Lorenzo & his humble friends

The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool

Tag: dolomites

Drei Zinnen

In 2012 I resolved to hike with friends at least once every summer. It went well for a few years. Then, slowly but surely, the group started to shrink. Last year, Giallu and I were the only survivors.

This year, a lucky combination of two factors that are not entirely unrelated – Arianna’s joining the group and the popular desire to spend time outdoor after three months in a lockdown – revitalised our tradition.

Here we are, eleven of us, when we still thought we were stronger than the rain (spoiler alert: we were not). Giallu, Giacomo, Arianna, Carlo, Delina, Lorenzo, Ludo, Gabo, Anna, Dani. This year’s hike is on the Tre Cime di Lavaredo, die Drei Zinnen.

Fiscalina

We start at Hotel Dolomitenhof (1’465), Val Fiscalina, right next to Sesto. Even with thr clouds, this is a scenic valley. Only now I remember I used to go there as a kid. We do not mind the rain too much. The the trail becomes a little river and we do mind a little bit. At about 2’000 meters of altitude we start shivering. At this point, we mind the rain very much. The Rifugio Locatelli (2’450), our objective for the day, appears and then disappears in the fog. Nerve wracking. It is a good feeling to arrive in our room.

Just like last year, we spend much of the first afternoon napping. Dani overhears another group talking about a “magic room” where clothes and boots dry up quickly. We go on a treasure hunt. We find the room: it does not look that magic, but it is indeed a little warmer than all other spots in the hut.

We have dinner. Very good dinner. A healthy mix of vegetables and meat. Noted down for future hikes. Gloria and Emanuele join us from Brunico, enlarging the Florentine and Milanese sections of the group.

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We wake up on a glorious Sunday morning. Gabo walks triumphantly to the dorm: there is a magic flow of air in the magic room and all our clothes and boots will get dry in no time. It is a warm, powerful flow coming from the kitchen. Ludovica throws her boots right into it. Carlo tells the story of when he did the same as a kid and his boots broke apart shortly after because of the excessive heat. We all laugh.

The group splits. Some of us go for the via ferrata to Monte Paterno (Paternkofel, 2’440), others take the lower trail to Rifugio Plan di Cengia (2’528). It is a bright day, and we move up the rocks following the ‘Cling cling’ of our carabiners. Everything is simple and there isn’t much to say.

I took the photo of a bridge and next to it there are the ruins of an old bridge. When my parents did the same via ferrata in the 70s, they had to use the old bridge, which was pretty much like it is today.

From Rifugio Plan di Cengia we hike together to Rifugio Comici (2’224). There we lose Giacomo (who goes for the Via ferrata degli alpini) and Carlo (who has to be back for dinner). This is where Ludo’s boots break. No one laugh. We all think of Carlo.

We arrive to the car a little earlier than dusk. We head to Trento where we want to have a typical dinner. We reserve a table at La Gnoccata. When I ask for the tortel trentino, they tell me ‘Questa è cucina tipica emiliana, qui di trentino abbiamo solo il cameriere‘. And what a waiter. Wild, compassionate, garrulous. We will be back.

Natale in montagna

The photo with the horses (all the pretty horses) makes me think of a random scene from War and Peace, with the army resting in the aftermath of a gruesome battle.

 

Cavalese, 2019.

Pale di San Martino

Partenza da Neuchatel alle ore 14:30 di sabato 28 settembre. Arrivo a Trento alle 20:03. Ricongiungimento con Giallu alle ore 22:30. Riposo. Colazione a Trento alle ore 7.30. Ore 10.00 arrivo a San Martino. Seconda colazione a San Martino per evitare possibili crisi di fame. Funivia per il Rifugio Rosetta. Tosella a metà strada per ovviare al languorino di tarda mattinata. Inizio camminata alle 12:00, con un ritardo di circa tre ore sulla tabella di marcia.

Dal rifugio (2.581 m) prendiamo il sentiero 709 per la trista cima Fradusta (2.939 m) completamente avvolta nella nebbia. Da lì, calata al Rifugio Pradidali (2.278 m) con moto volvente rilassato. Arrivo alle ore 16:00 e salto in branda nel bivacco storico. (Quello nuovo, tutto in legno e vetri, è sigillato ermeticamente). Cena con Costantino e Sandra. Loro sono lì per festeggiare il compleanno di Costantino, a cui piacciono il karate, il tiro sportivo con la pistola, i bonsai e gli infortuni sportivi. A letto dopo esser stati raggiunti da due alpinisti tedeschi poco in vena di socialità.

Il giorno successivo alba spettacolare con sole riflesso sulle pareti circostanti. Partenza senza fretta e con qualche difficoltà nell’indossare l’imbrago. Via ferrata del Porton (un’ora e mezza con scaletta iniziale da brivido) e poi via ferrata Nico Gusella (un’ora e mezza, principalmente a scendere) con passaggio dalla misteriosa Forcella Stephen (2.650 m). Lunga marcia con graduale discesa ed impietosa risalita verso il Rifugio Rosetta, anticipata da un fugace quanto imprevisto ritorno al Pradidali per recuperare la torcia dimenticata in branda. Allungo finale verso Cima della Rosetta (2.743 m) e discesa a San Martino senza funivia, faccia alla bella valle. Ultimo tratto al trotto, approfittando delle piste da sci non ancora innevate: francamente sconsigliabile e possibilmente da non ripetere.

Marcialonga 2019

After having shared with you the pictures of the Diagonela, I received several private comments from my readers (more than one but less than three). I decided to follow your advice: I wore a different hat for the Marcialonga.

The race was 70 km long. It took me 7 hours and 22 minutes to finish it. I skied for about 30 km together with my father but it seems that all the photographers were at the end of the race. There was some drama involved but this time I am not going to get into the details. All in all, it was a big day and I felt very close to all of those who made it possible in a variety of ways. Babbo, Mamma, Anna, Felix, Alvise, Arianna, Bea, Luisa, Marco, Fra, Jean-Thomas, Johanna, James, Paolo, Johnny, Luca, Eliana. They either gave me the equipment, came to ski with me ahead of the race, or just poked fun at me and gave some motivation. You should all participate to a big race with over 7500 people around at least once in your lifetime.

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Cross country skiing

I have promised my father I will complete two traditional cross country skiing competitions with him: the Diagonela and the Marcialonga. The Diagonela takes place on January 19 with starts and finish in Zuoz, Engadina Valley, Switzerland. It is 65-kilometre long. The Marcialonga takes place on January 27 with start in Moena and finish in Cavalese, Dolomites of Trentino, Italy. It is 70-kilometre long.

I have never done classic cross country skiing before. My previous experience with cross country skiing is limited to skating, with one participation to the regional championship of junior students when I was 17. On that occasion, I inadvertently took a huge shortcut of about one third of the race and yet ended up only 8th out of 16 participants.

 

Training:

November 7: Trento-Lavis, 10 km roller skis
December 5: Martignano-Montevaccino, 10 km, roller skis
December 23: Lavazé, 18 km, skis
December 25: Passo Coe, 10 km, skis
December 28: Viote, 27 km, skis
December 29: Lavazé, 24 km, skis
January 12: La Tourne, 22 km, skating skis
January 13: La Sagne, 15 km, skating skis
January 15: La Vue des Alps, 20 km, skating skis
January 19: La Diagonela, 65 km, skis
January 20: Morteratsch, 6 km, skis
January 23: Moonlight Classic, Alpe di Siusi, 15 km, skis
January 25: Predazzo – Lago di Tesero, 12 km, skis
January 26: Marcialonga, 70 km, skis
February 2: Petit Martel, 15 km, skating skis
February 5: Les Rochats, 17 km, skating skis
March 9: Andermatt, 10 km, skating skis

Se non ci sarà, lo troveremo

A tradition is a tradition. This month of July, for the fourth year in a row (see our previous outdoor experiences here, here, and here) I/we went hiking up on the Dolomites with some of the people I truly care about. Well, one of them at least, and a friend of him – and you know the adagio, the friend of my friend is my friend, etc. So there we were: Giallu, Niccolò, and I. A far smaller group than we initially anticipated, but a very solid one indeed.

Now, a little bit of background. The Dolomites are unique mountains that are located only one hour away from the place where I was born. They are famous for their cantankerous shapes and romantic colours, surely a legacy of the time when they used to be a great coral reef underneath the water. In the nineteenth century they were called the Pale Mountains: they lost this name after World War One, which was fought on these sacred heights. This year we hiked precisely on the Italo-Austrian line of fire next to the majestic Marmolada.

It was by far our hardest hike since 2013. Giallu is a veteran now, as this is his third stroll with me; Nico is a newcomer, but his stunning preparation helped pulling the group through a fairly insane itinerary. The first day we climbed up about 700 meters of altitude to get from Passo San Pellegrino (1918 m) to Passo delle Cirelle (2683), and down to Rifugio Falier (2080) where we slept. The next day it was all up and down: up from Rifugio Falier to Cima Ombretta (3011), down to Rifugio Contrin (2016), up to Passo san Niccolò (2338), down to Malga Ciampie (1830), up to Rifugio Passo Selle (2530), where we slept. So the second day we did more than 2000 m of ascent, about twice as much as it is usually recommended. This is one of the reasons why on the third day we only walked down, from Rifugio Selle to Passo San Pellegrino, and back home. The other reason is that we had to save energies because later in the same day we were going to cycle for more than 100 km by bike in what will go down as one of the craziest ride I have ever done. But this is a story for my next post.

You might wonder why I write down every single thing we did. It is not necessarily something I do for you, my dear reader. Rather the contrary: this blog is also my diary – sort of – and it will come handy in the years to come. A bit like this year – it was fun for me to go and look back at the posts I put online for our previous hikes.

But now – onto business! I have two distinct galleries pf photos. The first gallery is made of the pictures taken by Niccolò: this is the reason why he barely appears in it and I appear in way too many.

The second gallery is made of the pictures I have taken myself. It is funny, looking at the two galleries, how it almost looks like they document two different hikes. It just takes another camera and another photographer to have a completely different perspective on the very same experience.

 

A glorious week

So a couple of weeks ago I went skiing on the Dolomites with Giallu, Martin, and Thomas; and then, right afterwards, we traveled down to Rome to watch the disastrous rugby match between Italy and France.

Skiing was absolutely perfect and, as I wrote elsewhere, May the god of the skiers be eternally blessed for these glorious days up in the mountains where I used to come as a kid with my parents and I am now sharing with some of the finest friends I have met along the way. The trip to Rome was pretty messy, although it was good to be in eternal city and meet Sara, Paolo, Andrea and help Pierre moving back to Rome. At the end of the day I will remember this hectic March week with enormous gratitude for the weather, the mountains, the sport and, most importantly, for my humble friends whom I have met in very different occasions and yet they all fit together so grandly.

Because we are all very narcissistic and occasionally lazy, we took a lot of pictures and even a couple of videos (one and two) when we were on the mountains. But then in Rome it was rainy and crappy and we only took a few shots. I am putting everything online now to satisfy both my ego and my mother: the latter has been asking for some documentary evidence for the last few days, the former will gladly provide it now.

Bivacco Rigatti

This one time on the Dolomites, Manuel, Gianluca, seven strangers and I slept in a little bivouac, 2700 m high on the level of the sea.

bivacco rigatti

It is a very interesting human experience to be so close to people you know nothing about. I cannot help but thinking to a Tuareg adagio that goes more or less like this: don’t go to the well without drinking and have your mehari to drink with you. Don’t go to the well without a bucket. Don’t meet a fellow traveller at the well without asking him something about the journey.

Molto

Welcome to Mount Scannon, 2800 meters on the level of the sea. Local time is 7AM and the temperature outside is 9°. On your right you can see Catinaccio, on your left Lake Carezza. We wish you a very good day.

Vediamo, tanto per cominciare qui siamo sul Latemar.

Ao, Giulia, vié qui che papà ha detto qualcosa di molto.

Sette sconosciuti, due cani e un’imprecazione nel cuore della notte. Gianluca, Manuel and I went back to the Dolomites one year later the magic night on Colle Margherita to honour the times gone by. Mindo, Fabio and Ghennet could not be with us.

In the morning it was pretty much like this. Rocks, mountains and clouds beneath us, sunrise and cold. Except for the cold, it was rather inspiring. Paraphrasing a not so-well known French author from the past I was able to write what follows the pictures.

Leaving the little shelter were we slept we were surrounded by the splendor of the virginal morning up in the Dolomites. We could stretch our arms in the cold pure air. Out on the rocks, we straddled our boots and packed our bags, getting drunk on light and space. We climbed up the top of the mountain and there we stood still, intoxicated by the beauty of just being able to breathe, just being alive .

Hiking and no internet

These days I will travelling a lot, so I probably won’t have time to update the blog. Here are the pictures from the last three days of hard hiking on the Dolomites.