Via Ferrata in the Dolomites.
I got off the plane in Venice clad in boots, soft shell and walking trousers incongruous in the heat and amongst the many smartly dressed. Driving north to the Dolomites the scenery just got better!
Took a cable car up from Campitello to the Col de Rodella. I stopped to put on helmet, harness and Via Ferrata self belay set – must have looked good as a Marmot kept whistling at me from behind a rock.
The guide book describes the route as ‘rather smooth with some moves relying on frictioning. So I climbed slowly upwards muttering ‘trust your boots’ (amongst other things) under my breath. I clambered over the top landing at the feet of a rather large bemused looking German man who declared ‘photograph’ took one then wandered back to the refugio.
After that the days just got better! Pic da Lech with ladders that felt beyond vertical. Sandro Pertini a hot, high wall with 500 metres of cable. Ivana Dibona (with the bridge that featured in the ‘Cliffhanger ‘ movie) and Marino Bianchi which begins, conveniently from the terrace of a Refugio providing free entertainment for the people enjoying lunch.
Finally a superb ridge, Val de Trincee above Arabba that had everything. Smooth slabs, towering pillars a vertiginous bridge and finally tunnels. Then a long trek down for a much needed cool beer.
Over a good dinner with free flowing wine, I tongue in cheek suggested the Aonach Eagach ridge in Glencoe could be improved by adding a Via Ferrata cable – thought one older gentleman was going to choke to death at the mere thought.
It was a superb week enjoyed as usual by not acting my age but my shoe size.