Leonie and I headed off early again, this time to Passo Valparola a bit further on from Passo di Falzarego. We followed the technically easy Kaiserjaegersteig up to Rifugio Lagazuoi where we had a delicious hot chocolate and apple struedel to reward our efforts. Then we headed back down through a tunnel system that was built in the war. The tunnels were long and constructed right inside the mountain itself. Occasionally there were passageways leading to openings to the outside. From there there were views to the surrounding mountains and down to the Cinque Torri.
We left early again for the 5 towers. The plan was to do a multipitch route that we had been eyeing up yesterday. On arriving we weren’t sure whether the last pitch would be too hard for Leonie so we went and checked out a funky tower instead.
I lead the first pitch and then belayed Leonie from the anchor. She bailed after not long and instead continued belaying me from the ground as I went in search of the next anchor. I figured that the two pitches wouldn’t be longer than 60 m together and if they were longer than 30 m I could abseil back down to the first anchor.
It was pretty run out between bolts and I was not at all keen to fall but the route was very easy so it wasn’t a problem. I discovered the next anchor on a large rocky outcrop from the main tower. Leonie decided to try it again and made it up this time.
I set up the safety at the anchor so that we both had enough rope so we could walk around a bit. I then had a quick breakfast and started into the 3rd, errr 2nd pitch. The route headed off to the left and was sparsely bolted. I was again really not keen to fall. I managed it to the top and enjoyed the awesome view.
Leonie lowered me back to the anchor and I lowered her back to the ground before abseiling myself. It turned out the 60 m rope was long enough so that both strands reached the ground.
We celebrated with a cold drink at the nearby refugio before doing another climb and then heading back down to Cortina for some lazing.
Leonie and I got up at 6 am to avoid the crowds and drove up to the Refugio “Cinque Torri”. The weather gods were happy and the sun was shining. We ate breakfast at the car with the awesome rock towers of the 5 towers behind us.
We then headed slowly up to Averau. It’s a peak a bit higher up. There’s a short easy via ferrata at the beginning of the climb followed by an easy walk to the summit.
We headed back down via a Refugio for hot chocolate and cake and then it was time for some sport climbing. We found a bunch of easy routes around the 4 or 5 grade.
The towers are very impressive and the longer routes look very interesting. I eyed up a bolted 3 pitch route. There are also many longer trad routes. These I didn’t eye up.
We woke to sunshine so we packed up and drove into the national park. We went for a walk up a side valley and looped around back to the car. The walk took a number of hours which were filled in mostly by walking but also by standing directly on a curled up snake which went hisssssssssss as I stood on it and then hisss hissss hissss afterwards.
I did a quick climb on a cliff next to the road that we had spotted on the way in. Then it was off to Slovenia. We arrived late at our camp site on the Soča river.
Above: As we set off for our walk in the Dolomites I was very careful to step right in the middle of this curled up snake. It got quite a fright and slithered off and hissed at me from a distance. Poor thing.
Above: It was a nice walk. The colours probably weren’t quite this vivid though to be honest.
Above: I did one climb after our walk before we drove the remaining distance to Slovenia in the evening arriving late at night.
We woke to rain on our tent. We prepared breakfast in the winter room and Leonie worked her magic on the wood fired stove. Soon we had warmth. We collected water from the roof and boiled it on the stove and it was enough to cook breakfast.
We packed and got ready to leave but the rain got heavier so we decided we may as well wash and we warmed more water for it.
Eventually we did leave and we headed down into Trento where the sun began to shine and it was a good summer-feeling temperature. We geeked out for a bit with thick Italian hot chocolate after wandering around being tourists.
We then drove off in search of some climbing. Our map failed us again and the road to the Refugio turned out to be a track. This wasn’t a problem though as our legs aren’t painted on.
After about half an hour walking with a short picnic in the middle we came across a nice little crag. The climbs were maybe 15 metres high at most. Instead of just one face there was a small maze of rocks with routes on them. We also had a nice view down to Trento. We got two climbs in before a storm came in and forced us to hide under an overhanging rock.
We headed back to the car after it cleared and drove North East to the dolomites where we called it a night.
Above left: It rained the next day so we huddled in the winter room boiling cups of tea on the wood fired stove that Leonie cranked up. We boiled enough water to wash outside in the rain and then clean ourselves with a hot flannel. Above middle: We had a poke around Trento once the sun came out. Above right: We found a nice wee crag near Trento with some quite doable climbs. We did a couple of climbs and then spent quite some time hiding under an overhang avoiding torrential rain that turned up. Eventually it cleared and the sun came out again and it was warm as if nothing had happened.
Above left: Leonie does some belaying. Above right: Bad weather on the way.
Above: Hiding under a rock from the rain.