8th September 2015
Punta Anna/Gianni Aglio – VF 5c
Now to be honest as we dropped into Cortina and got caught up in the town traffic I was thinking that we had made a mistake in leaving the Heidi land of Campitello and Canazei. But its a grower and after spending some time in the town I actually grew to like it. I can uderstand why it is regarded as the cosmipolitan capital of the area and the place the monied like to frequent.
Cortina sits in a spot surrounded by majestic peaks and our campsite gave a good view of virtually all of them. But in particular, Punta Anna, the monolith of rock dominating the skyline. It really is massive and quite daunting. So it was with some trepidation that we got the chairlift (proper one) up to a station just below the starting point.
And then its straight into it. The shear scale of the block of limestone is intimidating, but once you get moving excitement takes over and all is good. Unfortunately, Punta Anna is one of the more popular VF’s. Despite its committing nature there were a number of parties on the ridge. As we were to find out, most didnt make it. The primary reason was that they were so bloody slow. We ended up in a queue and whilst I’m not someone who is normally in a rush, they started to grind everyone down, so it was with relief that finally they moved aside and let us through. To be fair they should have done it a lot earlier.
Punta Anna is all about scale. The views are massive, the ridge is massive and the sky is massive. Its massively brilliant! Although not hard compared to some we had done, it is arduous and long. Very long. We met up with Nicki, no less a real Rocket Scientist. I mean proper cleaver… is in charge of the Gemini project a deep space satelite. Anyway, she couldnt climb very well though? She was stuck on a steep section (on her own no less, which is really ballsy) so Joe dropped a rope down and she spent the second half of the climb with us.
Remember I said it was long. Well the route is full of steps and ladderways and takes a twisting route up to the top plateau where route finding becomes tricky. All of this added up to some anxious moment where we were racing for the last lift down (it would have helped if we had actually known when the last lift down was). However we made it, which is more than can be said for at least three other parties behind us who would have been benighted on the summit. Given the temperature, I don’t rekon this would have been pleasant.
Strangely on our return to the campsite we watched a helicopter hovering over the summit for ages. Could be that some need airlifting off!
And so ended our last VF. And what a day. I realise how the mountains can suck you in after this trip. It was amazing and the shear scale of everything is very humbling. In Arnies immortal words..
“I’ll be back”
Some highlights of the day