martedì 24 luglio 2012

Ferrata di Dibona

On Day 2 of my via ferrata experience, I decided to lower my sights a little and attempt a level 2 ferrata, the nevertheless dramatic-sounding Ferrata di Dibona. We took the Dolomitibus from Cortina to Rio Gere, then the ski-lifts carried us up the mountain to Rifugio G. Lorenzo. The first chairlift was hi-tech and high-speed, with a storm cover and padded seats, but the second was more like the mountain equivalent of a Regionale train, so the total trip took a little while (a lot less than it would have taken us to walk, though!). Up at the refuge, it was quite cold and the wind was blowing clouds around the mountain, but luckily not in the direction we were going.
Rifugio G. Lorenzo. On the left you can just see the longest
ferrata bridge in the Dolomites.
The via ferrata starts with some steep climbing, followed by the longest bridge in the Dolomites, which, compared to the scary wire bridge on my first via ferrata, (in St-Christophe-en-Oisans in France) was reassuringly disappointing, being very solid and firmly attached to both sides of the ravine it was crossing. We did the optional climb to the Cresta Bianca, which gave us a great view down to the refuge and the way we had come.

View of the ridge from the Cresta Bianca

The Ferrata di Dibona is essentially a fabulous, exposed ridge walk. It takes the whole day but most of the trail was not difficult at all, and definitely more like hiking than rock-climbing, although there were bits that would have been a bit scary if we hadn't been clipped in to the cable. You can either come down part-way along and take a not-very-pleasant path across some scree and back to the chairlift, or you can carry on all the way to the end of the ridge and down to Ospitale, where there are buses back to Cortina. We chose the second option, which included no less than 1600m of descent but took a very pretty zigzagging path off the mountain. Most other people seemed to be taking the other route down, so we had the path more or less to ourselves and returned to the bottom with aching knees and heads full of the stunning airy views from the ridge.

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