4th September 2015
Eterna Brigata Cadore – VF 4D
When it comes to our little gang there doesnt seem to be any room for compromise. I would think that most people new to Via Ferratta would consider starting on something of a lesser grade and also something that didnt throw you straight into remote high alpine areas.
Well a combination of of being in the right place at the right time and also blind luck gave us the chance to open our account in the high Dolomites with one of the more committing and weather prone VF’s of the area. The guide book advises that this should be done in stable, good weather conditions. So a brief early gap in the rain prompted us to assume the best of things and we found ourselves at the start of a truly brilliant VF.
It begins just above Rifugio Fedaia which is nestled in a col at the head of a lake. A short but steep (it hurt as it was our first proper steep walking) climb up to the main buttress quickly gets you up into the mountains. The light on this day was breath taking. It continued all day with the weather on one side of the ridge being cloudy and the other bright sunlight, making for some amazing light shifts and refractions.
Its a real launch getting onto Eterna Cadore. Straight onto a rising traverse with some slabby sections and definitely a big dose of exposure. It didnt help that melting snow made sections like glass, but it all added to the adventure. There follows a long sloping slab that goes on for ever. Although gruelling, the views make it worthwhile.
But I suppose it is the ridge which makes this climb. Once your past the slab the drops and ridges become spectacular. The further on your go the narrower and steeper it gets to a great finale where you drop down a ladderway into the old war redoubts and caves. These guys were hard core clearly, because the conditions they must have had to endure were frightening.
Down to the right the glacier makes its appearance and then suddenly youre in amoung the funicular/telecabin passengers and everyone is inappropriately dressed! But no-one would have been as smug and self satisfied as we were. What a day.
There is something both exciting and calming about doing a mountain route. So when we got back to the campsite I felt very relaxed. Even the fact that none of the buses appeared forcing me to hitch back to the car with a lovely Florencian couple, could douse this. We had left the car at the Refugio; the price of the cable car was that we returned to Malga Ciapella. But we packed up quickly on my return and said a fond goodbye to a great campsite.
Onwards to Campitello di Fassa where our adventures would continue.
Heres the highlights-