Brenta Dolomites hiking, stories, history & adventure thread

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Messages 1 - 55 of total 55 in this topic
Fritz

Trad climber
Choss Creek, ID
Topic Author's Original Post - Sep 8, 2014 - 12:59pm PT
We are off to our first Brenta Dolomite adventure, with a group of friends. Some are climbers, and some are not.

I will try to post interesting photos and stories, but there are likely few posts for the next 6 days of hut-to-hut and adventure fun.

An easy Arco Via Feratta today.


Fritz

Trad climber
Choss Creek, ID
Topic Author's Reply - Sep 8, 2014 - 01:36pm PT
Northern Italy is the most fashionable place I've ever been.




I bought some new socks & a coin purse in Arco, in hopes of being fashionable.


donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Sep 8, 2014 - 01:37pm PT
Wild boar accompanied by a nice Chianti would seem to be in order.
Fritz

Trad climber
Choss Creek, ID
Topic Author's Reply - Sep 8, 2014 - 01:44pm PT
Donini! Best I could find was a yummy Milanese cutlet tonight-----and a little red wine to ease the pain.
donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Sep 8, 2014 - 01:46pm PT
Carry on private! And do report back on a regular basis.
Brokedownclimber

Trad climber
Douglas, WY
Sep 8, 2014 - 09:29pm PT
Ah, yes. Keep on eating and drinking...along with reporting!
Fritz

Trad climber
Choss Creek, ID
Topic Author's Reply - Sep 8, 2014 - 10:07pm PT
Some more shots from yesterday's adventure.

Here's the cliff the easy Via Ferrata is on.

Even though we were in the shade, it was hot and very humid, so we soon were all sweating like sows.

The dolomite was polished by the passage of thousands of feet, and was often slippery as a buttered cat's ass.



The view of Arco Castle abd the valley from the top was great.
crankster

Trad climber
Sep 8, 2014 - 10:08pm PT
Awesome. Keep 'em coming.
Wayno

Big Wall climber
Seattle, WA
Sep 8, 2014 - 11:28pm PT
Fritz, you are in the land of Bordeaux blends, some really good sparkling wines and the spicy red called Teroldego that you would probably like. Another good wine is Marzemino. Medium body and lively. Sluurp it up.

Oh yeah, get in some of that climbing stuff too.
skcreidc

Social climber
SD, CA
Sep 9, 2014 - 05:58am PT
More Dolomites! What's not to like? Thanks for posting it up.
phylp

Trad climber
Millbrae, CA
Sep 9, 2014 - 08:00am PT
Keep 'em coming. I LOVE the Brenta Dolomites.

slippery as a buttered cat's ass

Eww! I'm trying to picture how you know that feeling, and it's not pretty, Fritz. I feel like I should be calling animal protective services.
Brokedownclimber

Trad climber
Douglas, WY
Sep 9, 2014 - 08:05am PT
Wayno-

I'm going to see if the local Vinotheque (here in Wolkenstein) has some of your suggested beverages!
donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Sep 9, 2014 - 08:55am PT
Via Ferrata.....WW1 certainly wasn't "the war to end all wars," but it did have a silver lining.
Brokedownclimber

Trad climber
Douglas, WY
Sep 14, 2014 - 12:07pm PT
We need an update; are you back from your 5 day hut-to-hut?
Fritz

Trad climber
Choss Creek, ID
Topic Author's Reply - Sep 15, 2014 - 01:16am PT
Back from the Brenta's to Arco late yesterday. Posting was delayed by the mandatory "Here's to cheating death" party.

The mountains were magnificant!



Beautiful and well-appointed huts, great food, challenging hiking & Via ferratas, & even some climbing.


Much more to follow.
Jan

Mountain climber
Colorado, Nepal & Okinawa
Sep 15, 2014 - 03:34am PT
How is it you guys have sunshine and brokedown has nothing but rain?
donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Sep 15, 2014 - 11:20am PT
Yeah...no fair! I've been there twice, rain both times.
Marlow

Sport climber
OSLO
Sep 15, 2014 - 11:23am PT
Thanks for sharing.
Fritz

Trad climber
Choss Creek, ID
Topic Author's Reply - Sep 15, 2014 - 11:01pm PT
We did have "good-weather luck!"----but in the wettest summer in the Brenta Dolomites in 80 years, we still needed to suffer some rain.
Our first day, a big thunderstorm rolled in at about 3:00 P.M.

After that, we had rain every day by 3:00 PM, except for the 1:30 PM hail/lightning/rain storm on day 3, that deposited 4 of hail in some spots. Our last 2 days were dry and sunny.

The food & wine at the huts were great.


The Via Ferratas were interesting and in some places somewhat dangerous.


Brokedownclimber

Trad climber
Douglas, WY
Sep 16, 2014 - 08:15am PT
Good work, guys! Glad you had some fun in the Brenta. This last trip of mine was plagued by rain and thunderstorms, as well as colder that desired conditions. You lucked out, but also had different objectives than I.

In any case, I'm already planning for next year.
Fritz

Trad climber
Choss Creek, ID
Topic Author's Reply - Sep 16, 2014 - 11:02pm PT
For those curious about routes and huts, I will post a map and specific hut information next week. It appears that tent-camping is not allowed in the higher Brenta Dolomites, but we did see some folks cooking outside to lower their meal cost. Bed & meals in the huts runs around 43 -49 EUros per day for non-members.

Here's a Wiki link to their page on the Brenta Dolomites. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brenta_group



The climber's memorials were somewhat sobering. There were a lot of memorial plaques for brave young men.


Brokedownclimber

Trad climber
Douglas, WY
Sep 17, 2014 - 06:11am PT
Fritz-

Re: Memorial plaques; they are actually everywhere in the Dolomites. These are big and unforgiving mountains.


Almost every access trail has something like this.
Wayno

Big Wall climber
Seattle, WA
Sep 20, 2014 - 12:00am PT
What did you think of the Teroldego, Fritz?

I have been enjoying this trip vicariously from my computer screen while drinking swill and yelling at the "old lady".

"Honey, could you get me a beer?"

"and while you're at it, could you make me a sammich or something?"
Fritz

Trad climber
Choss Creek, ID
Topic Author's Reply - Sep 20, 2014 - 06:33am PT
Wayno! Re your question:
What did you think of the Teroldego, Fritz?


We only had it at Tucket Hut. I recall that it was smooth and fruity after breathing for a while, but quite tart when first opened. However, we were drinking to ease the pyschic pain of doing a somewhat airy & unprotected Via-Ferrata that morning, then being caught in a hail, lightning, rainstorm on our way to Tucket. We were toasting "cheating death" that----and every evening.

We did, on your recommend, drink more Marzeminos, whcih we all liked, and we also found the local Valpolicella & Bardolinos wonderful too. So many different varitals to sample, and we only found one not to our liking & I don't remember much about it. The below wine was wonderful.

The salad hit was green salad with tomatos & Buffalo cheese. Insalata Caprese di bufala.

Brokedownclimber

Trad climber
Douglas, WY
Sep 20, 2014 - 08:32am PT
Wayno-

I too, tried a Marzamino, and found it delightfully refreshing. I love the price per bottle in Italy: ~ 6 Eu for a bottle of excellent wine.
klk

Trad climber
cali
Sep 20, 2014 - 09:22am PT
awesome-- just talking about brenta the other night with a friend from there.

i've only had a couple days, because i'm usually in the "real" dolos. would love to have an extended trip.
skcreidc

Social climber
SD, CA
Sep 20, 2014 - 09:42am PT
Never been in the Brenta's. A great thread.

Here's to more reflective moments,


and to happier moments in the Dolomites.


Thanks for posting up!

Chris
Ezra Ellis

Trad climber
North wet, and Da souf
Sep 21, 2014 - 05:32pm PT
An amazing trip, thanks for taking us along!!!!!
Spider Savage

Mountain climber
The shaggy fringe of Los Angeles
Sep 22, 2014 - 06:32pm PT
Great fun and good times. We should all get together there some time.

SC seagoat

Trad climber
Santa Cruz, or In What Time Zone Am I?
Sep 22, 2014 - 06:36pm PT
What a wonderful trip to follow.! I certainly am enjoying!

Susan
Fritz

Trad climber
Choss Creek, ID
Topic Author's Reply - Sep 22, 2014 - 07:12pm PT
For the detail-oriented folks, I post some map photos and a hut by hut photo report.

I suspect adventurous folks can enjoy the area without a local guide, but life was so much easier with our mellow, fun, and knowledgeable local guide Mauro.

It also would have been nice to speak & read Italian, but English is the language that most all Europeans also learn to speak.

We were surprised to see two German climbers indignant that some hut employees didn't speak German.

"German Dudes! Remember that you lost the war for Northern Italy in WW I ------- and also WWII."

Here's a close-up of the area. North is up in the photo.

The three huts we stayed in are marked with yellow blotches, the first at the very top of the map. Our hiking route is in blue, and the main Via Ferrata route in the range is in yellow. Trails are marked with red dashes, and most Via Ferratas with red dots. Click on the photo for better details.

This photo shows a larger area. The large ski resort of Madonna di Campiglio, where we started, is marked with a blue ruler, and our trip ended at the large lake Lago di Molveno.

On the first day of our trip we hiked ski slopes to the west of Madonna di Campiglio for a view of the west side of the Brenta Dolomites.

Heidi and I found a play area, while others in our group found a lift-top snack area.

Then we followed a forest trail to a pleasant hut on a small lake for a late lunch. Our lunch hut stop was scenic and the food was great.

We did find the best Amanita muscaria I've seen in 42 years along the way. We resisted testing it.

By the time we made it back to the "ski-village" part of Madonna di Camoglio, a big thunderstorm had settled into the valley. We could not ride the gondola that provided accesss to our first hut: Rif S. Graffer al Groste. However the shopping was fabulous!

After sitting around (and drinking) for a few early evening hours, the hut manager, our hero Robbie, drove down the mountain in his Land Rover, and we had an exciting, bumpy, & wet trip up to the hut.

The hut was large, newish, well-kept, and our climber host Robbie took great care of us. We all tried to ignore that we were inside a major ski area.

survival

Big Wall climber
Terrapin Station
Sep 22, 2014 - 07:23pm PT
Go Fritz, you bad dog!!!
Fritz

Trad climber
Choss Creek, ID
Topic Author's Reply - Sep 22, 2014 - 08:25pm PT
Survival! Great to have you on board!
Fritz

Trad climber
Choss Creek, ID
Topic Author's Reply - Sep 23, 2014 - 05:15pm PT
Our 2nd day we did a morning hike out to the SE onto a large tilted area of "Karst" limestone full, of small caves, & large fissures. It was interesting terrain, with intricate routefinding up towards the large peak of Cima Groste.





By late morning we split into two groups. The climbers would do a nearby Via Ferrata, and the hikers would go back to the hut or do more nearby hiking.


We ate sandwiches we had made of leftover breakfast hard rolls, cheese, & ham, on the go.

By the time we got to the start of the Via Ferrata, clouds had obscured the upper part of the route and we retired down to our hut as the afternoon storm rolled in.



We managed to have a fun evening of hooping it up.



phylp

Trad climber
Millbrae, CA
Sep 23, 2014 - 05:38pm PT
More great photos from Fritz! It's my vicarious Italian vacation. I have to go back in 2015...
Reilly

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Sep 23, 2014 - 05:49pm PT
Fritzi, why am I worried I'll be showing up at some of the places you visited
and they'll be saying

"We're out of the good stuff, some guy from Idaho was here."

Hopefully they can re-supply before we get there.
Brokedownclimber

Trad climber
Douglas, WY
Sep 23, 2014 - 06:29pm PT
Reilly-

Not at all likely! The area around Trento is awash in a sea of vineyards. Be sure to try the Bardolino and Marzamino from that locale. I left some for you...I didn't drink it all.
Fritz

Trad climber
Choss Creek, ID
Topic Author's Reply - Sep 23, 2014 - 07:24pm PT
Reilly! Re your concerns:

Fritzi, why am I worried I'll be showing up at some of the places you visited
and they'll be saying

"We're out of the good stuff, some guy from Idaho was here."

Indeed! No worries! Each major hut has a small tramway to bring up fresh gourmet food & fine beers & wines. (The trams also haul down garbage & other waste, but not lazy hikers.)
Fritz

Trad climber
Choss Creek, ID
Topic Author's Reply - Sep 24, 2014 - 05:28pm PT
Day 3 dawned clear, with the valley below full of fog. We hiked up a 1/2 mile to the morning's Via Ferrata named Gustavo Vidi, on Pietra Grande. The route is just north of our rifugio, S. Graffer al Groste.


The Via route was technically & physically easy, but there was a lot of loose rock, and a couple miles of walking ledges above cliffs where we were a stumble from eternity. There was an occasional up or down jaunt through a cliff band.

I did get a great shot of an Edelweiss along the way.


Then we were back to the hut by a different route for lunch.

After lunch, we hiked to Tuckett Hut, where we would spend the night. After a while we were in the clouds, then it started lightly hailing.

After a few minutes, it started hailing much harder with some rain mixed in and we paused to put on rainwear. I braced for the inevitable lightning, but except for one ground strike that hit a half-mile away, we were spared more stress. With no safe-place to hide (I was really pleased that no-one tried to take shelter in a little limestone cave along the trail) all we could do is walk the wet & slippery limestone as quickly as possible.

Then the storm was gone, & we had scenic, but slippery walking to Tuckett Hut.
After we got to the hut, it rained more, but we were secure.


The next morning dawned clear, but not cold.

Day 4 would be a "big" day of March or Die Alpine adventure.
skcreidc

Social climber
SD, CA
Sep 25, 2014 - 05:44am PT
Tucket Hut! Going to have to remember that one. Beautiful area.
Fritz

Trad climber
Choss Creek, ID
Topic Author's Reply - Sep 25, 2014 - 05:10pm PT
Our group split into two parties for the first part of the day. The climbers did a higher Via Ferrata that involved a lot of ledge walking and the non-climbers hiked a lower trail to meet at Rif. Maria e Alberto al Brentei for lunch. Heidi & I took a break from ledge-walking and hiked with the hikers.





After the Via Ferrata group caught us, those that wanted a set-down lunch dined, while the rest of us chewed on hard rolls, cheese, & ham left over from breakfast, filtered some water, and took off to beat an expected storm over a high pass.

From just above the hut we could see our pass. It was a scenic hike to more Via Ferrata, then a snowfield that had been softened by the previous day's hail storm.



From the pass, our hut was close at hand, but I was real-happy to not have it storming.

Later that afternoon it snowed a little, Mauro borrowed some more climbing gear from his hutkeeper friends and he & Kim went out in the biting wind and light snow for a little 5.11 route on a nearby crag.




The day ended well.



Wayno

Big Wall climber
Seattle, WA
Sep 26, 2014 - 01:24am PT
The whole "hut" concept intrigues me. Thanks for letting us sneak along. I can see the Marzemino is a hit. Cavit is a very large producer of many wines but still maintain a level of quality. We sell their Chardonnay as one of our house-pours at Angelo"s. Sluurp.
Gnome Ofthe Diabase

climber
Out Of Bed
Sep 26, 2014 - 02:26am PT
Makes one want to say
in a more classic language

Youth is wasted on the young
The truth is here, that all in all

The meaning of youth is
Still getting it done

Cheers

And

BUMP!!
Fritz

Trad climber
Choss Creek, ID
Topic Author's Reply - Sep 26, 2014 - 05:36pm PT
Thanks all, for your support. I wouldn't keep posting this stuff, if I didn't think "some" folks on ST enjoy this sort of thread.

Day 5 was predicted to be wonderful weather, and at breakfast, Mistress Kim confirmed that those who survived the morning "warm-up" hike could do roped climbing with Mauro & her in the afternoon.

We hiked down a trail that circled a sunken high mountain valley. Perhaps a giant cave had once been there, then collapsed.




The trail on the other-side of the valley that went back up to the hut was much better than the trail down.



Then we got to go climbing at a dolomite cliff close to the hut. First Mauro followed a younger friend up a route that looked impossible, then Kim followed it and proclaimed it hard 5.11 or 5.12.



When Kim lowered off from what she proclaimed a (to her) fun route, you could easily see how overhanging it was.

Time to work on dinner prep with Heidi. More later!


donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Sep 26, 2014 - 05:45pm PT
Mountain hedonists....the lot of you! Your only hope is two consecutive open bivys as penance...sans sleeping bags, of course.
Fritz

Trad climber
Choss Creek, ID
Topic Author's Reply - Sep 26, 2014 - 09:11pm PT
Donini! I copied some photos on the hut walls that showed other Doninis, who were valued Brenta Dolomite climbers.


donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Sep 26, 2014 - 09:25pm PT
My cousin Vinny! Seriously, I was told by my father that Doninis climbed in the Dolomites....quite likely a relative of some sort.
Wayno

Big Wall climber
Seattle, WA
Sep 27, 2014 - 12:13am PT
Fortunato, aka Lucky. I work with a guy by that name. That is funny.

That last set of pics were the best yet, Fritz.

While you are there, be sure to drink at least one bottle of a wine they call Amarone. From the Veneto, It is made from dried grapes(raisins) and can get rare, but there are probably a few affordable representations that I am sure you could wrap your mind and your wallet around. I'm talking about a wine that you could buy here in Seattle at a wine shop for 40-200 samolians.
Fritz

Trad climber
Choss Creek, ID
Topic Author's Reply - Sep 27, 2014 - 11:27am PT
Mauro put a rope up on two short routes, a 5.6 & a 5.7 for us to exercise on. Heidi & I found that our fat-toed & compfy Keen hiking shoes did not work well on Dolomite rock, but we managed to make it up the routes.


After most of us had climbed those routes, Mauro ran the rope up a much longer adjacent 5b that Kim assured us was 5.9. We quickly divided into spectators and climbers.


My old 70's climbing buddy Chris "manned-up" and climbed the route.

Then Heidi stepped up after I refused the invite, however the wiley lass had borrowed Mauro's climbing shoes.

Here she is, in a moment of clarity, likely remembering she hasn't climbed a 5.9 in the last 3 years.

Then she climbed & cleaned the route---no problem. It does appear that 5.b is more like 5.8 than 5.9.


With that out of the way, we retired to the hut to celebrate our last night in the wilderness and of course to toast "cheating death while climbing".



Sunset on the real Dolomites.


Reilly

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Sep 27, 2014 - 11:31am PT
Now I'm bummed. You've worn out the rock and drunk all the wine.
I'm canceling my trip.
grey thunder

Trad climber
Hanover, NH
Sep 29, 2014 - 04:22am PT
Fritz,

We wish you a very special and very Happy Birthday. Its one of these days.

From the Eastern Section of the D.F.C.& F.C.
Fritz

Trad climber
Choss Creek, ID
Topic Author's Reply - Sep 29, 2014 - 10:13am PT
Bruce! Thanks for the BD wish. Rainy here today, so it looks like an inside day with a possible visit to a local hot-spring this afternoon.

One of their many pools is covered for inclement weather days.


So------guess I better finish off this trip-report.

The final morning was pleasant and coolish, & we hiked down about 3,300 scenic vertical-feet and a few miles to Rif. Croz dell'Altissimo, where a rough road & a Land-Rover took us down another 2,000 vertical-feet to the scenic resort town of Molveno.




Here's Heidi's telephoto of the Campanile Basso,which is one of the more popular technical summits in the Brenta Dolomites. It even has its own Wikipedia page. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Campanile_Basso
Kim kept drawing our attention to the 1,000 ft. tall pinnacle, since she had climbed it with guide friends, in a rainstorm, the previous week.

Along our hike at a pleasant hut, Heidi found some chickens to befriend, and I had fun with a curiously calm marmot.


We reached the lake at Molveno, which happens to be named Lago di Moveno, about lunch-time, found a pleasant beach & a sandwich shop, & enjoyed the views while the Land Cruiser returned for the rest of our group.



Charlie D.

Trad climber
Western Slope, Tahoe Sierra
Sep 29, 2014 - 11:15am PT
Winter, summer or in-between the Dolomites are a mountaineers heaven on earth. What a magical place, thanks for the thread....a mandatory visit for all mountain/fun prone folks....

Fritz

Trad climber
Choss Creek, ID
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 14, 2014 - 03:26pm PT
I had friends on the trip share some more photos of interest.

When we got back to Arco, we of course had to have a "here's to cheating death!" dinner celebration combined with a 55th Birthday party for Angie. I think we had fun.



Heidi found a tractor out on the street, but luckily not the keys.

and the trip leaders did a group pose in front of Arco's church.

Then, on the way back to our hotel, Heidi & I found a local dive bar.

The next morning we were booked for a nearby Via Ferata, that Kim hadn't done, and the young guide simply assured us it would be much fun.

It was the most technical Via Ferrata we had done & it also involved canyoneering up a creek in a narrow limestone canyon. No-one escaped with dry-feet-----and it was fun.





There were two cable bridges for variety. The guide seemed somewhat concerned that folks were going to come to grief on the longer one. No-one did.

I kept my feet pretty dry for a long time, but had a rock roll on me on this stretch.

At the top of the canyon, we came out in a vineyard, walked up behind a castle, discovered a small restaurant, & enjoyed wine, until our van arrived to haul us off the mountain. All very civilized, we thought.


The next day we were off to Venice, which I won't bother describing. We liked Verona much better.
Fritz

Trad climber
Choss Creek, ID
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 14, 2014 - 04:40pm PT
Moosedrool. A good question.

I never thought I was about to die, but I easily could have, numerous times.

High points of nearly having an adventure, were:

Our first Via Ferrata in the Brenta Dolomites was not difficult, but was somewhat airy for about 3 hours of walking ledge systems with a bunch of up and down. I also somehow had developed very slight vetigo, from splitting my eyes between the trail and the clouds in the valley below.


We suffered a high altitude hail storm, with only one nearby lightning strike, but there was no options other than moving on at a somewhat faster pace on ball-bearing covered wet limestone.

Other than that, it was a pretty fun "old-fart," mostly under-control, adventure.

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