Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Dolomiti de Brenta

This is my fourth time in the Dolomites, rambling to some new places in this amazing range I keep coming back to. It has been 3 years I have not visited it, and it is still there, as always beatiful and as discomposed. The trip started slowly with bad weather forecast that kept us first in Lecco, and than in Arco for a couple of days eating, drinking coffee and shopping. Arco looks very nice, a rock paradise, - view of Garda lake below:

However, it has been a 30-degree heat wave in Northern Italy, with countless mosquitoes around the lakes - i counted 20 bites on my knee... - and than storm and countless...snails! How unpleasant it can be to wake up in a tent with snails crawling over your face, only experience can tell! And after the storm mountains looked rather unappealing:

Anyway, we gathered our motivation and courage together and went up to the Brenta group, a short drive from Arco with a big change in temperatures. We decided to start with Campanille Basso, our first objective. It is a very impressive summit (which looks even better from the Northern side):

We walked all the way to the Pedrotti hut in 3 long hours. Carring only gear and no tent, sleeping bag etc. made this approach seem a strall in comparison to the Maladeta one last week. The approach was snowy, but the views after the storm amazing. Crozzon di Brenta is the tower on the right of the below picture, with an 800m route of the guides....

We started with the Preuss route, soloed (up and down) in 1915 by 25-year-old Preuss (who died shortly after, at 27). We got to it following the Normal route - a little bit of ambience with ice helped us forget the numerous parties and the easy, loose climbing:

The Preuss route is a 5-pitch variation to reach the top of the Campanille Basso on pretty good rock. We gaped at the audace of Preuss in 1915, incredible feat. The summit was pleasant, hot and comfy:

The descent was also very pleasant, a couple of raps and a via ferrata quickly leading to the refuge. Partly due to this descent we decided to do another route on Campanille, hezitaing between a harder Graffer and an easier Fehrmann. Finally when arriving at the base there was already a party of 5 Catalans at the base of Graffer, we thus happily went with the easier option, Fehrmann. Here are the Spaniards at the start, with the impressive wall of the Crozzon behind them:

We went our way and the route proved very good - not overly hard, but it boasted 3 very good 60-meter pitches of sutained 5 climbing placing gear and admiring the views. Cathy following one of the good pitches, just as we came into the sun:

Unfortunately, sun abandoned us an hour after its appearance, and we had to finish the route in complete mist. It is fun climbing in the cloud, especially with the warming thought of the known descent and the close-by refuge. We saw another party of Italians rapping after a try on the Maestro route, and we did not hear anymore from the Spanish - the mystery remains if they managed to do a good job of the route finding on Graffer. Below is Cathy following one of the numerous misty pitches:

We finished the route quickly and made it to the hut in time for dinner - barley soup, shnitzel, and apple cake - gotta love Italian refuges! Today, we went down back to civilization. What next?


TRanki said...

HI J....Why aren't you only climbing Vth degree routes ascended in 1915??? Whre is the TITANIC GIRL? I hoped to read you PIANDO IX routes and releasing old aid clims!!!!

hahah it's a JOKE...my soul needed to give you back that "encouragings" in Maladeta...btw..it seemed a good training for de comfortable approaches in Dolos didn't it?

Keep on rolling in Dolomitas, it'll be THE training for Montserrat or wild Montrebei...

take care!

Anonymous said...

Felicidades a las dos.

Un abrazo para ti y para Kathy


uasunflower said...

TR - it's called the learning curve, I have learnt my (several) lessons by now and my objectives are wayyy downsized (down to my small size), one of the reasons i manage to get to the top more often these days....