This post is part of a longer trip report. You can access the full table of contents here.
We had saved VF Michielli Strobel until last since the start of the climb is still accessible by bus outside of the tourist season, which had come to an end the day before. The route’s proximity to Cortina meant that we had a steady stream of climbers bearing up the slope behind us.
The start of the via ferrata was reached after around an hour’s worth of climbing through pine trees and then scree, to an impressive gulley which seemed to cut this side of the mountain in half.
The route however cut across to the right to provide the first view across the valley back towards Cortina d’Ampezzo. As on previous days, the via ferrata grading was puzzling. This was a fine route but much easier than our first via ferrata onto the Cima de Mesa and yet it was a grade 3.
The protection led up a prominent arête and topped out onto a rock ledge that was reached by crossing a wide gully. A long ladder brought us up along the steepest ground and from then we continued up the summit slopes.
The descent was interesting to say the least. The guidebook had specified it as a ‘delightful’ scree run, but I beg to differ. Countless rainstorms and snow-melt had scraped away any of the larger material and had carved huge runnels down the slope, so big that once inside one, the sides towered above us and were too smooth to climb out of. It was unlike anything I had experienced before and I felt like a marble slipping down on a course that was beyond my control. It was at this point that I managed a spectacular bum slide for a couple of meters in my shorts.
Towards the bottom of the slope, the size of the debris increased again and ended in an ugly rock flute which cut into the surrounding forest for a good couple of hundred meters.
It was only when we picked up the path again through the forest that I felt something wet on the back of leg, and brushing it aside, my hand came up covered in blood. I had managed to scrape a sizeable part of the back of my leg off. It has left a scar with an interesting story behind it.
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.