This post is part of a longer trip report. You can access the full table of contents here.
Breakfast in the hut was completely chaotic. Makeup artists had taken over most of the dining room, preparing the models for their ‘au naturel’ shots, whilst stylists fidgeted with an extensive clothing rack of outdoor clothing. We quickly made our getaway before their team started the ascent, as did the other guests. Everyone had seen the pace of the models the evening before.
The route started the minute we walked out of the rifugio, up a staircase hanging off a rock wall and then across the longest via ferrata bridge in the Dolomites, the Ponte Cristallo, which tackles what would otherwise have been an awkward overhang.
Having started early, we had time to take the diversion to the summit of Cristallino d’Ampezzo (3008m) before descending a couple of steep sections of rock. The route then traversed the ridge, passing a couple of remnants of an extensive WWI supply network- crumbling battlements and barracks, tunnels and outposts blasted into the rock. It was difficult to believe that any one could have survived in such basic conditions during winter – the soldiers must have been hard as nails.
The path took us down a long scree slope that had been eroded so much that it was now impossible to reach the wires for support.
Reaching the other side of the ridge, the via ferrata sections eased off and the ruins of old barracks grew more impressive. In certain sections it seemed almost as if a whole village had been once perched on the rocky outcrops just above the tree line.
Descending into the trees, we were hit with the fragrant smell of pine trees in the humid air. The rest of the descent went smoothly, save for me sitting on a red ant trail over lunch, which caused much amusement and a lot of pain on my part.
To see what we got up to on the rest of our trip or if you are looking for planning advice, the full table of contents can be accessed here. Alternatively, go to the next article in this collection: Day 6 – Grade 4 Via Ferrata Giovanni Lipella – Tofana de Rozes.