6th September 2015
Val di Nicolo
Kaiserjeager – VF 5c
We should have realised this would not be your average day VF’ing when we woke up to ice on the outside of the tent and the car! Poor Joe and Tom had suffered a poor nights sleep as they came prepared for 25 degrees and got minus 5.
The view up the valley from the campsite at Campitello di Fassa showed the peaks covered in snow after a proper wintery night. After a few cups of coffee to get warmed up we set off for the San Nicolo valley. Of course by this time the sun was out and after paying the mandatory few euro’s to park we set of sweating like pigs as we had totally overdressed.
But as we walked up through the perfect Heidi-land ( with goats and bells and little summer meadow chalets) we started to notice the snow lying around. By time we hit the refuge beneath Col Ombert it was decidedly chilly. A brief kit sort and we made our way to the start.
Bearing in mind that we are relative novices at Via Ferrata and any mountain activity for that matter, we realised quickly that this was a slightly more serious venture that we had expected. The quietness as we geared up was testiment to this as each of us went through our own ritual’s getting ready to go. Joe led off on the ice encrusted wires, with snow and ice in abundance underfoot.
It was a case of take care, but commit as we moved quickly (with numb fingers to start with) up the rigging. WHAT A BUZZ! It was amazing, with tricky climbing and the most amazing exposure in the wintery environment. We loved it and it became my favorite adventure of the trip.
Reaching the top was actually a bit sad, because I wanted it to go on, but wandering around the huge cross (Joe you blasphemer!) and making the most of the incredible vistas into the distant ranges and back down the bright green valley was fantastic.
Coming down proved problematic. Its not clear even with the guide how you descend but we discovered its off the back and down away from the main vallet. You need to drop down a vast scree field and not head right too early. The required gap is the second one, not the obvious first one which is actually a gun emplacement.
The walk back was actually quite gruelling and our feet were screaming by time we made the car. Sceaming enough to warrant a dunking in the sub zero water which was refreshing until it started to hurt.
What a day and pizza to finish at a nice little restaurant hidden at the back of the village with rewasonable prices and a smiling atractive waitress. The end of a brilliant day. Rule 4 Tom. Get that pizza eaten.
Here’s some of the highlights of the day on the KaiserJaeger-