shaped mountains. We reached a pass and descended before traversing around through the rocky mountains and doing the second ferrata Cengia Gabriella. We arrived a the Carducci Hut in the evening.

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Via ferrata Roghel: C, section D

Because of its length and demands, this stage is less frequently walked. There are hardly any other via ferratas in the Alps in such a wild environment. The route therefore requires solid Alpine experience and reliable weather conditions. Especially in early summer when there are still some old snow fields around, it is recommended to pack light crampons and an ice axe in your backpack. The crux of this tour is the very steep upper section of the via ferrata Roghel, where strong arms are required. If there are several climbers in the group, there is a risk of falling rocks in this steep draw. Long distances between the anchors require secure climbing and Alpine experience. The via ferrata is reasonably well secured but this could be improved. Because there is no simple short descent the tour must be continued using via ferrata Cengia Gabriella. The only refuge would be the Bivacco Cadore situated between the two via ferratas.

Via ferrata Cengia Gabriella: B,C

The route across Cengia Gabriella leads through the eastern and southern flank of Monte Giralba di Sotto to its west face. As a day tour from Rifugio Lunelli via both via ferratas to Rifugio Carducci, this is a long enterprise with over 1900m altitude. Top fitness and reliable weather conditions are required. On the upside, you will be on a little used route in a fantastic landscape!

Outdoor active has a fairly cautious description of the first day.  https://www.outdooractive.com/en/route/via-ferrata/dolomites/dolomites-without-borders-stage-1-rifugio-lunelli-berti-rifugio/25696456/

Weirdos (Dolomitten ohne Grenzen 2019)About to start (Dolomitten ohne Grenzen 2019)Julie and Phil (Dolomitten ohne Grenzen 2019)Phil strikes a heroic pose (Dolomitten ohne Grenzen 2019)

1) Weirdos ready to head off on a mission!

2) We had a big drive form Lindau to Italy.  It’s possible to drive to the Lunelli Hut and we did that staying the night there. Here we are for our before 7 a.m. alpine start. Julie and Phil are carrying bananas for added safety while Johannes, normally the most cautious, opted to take only his helmet.

3) We walked up the stony path to the Berti Hut in the morning arriving there after about an hour. From here the path  traversed around the mountains slightly before ascending sharply to the base of the rocky cliffs.

4) Phil takes a moment to put on a heroic pose as we get ready to start the first ferrata, Roghel.

Johannes on the first klettersteig (Dolomitten ohne Grenzen 2019)Looking back towards Phil (Dolomitten ohne Grenzen 2019)Taking a break (Dolomitten ohne Grenzen 2019)Posing (Dolomitten ohne Grenzen 2019)

1) The ferrata Roghel is mostly C with a D section. Johannes gets going.

2) Awesome views. Looking back in the direction we came.

3) Johannes and Cris taking a break in the valley above Biv. Cadore.

4) More posing in the sunshine.

Clipped in (Dolomitten ohne Grenzen 2019)On the ferrata (Dolomitten ohne Grenzen 2019)Dinner time (Dolomitten ohne Grenzen 2019)

1) My pack looks fairly large in this photo. I did really try hard to pack light though…

2) We continued around the side of the mountains.

3) We stayed the night at the Carducci Hut. The staff were friendly and the food was good.

Day 2 Carducci Hut to Drei Zinnen Hut

Good weather. We followed a klettersteig “Toni” up to a biv where we stopped for a snack. From there we were at a saddle and had a great view of the Drei Zinnen. We followed a path along below huge cliffs until we reached another saddle. From there we followed an easy klettersteig “Kriegsteig” to the Büllelejochhütte. It was crowded with many tourists so we ate our last wraps on the grass nearby before continuing to the Drei Zinnen Hut.

Phil sets off (Dolomitten ohne Grenzen 2019)Keeping low (Dolomitten ohne Grenzen 2019)Awesome view (Dolomitten ohne Grenzen 2019)Crossing snow (Dolomitten ohne Grenzen 2019)

1) Phil sets off.

2) The route had sections that required some being small.

3) Awesome dolomite views.

4) We came across a slope of snow despite it being late late August. There weren’t many sections like this though.

Cris and dolomites (Dolomitten ohne Grenzen 2019)Johannes and dolomites (Dolomitten ohne Grenzen 2019)Julie and dolomites (Dolomitten ohne Grenzen 2019)Yellow flowers on route (Dolomitten ohne Grenzen 2019)

1) Posing in the mountains again.

2) Johannes poses too.

3) And so does Julie.

4) Yellow flowers beside the track.

Lakes (Dolomitten ohne Grenzen 2019)Sitting at the Drei Zinnen Huette (Dolomitten ohne Grenzen 2019)The Drei Zinnen Huette (Dolomitten ohne Grenzen 2019)View of the Drei Zinnen by night (Dolomitten ohne Grenzen 2019)

1) A lake shortly before the Drei Zinnen Hut.

2) Us sitting outside at the Drei Zinnen Hut.

3) The Drei Zinnen Hut in the evening. It looks pretty nice but the hut itself was quite a tourist trap complete with unfriendly staff. I guess that’s what lots of people cause.

4) The Drei Zinnen in the evening looked particularly impressive.

The Drei Zinnen by night (Dolomitten ohne Grenzen 2019)The Drei Zinnen hut by night (Dolomitten ohne Grenzen 2019)

1) The Drei Zinnen in the evening looked particularly impressive especially with the cloud.

2) The hut again in the evening. Actually not the hut. We booked here but they put us in a small overflow hut nearby.

Day 3 Drei Zinnen Hut to Zsigmondsy Hut

In the morning we headed up behind the hut to do a short klettersteig up onto a rock tower. I really enjoyed it. It was steep with some ladders and cracks that we had to climb up.

We descended and headed back to the Drei Zinnen Hütte. After I had consumed an Apfelstrudel we headed up to the next klettersteig. It started with a tunnel up through the mountain that had been built in the war. We continued up to the summit of Paternkofel where we ate lunch and then along towards the Büllelejochhütte. After another Apple strudel we headed down to the Zsigmondsy Hütte for the evening.

At the top of the Torre di Toblin (Dolomitten ohne Grenzen 2019)Phil looking epic (Dolomitten ohne Grenzen 2019)Johannes climbing (Dolomitten ohne Grenzen 2019)Phil and Julie taking a lunch break (Dolomiten ohne Grenze August 2019)Route 101 (Dolomitten ohne Grenzen 2019)

1) We left the Drei Zinnen Hut in the morning and walked behind to a tower of rock. The Torre di Toblin has a ferrata on it’s Northern side. It’s graded C/D and climbs up a crack in the tower with interesting iron ladders. We’re at the cross at the top which has a good view back to the Drei Zinnen. The descent off to the North East is easier.

2) Phil looking epic.

3) Johannes climbing through the rocky dolomites. The hut in the background is the Drei Zinnen Hut and the spire behind it is the Torre di Toblin that we climbed first after leaving the hut.

4) After the Torre di Toblin we headed up to the summit of Paternkofel. We admired the amazing view from there.

5) The walking tracks are numbered.

Day 4 Zsigmondy Hut to Rotwandwiesen Hut

We headed off from the hut and began with an ascent. Then we had an easy traverse around the side of the mountains. After some time it became more technical and we ascended with steel rope. We reached a point where the path split into two. One part kept ascending into the Sentinellascharte and the other lead to the Anderter Scharte. We descended a bit and followed a narrow path into the scharte. We stopped for lunch and Philipp attempted to throw his back pack down the mountain. Luckily it was harder than he expected and we could recover it. We descended down and then along and down a ridge to the Rotwandwiesen Hütte. I was feeling a bit tired and we lazed in the hut until dinner time. It did its usual trick of raining but luckily it started after we arrived.

The Rifugio Zsigmondy Huette (Dolomitten ohne Grenzen 2019)Leaving the hut (Dolomitten ohne Grenzen 2019)Snow on route (Dolomitten ohne Grenzen 2019)Johannes and snow (Dolomitten ohne Grenzen 2019)

1) We spent the evening at Rifugio Zsigmondy. It was a pretty nice mountain hut and the food was good. I preferred it to the Drei Zinnen Huette, which felt more like mass tourisum.

2) We left the Rifugio Zsigmondy in the morning and sidled around to the other side of the valley and the beginning of our first ferrata, the Alpinisteig Strada degli Alpini.

3) We found a large patch of snow on the route.

4) Johannes and snow.

Johannes walking (Dolomitten ohne Grenzen 2019)Navigating the snow on the track (Dolomitten ohne Grenzen 2019)

1) Johannes striding purposefully.

2) Navigating the snow.

Day 5 Rotwandwiesen Hut to Lunelli Hut

The weather report made us a little uncertain what to do. Rain was predicted as early as midday and we were not keen to get caught in a storm up high. We decided to head up towards the Rotwand and if the weather looked bad at the Anderter Scharte we would bail early and backtrack the klettersteig we did yesterday and head up to the Sentinellascharte. From there we could drop down into the valley to the east and head to the Rifugio Berti.

We headed up into the hills at a speedy pace and by the time we reached the Anderter Scharte the weather was still ok. We decided to go on. The ascent to the Rotwand was fun. It began with an easy climb without rope and then continued with a steel rope. My legs felt good and I enjoyed the climb to the summit.

We didn’t spend long there as it looked like the weather was coming in. Grey clouds were forming and mist started to rise out of the valley. Instead we headed down slightly and began traversing across to the Zandonella Ferrata. The klettersteig was nice. We were descending instead of going up it. We found it reasonably technical. It felt quite alpine. We could see old snow across in the valley and the spiky dolomite peaks looked impressive.

From the bottom of the klettersteig we descended into the valley. I chose to slide down a stony scree slope to a patch of snow and glissade down that. It didn’t work terribly well and Johannes waited further down. We spent a wee while at a small but nice lake before continuing down past the Berti Hut to the Lunelli Hut where we drank hot chocolate and coffee. We then drove to Cortina del Ampezzo to camp for the night.

The following day we did a fun multipitch climb at the Cinque Torre in the hills above Cortina. It was the same two pitch climb that I did with Leonie back in 2017. This time I had friends with me and I placed them along the way.

We had a coffee at the refugio after climbing and then drove to Lake Garda.

Johannes going up (Dolomitten ohne Grenzen 2019)Green beside the track (Dolomitten ohne Grenzen 2019)Us at the top of Croda Rossa di Sesto (Dolomitten ohne Grenzen 2019)Descending to Rifugio Berti (Dolomitten ohne Grenzen 2019)

1) The following day we headed back up into the mountains. Johannes wore his tight pants again to show of his shapely butt. Or something.

2) The track on the way back into the mountains.

3) We ascended the Rotwand Klettersteig ending up at the top of the Croda Rossa di Sesto (2936m).

4) The descent via the ferrata Zandonella was steep and the weather threatened to go bad for a bit. But it ended up holding and we made our way down into the valley stopping at a little lake for a break.

Nice lake (Dolomitten ohne Grenzen 2019)Camping in Cortina (Dolomitten ohne Grenzen 2019)Cris and Johannes (Dolomitten ohne Grenzen 2019)

1) We stopped at this little lake with the nice colours for a bit before continuing down past Rif. A. Berti and back to our cars parked at Rif. Lunelli.

2) We drove to Cortina del Ampezzo and stayed the night at the campsite that I’ve stayed at a few times in the past.

3) We spent a day climbing at the Cinque Torre not far from Cortina.

View from the top of the climb (Dolomitten ohne Grenzen 2019)Phil climbing in the Cinque Torre (Dolomitten ohne Grenzen 2019)View out from the Cinque Torre(Dolomitten ohne Grenzen 2019)

1) We did the same two pitch route that I did with Leonie back in 2017. This time I had cams so could protect the second pitch better.

2) Phillip in nachstieg on the second pitch.

3) View out into the hills from the carpark.

Trail Monte Casto 2017

Leonie and I ran the Trail Monte Casto in Italy today. It was a short ultra-marathon at 46 km / 2200 m. It was pretty tough. For a change we ran together for the entire race. Probably because Leonie wasn’t feeling so good and couldn’t leave me. Muhahaha. My ITB on my left leg gave me problems after 20 km but by the end it was my knees that were pretty sore.

The race was ok but the scenery wasn’t as spectacular as the Transruinaulta marathon in Switzerland last weekend. Still most of it was offroad which was nice.

We both finished in 6 hours 23 minutes and 36 seconds. Not really a blistering pace but I was happy to complete it.

Strava had something to say about all this. Strangely my watch seems to have died at some point and created a long straight line in the course. This certainly wasn’t the case. It was much squigglier than that.

 

 


Above: At the start line.


Above: At the start line.


Above: Feeling a bit tired.

Above: A bit tired.


Above: Posing at the finish after the race.

 


Above: Posing at the finish after the race.

Trail Monte Casto – 6:23:36, 46 km / 2200m Place 155/299 overall, 136/247 category

Leonie placed 19/52 in her category