Sue and Martin in Mallorca 2019

Sue and Martin in Mallorca 2019
On the Archduke's Path in Mallorca

Saturday 13 February 2021

Summer in the Alps - 2005 - Monday 22 August - Faloria to Zuel

Monday 22 August - Faloria to Zuel (by Sue)
(Another Wet Day)

Today the weather was due to improve during the afternoon, so were in no hurry to move too early. The plan was to go with Ken and Hel to Rifugio Faloria by cablecar and walk down. We left the campsite on foot, bound for Cortina, where we were on a mission to buy some ciprofloxacin tablets to treat Martin's urinary tract infection. This was successful but expensive (€41 for 18 x 500 mg tabs) but avoided a doctor's visit, as the pharmacist could sell them with no prescription. 

It stopped raining just before we got the cablecar at 11:30. We were the only occupants! At the top, through a break in the cloud we could see Cortina below. The large restaurant in the rifugio only had one other table occupied. Cappuccinos preceded a nice lunch - lasagne for me, eggs, speck and rosti for Martin, and a shared 'Tyrol special' for Ken and Helen (porcini, polenta, cheese and meat). 

The view came and went and more rain started, so we delayed leaving by writing postcards. Eventually at 1:45 we headed out, uphill at first, keen to warm up a bit. Beyond the telecom towers, the descent started, and it was steep. This did warm us up but made Helen's legs wobble so much that she had to sit down in the middle of the path (pictured above). After chocolate and water, we continued the descent. A mistake at a junction cost us a few minutes and some more ascent, but once back on track it wasn't long before we came out just above Zuel. The rain was still coming down. 

Due to the weather, all eight of us (Julia having left by now) went to Cortina for dinner - pizza and salad. After dinner, and Ian regaling tales of being served live octopus in Japan, we listened to a Tyrolean band on the high street, until the drizzle started yet again and it was decided that it was Megan and Lexi's bedtime.

Descending to Zuel

Our route - 7 km with just 50 metres ascent (not to mention 800 metres descent)

Friday 12 February 2021

Summer in the Alps - 2005 - Sunday 21 August - Via Ferrata Giovanni Barbara

Sunday 21 August - Via Ferrata Giovanni Barbara (by Martin) 

A painful night for me due to a urinary tract infection (UTI), for which Sue produced some extra Cipro, which helped. 

It was raining so we took Ken and Helen up to the VF Giovanni Barbara beyond Fiames. Ken managed the via ferrata easily (CORT 1), without the need to get his VF kit wet.

Helen and I went behind the waterfall, and then returned to wait for Ken and Sue. There was an English party nearby, guided and fully kitted up, as were a coach load of Czechs seen later, after we had lunched and then continued on to another cascade - "a Sbarco de Fanes" where was a superb waterfall to stand behind. Some wires led up behind the falls on the north side. This is marked as a via ferrata on the map, but not referred to in our guide. It was very wet. We decided to leave it to another visit. 

Back into Cortina for a cappuccino at Rubens cafe, before visiting the Co-op and adjourning to camp for a tent meal prepared in our tent. Still raining.

As yesterday, our cameras didn't trouble the scorer again today. It was wet. So the pictures are from July 2003 - one of the waterfalls that you can walk behind, and one of Carolyn trying to untangle a climbing novice - Dave - from his climbing harness and VF kit.

The route is shown below, 11 km with about 580 metres ascent.

Next Day

Thursday 11 February 2021

Summer in the Alps - 2005 - Saturday 20 August - Innsbruck, Munich and Cortina

Saturday 20 August - Innsbruck, Munich and Cortina (by Sue) 

A wet morning after a wet night. Campsite showers were nice, followed by packing up, and we were on our way to Munich at 9:15, with not much scenery to look at. 

It was not the most successful morning! To shop, a Lidl store in Kufstein seemed ideal; however they had no baskets and our armful of goods was abandoned on finding a long queue and only one cashier. A tank of diesel cost more than it should have done at the BP garage, as 'Ultimate' was used by mistake. 

We found some breakfast of croissants and cappuccinos at about 11 am, then joined a traffic jam all the way to the 'M25' of Munich. It rained intermittently. Rendezvoused with Ken and Helen (our friends from Ottawa) at about 1 pm, successfully. 

Avoided a huge traffic jam by going round the ring road in Munich central, but found several more jams further south. Stopped for a lunch of filled baguettes (an easy alternative to failing to find a shop), and another later on for coffees / tea. 

Due to heavy traffic we arrived back at Camping Dolomiti around 7:45 pm after nearly 400 miles of driving. It was dry, temporarily, for pitching our tents, (next to Ian and Caroline and family) before we headed back into Cortina for a pizza / salad meals at the usual (Porto Rotondo) restaurant, where it was nice to be recognised by the waitress. 

Bed around 10:30; more rain during the evening.

No photos were taken today, so I've inserted one from 2018, taken near Munich airport while we were waiting for Mike and Sarah's flight.

Next Day

Wednesday 10 February 2021

Summer in the Alps - 2005 - Friday 19 August - Innsbruck

Friday 19 August - Innsbruck (by Martin)

Sue and I did a bit of shopping and spent about 3 hours travelling slowly to Innsbruck, via cappuccinos at St Sigmund, near the start of the motorway. 

It was a nice warm day, with good visibility if a bit hazy. We reached a good campsite at Kranebitter, just west of Innsbruck, at 12:45, and by 2:20 we had pitched camp, lunched in the shade, and set off to walk by a high level route to Innsbruck.

We ignored enticing signs for the Magdeburger Hut, high (3 hrs 30 mins) above to the north, and walked up a rising route, with views of Innsbruck and its airport, eventually reaching the fleshpot of Rauschbrunnen - nearly 500 metres above, at 3:50. Here we amused the locals by ordering cokes when everybody else was drinking beer.

The mountains had clouded over, so with rain threatening, and the odd spot dropping, we hastened on along the Knappensteig footpath to Hottinger Bild, before dropping down to Innsbruck's old town via Hotting and a lane with 14 shrines.

Magdeburger Hut was now only 3 hours away - but still an impossible dream

Below the shrine road we found a lane with a bench, just about the town. An apple stop. Rain on the ridge high to the north, sunflowers adorning nearby penthouses, white butterflies fluttering past, red and brown squirrels with white chests dodging us...

Here's our route - 11 km with 650 metres ascent

Then the bustle of tourists and all their traps, a meal of wiener schnitzel and chips, then an easy bus ride (O then LG) back to camp.

Scenes from our strolling in Innsbruck

Next Day

Summer in the Alps - 2005 - Thursday 18 August - A Rest Day in Cortina

Thursday 18 August - A Rest Day in Cortina (by Martin)

A rest day for me (exhausted), and the others limited their activities to a trip to Cortina. 

Later, Ian, Caroline, Julia, Megan and Lexi went to Falzarego and 'enjoyed' a 1½ hour traffic jam returning through Cortina.

Lexi was hung out to dry!

Next Day

Tuesday 9 February 2021

Summer in the Alps - 2005 - Wednesday 17 August - Via Ferrata Ivona Dibona

                   The Via Ferrata starts from Rifugio Lorenzi (2932 metres)
                                       (click on the image for a slideshow)

Wednesday 17 August - Via Ferrata Ivona Dibona (by Martin) 

The day dawned bright and clear for our planned traverse of the Ivona Dibona via ferrata, one of our favourite routes (CORT 6 - grade 2B, our 4th visit). 

After the usual tea, muesli and yoghurt, Sue and I set off with Ian and Caroline at 8:20 in the two cars and dropped ours at 8:40 at L'Ospitale, where the parking spaces had nearly all already been taken. Then in Ian and Caroline's Peugeot 206 we went to the huge car park at Rio Gere, and after toilet stops etc, we got the chair lift and then the bucket lift up to Rifugio Lorenzi at 2932 metres.

The suspension bridge that you can see high above the 'bucket' is the longest in the Dolomites

Ian, an experienced climber, helps the locals 'kit up'

It was delightfully cool as we joined a long queue  to the bottom of the metal steps. After getting to the top of the lift at 10 am, we set off at 10:30. 

For the first two hours we queued at length on this warm sunny day, behind hundreds of Italians and their children. Some of the latter moved quicker than us all day, but the move (stretch) needed to get onto the ladder, and the steep rocks below, caused a major jam.

Free at last to move at my own pace

On the suspension bridge

The path to Cristallino d'Ampezzo (3008 m)

We nipped across to the peak of Cristallino d'Ampezzo (3008 metres) for a break from the queue.

The whole experience would have been miserable in poor weather but it was ok today. We finally reached Forcella Grande after more than two hours, and, largely free from the crowds, we continued quickly on to our lunch spot - on the raised balcony of a bivouac hut at Forcella Padeon. 

We got there by the official route, involving an unlikely left turn steeply down then right, avoiding the unprotected ridge route taken by others. (12:30)

We enjoyed a bit of shade after lunch by way of high cloud. Our route continued on across the relentlessly exposed ledges, sometimes aided, sometimes not, the aid usually being used as a handrail only. 

The sky was now bright but overcast, affording some shade from the burning sun. We came across a lone German from Heidelberg - Joachim, a GP who had done a biochemistry degree at Princetown, and GP training in the Gorbals in Glasgow. He thought there was a route for him to get back to Rio Gere, but it had been closed off. Nice chap. 

We reached Forcella Bassa (2433 m) at 3:30, and continued relentlessly along the ridge. By 5 pm we could see the car at L'Ospitale from the end of the ridge, where we made a slight diversion to visit a high point.

On the steep descent to Forcella Bassa

Beers at L'Ospitale were most welcome. We waited for a while for Joachim (shattered), buying him a beer when he eventually turned up; then we took him back to his car at Rio Gere, after calls to Julia and Megan had fixed rendezvous arrangements. 

So we all got back to camp, showered, etc, and were soon in Cortina at Pizzeria Porto Rotondo for an excellent if relatively expensive meal for the seven of us, a fitting climax to an excellent mountain day. Outside, the climbing wall still operated for young children, and an Italian singer droned on.

A couple of Viewranger screen dumps show our route - 
9 km with just 200 metres ascent, taking all of 7 hours

Next Day

Monday 8 February 2021

Summer in the Alps - 2005 - Tuesday 16 August - A Sorapiss Circuit

                      Fancy an apartment in Cortina? I wonder what this now looks like?

Tuesday 16 August - A Sorapiss Circuit (by Sue) 

A cool morning and a high cloud covering, but the Co-op forecast was for a dry day. The Co-op provided sustenance, then Sue and I drove to Passo Tre Croci for a walking circuit in the Sorapiss group. 

We set off at 10:40, along path 215, a lovely contouring path, with long views down the valley to the east.

The damp ground between the pines required caution due to the numerous tree roots. It was busy, so some overtaking had to be employed. Interest was created by a few wired rocky sections, and some ascent towards the refuge up metal staircases. Too much for some tourists who were resting by the path. 

Rifugio Vandelli enjoyed a good view, and we were warmed by hot chocolates that had the consistency of mousse and needed a spoon to eat them! (12:00 to 12:25.)

The view from Rif Vandelli

We didn't linger, as our onward route might take some time. A little further on a small lake, Lago di Sorapiss, enticed a lot of people onto its shores. It was an ice blue colour. 

Once past here we lost the crowds, except for two East Germans descending the scree that we were climbing.

At the top of the scree, a small patch of grass enclosed by rocks made a fine picnic spot (1:25 to 2:00) but it was cold enough (10°C) to wear a pertex and gloves.

From there the path entered a bowl of limestone, quite barren (path 215/242/AV3), then more scree. 

At a path junction (2:40) we turned right along path 215, preparing to scramble up a long ramp, protected by wires in places. There were a few stemples too. 

We climbed with burning calves and sore knees to a col (3:40 to 3:50) from which it was only a few steps to a summit at 2738 metres. (Sella di Punta Nera)

Dwarf Rampion

Views were stunning. The 3000 metre tops had their heads in cloud, but elsewhere it was clear - to the rest of the Sorapiss group and out to Tofana, Marmolada and beyond, as well as down to Cortina and the top of the Faloria cablecar. Only a chough for company.

Looking back to Lago di Sorapiss

Spot the Faloria cablecar

The view to Tofane

Path 215 contoured, descending slowly through a huge scree field, with several rock bands where hands were needed, bringing us out at Forcella Faloria at 2309 metres (4:50) with wooded prospects below. Here we saw about ten chamois far below us. 

An apple and cheese break got us on our way along path 213, which undulated through grassy limestone scenery, before starting to drop through the pines.

The jeep track turned out to be a pleasant green one, and we strolled back to the car for 6:20. This had been a spectacular walk, for its varied scenery, stunning views, hot chocolates, and strenuous nature!

Note the splendid new green bowl!

Back at Camping Dolomiti the others had only returned 15 minutes earlier. We brewed, made dinner and showered afterwards. Our trial of spinach gnochetti was fairly successful despite Martin's description - 'otter's poo'.

Sunset on Sorapiss

Here are three versions of our route, 16 km with 1100 metres ascent:
Above: a photo of the 1:25000 map - follow the green highlighter clockwise
Below: two versions of screendumps from Outdooractive (Viewranger's new home)
As always, click on the image for a better version

Next Day