Sue and Martin in Mallorca 2019

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

Saturday 11 February 2023

Friday 20 July 2007 - Via Ferrata Marino Bianchi and Cima di Mezzo

Friday 20 July 2007 - Via Ferrata Marino Bianchi - Cima di Mezzo

I've just clicked on a random day of 'unprocessed' photos and this is the result.

The pin landed on the last day of a trip to Cortina. I've now 'processed' the pictures and digitised my diary, so I'll try to slot in the pictures in roughly the correct places.

Here's the edited transcript of my diary entry: 

We awoke to a clear blue sky. Sue and I waited as usual for the sun to hit the tent at about 7:45, before brewing and breakfasting with Julia. Gary and Jenny had  been up for some time.

So we were away in the bus (my Renault Espace) soon after 9 o'clock. First to deposit Julia at the Tre Croci pass for her to walk up to the pleasant Rifugio Vandelli in the Sorapiss area. Then we went down to the lift station for chairlift then 'buckets' up to the high refuge on the Cristallo range (Rif Lorenzi).

We enjoyed coffees at the halfway station (Rif Son) before the old bucket lift, and this place also has excellent toilets - another reason for stopping.

We had decided not to do the Ivona Dibona via ferrata as Gary and Jenny didn't want a long day, and Sue and I fancied the shortish grade 2B via ferrata - Marino Bianchi - from Rif Lorenzi. But the route was crammed full of people, so we chose first to do the first section of the Ivona Dibona VF, across the suspension bridge then over to the minor summit - 3008 metre Cristallino d'Ampezzo. This had a few folk on it but it wasn't as crowded as usual. Perhaps we were later than usual. It was very pleasant, with superb if slightly hazier views than of late.

Kitting up before the start of VF Ivano Dibona 

Ascending above Rifugio Lorenzi, across the longest suspension bridge in the Dolomites

Coming back down after visiting Cristallino d'Ampezzo

Sue descends back to Rif Lorenzi and lunch

This excursion took from 11:00 to 12:30, then we lunched in a sheltered spot behind the bucket station. Our last cheese and tomato / processed meat and tomato and rolls of the trip. I'm 'peached out' so declined that delicacy. Sue saved hers till later.

The Marino route was now free, apart from a few descenders, but the guidebook says it takes 3 to 4 hours and we discover the last 'bucket' is at 4:20. It is 1:10.

So we hasten up the route, which turns out to be easy, despite having to negotiate quite a few people coming down.

A ladder on VF Marino Bianchi

After 50 minutes the downhill route leaves us, though we do meet a few people reversing our route. Anyway, we reach the fairly spacious summit (Cima di Mezzo (3154 metres), before our planned 'turnaround' time of 2:30, and take pictures for a German tourist.

The German sets off down, leaving a trail of blood. Gary and Jenny arrive at the top, and we soon follow on behind the German, who Gary overtakes.

It's quite a quick descent, as the descent loop goes over scree rather than down rock.

Descending back to Rif Lorenzi, seen here in the distance

And so we are down by 3:40, in plenty of time to descend slowly by 'bucket' and chairlift to reach the car park where Julia is waiting.

Looking back up to the suspension bridge from the buckets

A last view from the buckets towards Rif Lorenzi

Then a trip to Cortina to get ingredients for a final lovely pasta meal. There was even enough left over for Julia to feast on tomorrow, as she stays at camp on her own until Sunday morning.

After the nice meal we adjourn to Camping Cortina's bar for beers etc before being chucked out at 10pm by the campsite boss. It costs an extra €5 for three of us to drink in the bar, but at least we aren't pestered by the midges - I used my repellent on them for the first time tonight.

Quite tired - I need a rest day.

Cort 6 to Cristallino (3008 metres) - 11:00 to 12:30
Cort 5 to Cima di Mezzo (3154 metres) - 1:10 to 3:40
Total: 3km, 300 metres ascent, 4 hours - all pure Via Ferrata.

Wonderful. When will we be back?


Sir Hugh said...

Interesting, especially as I've never done via ferrata. Do you descend the same way and if not is the descent still protected?

Phreerunner said...

They vary, Conrad. Ivona Dibona is a long linear walk with sections that are aided by cable, whereas Marino Bianchi is a partly there and back route with an easier descent route for part of it. Mostly they are linear routes to summits that have walking options or other Via Ferrata for the descent.