SportScheck OutdoorTestival 2014 – Via-Ferrata E.Castiglione
Four days at the OutdoorTestival 2014 powered by SportScheck , packed with action sports during the day and “after work” parties at night proved a challenge not only for the body but brains too. But four fun-filled, impressive days worth remembering! We had luck with the weather on the second day and were the first group that was able to complete this Via-Ferrata tour to the other side of the valley.
OutdoorTestival 2014 – Day 2:
Hike / Via-Ferrata Combi tour Rif. al Cacciatore – Via-Ferrata Ettore Castiglione – Rif. XII Apostoli – Malga Movlina
My phone rang at 6 am. But I have been wide awake since 4. Another short night with little sleep. In my head, I have been packing my pack the whole night. Did I forget anything? Water, change of clothes, rain jacket, how was the weather, would I chicken out? Too many questions to answer to have a pleasant sleep. With heavy eye lids, I got myself ready, had my breakfast and marched like a zombie to the OutdoorTestival Basecamp which was 15 minutes away from my hotel.
Our mountain guide came, our names were called out and we were hushed into one of the jeeps that have been waiting impatiently for it’s guests. 8 person were packed like sardines into a Range Rover. I took my place right at the back. Giorgio our driver closed the doors and roared off like a Formal One racist. 3 seconds later, shouts and waving hands at us! STOP!! We forgot our mountain guide, Luca and would have left the Base camp completely without him!! Oh! How could we … we laughed and joked as he hop on the jeep.. and Giorgio stepped on the gas pedal once more.
After a short ride into the Val d’Ambiez it started to get steeper on gravel, unpaved, roads. It got really bumpy. Some of us kept hitting our heads on the roof top. It was one of the times I was happy not to be any taller than 1.70 m. Giorgio seemed to have heared us giggling behind and accelerated the car even more! I looked out of the window. My breakfast was now churning in my stomach. The view was shaken, on the left side – steep walls and sharp stones. One mistake and we would be slipping off into the valley. But Giorgio knew his way. He roared us up the mountain, and it slowly felt more like riding a bull than driving up the mountain road. I tried making a making an Instagram video, which came out a mess. Changed my mind…I was not far from puking.
We finally reached the turning point (for Giorgio) at Rifugio al Cacciatore, 1820 m. From there we started our hours hike to Rifugio Agostini 2410 m. Luca and I jargoned a little about rock climbing areas which made the hike felt suddenly like a 5 min. stroll. We took a small break for an Espresso and a look in the map together. The view was amazing! Luca told us to put on our harness and helmets. And we started off towards the impressive towers. At the foot of Cima Susat, baaaaam! Rock falls! Brenta, Dolomites… I was happy to have my helmet on, and made sure that I moved quickly out from anywhere near a rockfall zone. My past experiences has given me plenty of reasons for avoiding even the tiniest stone.
“Again I thought and appreciated how comfortable it was to sports climb without having to often fear of getting hit by a stone under an overhang. Unless of course, the overhang crumbles on you.” (pun intended)
And so we started on the climb up the ladders! Luca told us to explicitly never to hang our carabiners in one of the ladders, but on the wire instead. ( I thought those metal ladders looked more solid than the wires did) 4 of us lead the group. Luca and 3 others followed, in a three rope team together. The view was great! I had lots of time to look around and take all the panorama in. Quite proud of myself that sports climbing all these years has really taken most of my acrophobia away and now, standing some 300 m off the grounds didn’t make me have any soft knees and feel like crawling on all fours. There was time for pictures, enjoying the sun while it was still there, concentrating on clicking my carabiners on every wired section, enjoying the advantage of having climbing experience, and not feeling too pumped along the way. And someone was singing “I am solo” all the time…
Halfway up, the guide from the other group warned us that we were now coming to a section where rockfalls could happen, thus concentration and careful steps should be made, since there were many people below. We moved quickly and mastered the overhanging section of the Via-Ferrata with bravour and quickly reached the end of this part of the Via-Ferrata. My Sunnto read 2736 m, but Luca corrected me with a 2859 m at the Bocchetta dei Due Denti . Between us stood the summits of Cima Susat 2890m and Cima d’Agola 2888 m which was covered by some clouds. So after each of us had a short photo shoot out, we continued on the Via-Ferrata Ettore Castiglioni with smaller passages of Via-Ferratas crossing steep snow fields and rock plateaus until we reached the Rifugio Garbari al XII Apostoli, 2489 m. A huge cloud seemed to wrap itself around the alpine hut and there was no other better idea than hushing into the rifugio for a warm meal. The impressive cross that was chipped into the mountain lays directly opposite of the Rifugio. It marked a rock chapel that was built in the 50-ties in memory of the 3 Alpinist that lost their lives in the “dei Camosci” snow fields. But time was short and priorities had to be set. I settled for the comfort and took a picture instead.
After a good bowl of Minestrone and a litre of Beer (!) – (I wanted a small mug actually) we made our way down some scree fields, always passing by a few sections that was secured by wired ropes. Nothing to worry about and all well secured for the faint of heart. After 2.5 hours of descend and 1132 m later, we finally reached Malga Molvino and waited for Giorgio, the taxi driver, to come pick us. Jokingly, Luca said, “we have done the safer part of the trip and now… “
It started to drizzle as we got back to our OutdoorTestival Basecamp. We finally made it to the other side of the valley!! This tour marked the highlight of my weekend in the Brenta Dolomites. There was everything that made this tour a special experience. The jeep ride, the alpine experience, magnificent views, Via-Ferratas, scree fields, snow fields, Rifugios with a birds eye view, the chapel and a pleasant and funny mountain guide ( that yodels now and then), good weather … it went just perfect!
The evening was easy chillin at the BBQ Party, as I sat back together with the other Bloggers to watch the finals of the Speed Climbing contest where Dennis and Katharina from the Blogger crew were definately our favourites. Read on for more happenings on the other days of the OutdoorTestival 2014 here.
Some information of the tour:
Via-Ferrata: Ettore Castiglione
Total ascends: 1037 m
Total descends: 1132 m
Starting point: With the taxi (jeep) to Rifugio Cacciatore. The tour ends at Malga Movlino where Giorgio picked us up again with the 4×4 jeep.
Huts / Alpine refuge: Rifugio al Cacciatore 1820 m, Rifugio Agostini 2410 m, Rifugio Garbari al XII Apostoli 2489 m
Difficulty: C / 3 . While climbing a ladder isn’t too difficult, you should bring along endurance, some alpine experience and equipments (Via-Ferrata sets, helmets, harness, solid mountain shoes, crampons – check snow conditions with the rifugios in advance, etc) good footage and be free of height phobia. Steeper passages are secured with wire ropes.
Total Time: 7:54 h (including an hours rest)
Total distance: 12 km
Test-Equipment: Edelrid Via Ferrata Cable Comfort 2.3 sets, Vaude Kabru 90/10 down jacket
Mountain Guide: Luca Beccari
More photos can be found on my Facebook page. Drop me a mail or comment if you’re looking for more.
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