Sue and Martin above Zermatt - 2018

Sue and Martin above Zermatt - 2018

Wednesday, 11 July 2018

'Summer in the Alps' Day 9 - Col Di Lana

Tuesday 10 July

More cloud this morning. Brian and Sue went off to Bolzano and we awaited a rendezvous with Sarah, Liz and Xena, who are staying at Chalet Angelo. I drove us to Pieve and along a narrow road to the Col Di Lana car park.

Initially in woods, in the presence of nutcrackers, we endured a short shower and passed through meadows rich in Vanilla Orchids and Round-headed Orchids. There was also Moonwort, a strange plant brought to our attention by flower man David. It is absent from our main reference book, but David assures us that it's a type of fern that dates back to the dinosaur period.

We slowly wound our way upwards, reaching a path junction in a meadow of Spotted Gentians and Wolfsbane.

Here we split, with Sue and Xena heading up to the main summit of Col di Lana at 2452 metres, and thence along the fractured ridge to the lower north western summit named Cima Sief (2424 metres). In a (successful) bid to relieve Liz of any vertigo worries, she and Sarah and I took a lower route, the Teriol Ladin path, through wonderful flower laden meadows, before taking a right fork and rising briskly to Cima Sief, arriving about a minute before Xena and Sue, who reports as follows:

"After leaving the others, Xena and I climbed to a chapel, the lunch hut we've used previously, and a summit cross. The path, strewn with Saxifrage, led downwards, beneath wooden structures, and into a series of tunnels. Torches were useful to explore a few metres of the once kilometre long tunnels that opened out at vantage points. More wires aided our descent to the crater made by a 45,000 kg Austrian bomb, now a jumble of rocks. A last ascent brought us to the final summit, where the others were waiting."

As the sun was out, despite the fact that we were encircled by grey cloud, we enjoyed lunch here before descending the ridge via a long series of reconstructed trenches. The flowers were spectacular - many Saxifrages, Rhaetian Poppies and Glacier Crowfoot. Stonechats and wheatears fussed as we passed.

Under a greyer sky, light rain fell as we traversed the Teriol Ladin path to the north east of the ridge, past pink Alpenrose and numerous Spotted Gentians. A snow patch yielded some Dwarf Snowbells, Spring Pasque Flower and Alpine Pasque Flowers.

Climbing to a ridge, Liz almost stood on an adder that hurriedly hid from us, leaving a stunned frog to attempt an escape. We then had to ascend to a minor outlying summit on a narrow path. This path wound down the hillside before contouring high above a couple of valleys. A slow worm was encountered.

On one corner was a Cobweb Houseleek in vibrant flower.

Back in the woods, the Teriol Ladin path continued to descend on a well constructed belvedere, where we encountered an English family with two dogs - the only people we met all day - before returning to the car at around 4.45pm.

We had just managed to avoid some heavy rain that lasted for the next few hours.

Back to Chalet Angelo for drinks, then showers at Chalet Roch. It was pouring with rain for our short walk to Gran Fanes for dinner, spent with Jack and Emma from Collett's. 

Today: 12km, 1100 metres ascent.  Sue and Xena did a bit more.

Today's pictures:
Setting off from the car park above Pieve
The view towards Marmalada
Roseroot and Spotted Gentian
Approaching Cima Sief's summit
The view to Setsas

With thanks to Sue for many of the words herein.

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