Friday, October 3, 2014

Dolomites Trip Part Eleventy: Via Ferrata

I'm doing all this in one post. Way too many pictures coming your way.

The last 3 days of our trip were via ferrata, meaning "iron road" in Italian. Basically, it's an easier version of rock climbing. You wear a harness and clip on to anchored ropes as you travel up or down a mountain. It's hard. It's far harder than I had anticipated. We were in a group of 7, plus 2 guides. Two of our companions were Australian sisters, the other 3 were American men. We had a nice variety of people and I think everyone really enjoyed each others' companionship.

Day 1: Averau. Following a 1.5ish mile steep hike, we climbed. This was supposed to be the "easy" day. It was.... not that easy. And sort of terrifying. We were done by lunch, then hiked to the rifugio and hiked around the nearby WWI bunkers and the phenomenal Cinque Torre for a while.

All decked out.

One of the less steep climbs

Descending: MY LEAST FAVORITE ACTIVITY. Thankfully, there was a nice little ladder.

LUNCH! It was possible to order small portions of 2 or 3 pasta dishes on one plate at this place. You better believe we took advantage. More heavenly gnocchi plus beet filled ravioli. Yum.

This place is unreal.

Day 2: Col de Bos. A ski lift down the mountain and a short car ride took us to our next climb. This was supposed to be a slightly harder day, and it was. We climbed up into a cloud, but then descended, without via ferrata, into a gorgeous valley. The rest of the day was more hiking and some easy via ferrata, ending at our home for the night.
Up and up...

Another shot for perspective of what lay ahead of us. Eeek!
So pretty...

We hiked past this enormous rock wall. Our guide say "yeah, I've climbed that." He was pretty intense.

Super cool rock layers- green, red, yellow. 

LUNCH! My second favorite meal of the trip: an "omelette" which was really a perfectly crispy crepe filled with cheese. This was crazy good.

Day 3: Punta Anna. A short but intense hike took us to our climb. I don't remember a whole lot specifically about this day. It was hard, but doable, and we were able to take it a little more slowly because we were the only group on our path. It was nice. Then, to descend, we slid down a hill covered in scree. For several hundred vertical meters. That's my definition of hell- my shoes were filled with rocks, I fell a lot, and generally hated life. Lame. But then we were DONE!
Going up- Happy!

Going down- scared!

I have no idea what we had for lunch. Sad.

And that concludes our trip. We had a nice dinner together and said our goodbyes to the group and to Italy. From there, it was back to Innsbruck and Vienna, and finally home.

Farewell to a country where the pizzas are so thin and crispy, it's socially acceptable to eat a whole one by yourself. And we did. 

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