Dolomites 19/08/2007


Up early and off to Liverpool st and stanstead airport, Arrived at 9.25 and because of very long queues only just made it onto the plane to treviso just before the flight time of 11.25am, but we were delayed till midday. We got to Italy no problem and john picked up a nice silver vafr and after a nice ice cream in the café we set off for rovereta. Were we stopped in a very nice hotel, after solving the mystery of the cars with their headlights on. brian had done a stirling job of navigating with his GPS but not completely with out error. We soon had checked into our three person room and were in the bar sampling the local beer. We then moved out to the pool and drank our beer by the pool while we hypothesized about the local hamster population. I caused a bit of a stir at dinner by having two deserts. We had a final beer then watched telly in the room a bit before going to sleep.
It was a bit warm and noisy during the night due to the dual carriageway and the rather loud thunderstorm. In the morning we had a substantial breakfast, nick more so them most then we drove through the rain to san lorezo were we parked the car next to a coffee shop we frequented. Luckily by the time we set off it had stopped raining. We certainly had a bit of climbing to do. We climbed 2400 metres in total through a lot of mist. At one point the others had to wade through a deep stream but I ran up stream through my pack across and made a big leap to get to the other side. We stopped at an other refugio for coffee, then pushed on the last 600 metres of climbing to the agostini hostel. When me and Nick Got there I had quite a run back down to meet John and Angela. The refugio was very good we had showers here. Vienerschnitzel was on the menu for the evening and after dinner we played Nick's board games and black Mariah. We had to go to bed at 10but sleeping was a tricky matter as Nick's bed creaked so much it kept us all awake.
We awoke early and set of again into the mist after a breakfast of bread and Jam and coffee. We had a good walk going on and met some folks coming the opposite way. We encountered some folks coming the other way and some rope protection and ladders. We also encountered rain. By the time we got to the lunchtime refugio we were very wet and the weather station said the temperature was 4 degrees. We stopped had coffee and cake and an extended rest while we waited for the rain to stop. Eventually we decided to go for it and plunged out into the rain and sleet and snow. The footing was quite slippery as ice was in the process of forming. We had quite a lot to go down some of it with protection. This wasn't made easier with the slippery conditions. Nick and Angela struggled a bit at the toughest protection point but as we lost altitude we suddenly got below the line were ice was forming and got better footing also the ever present mist cleared a bit and allowed us to see a bit further but the path was extremely well marked which was just as well as the ice covered a lot of them. We were pretty wet though by the time we got to the rifugio brentei. It was well supplied though the bunks didn't creak and I could charge the phone, we had dinner and played a number of card games.
The day started quite cold we had a good breakfast but were practically evicted from the refugio whilst Brian was still favving. The day however proved to be an excellent one. A bit cold at first but we warmed up with the climbing. We had some funny snow like rocks to slip on but managed not to. We had a stop at another rifugio for coffee and cake after an hour or so next to what looked like a melted glacier. We pushed on and were at the Rifugio georgio graffa by about 1pm. After dessert we booked into a very large dorm on the top floor. Myself, Brian and Nick went for a walk down and up to another cable car station, we saw and took pictures of the rock hamsters. Unfortunately me and Brian were beaten to the showers by a herd of German mountain bikers. But the showers were good when we got them, I skipped the main meal and had two of the excellent desserts from the bar along with a number of weissbeer. In the night it really chucked down but I had my best nights sleep despite the noise of rain.
Up very early this rifugio required us to be out of the place by 8am. We had a good go but didn't make it, it did however have a very good breakfast with cheese and ham and lots of coffee. The weather was a barmy 10 degrees and I set off in shorts and didn't regret it. We had a small climb up to the top of the cable car run then it was lots and lots of downhill. We saw tiny little deer like animals at one point scurrying across the scree above us, although it was warm there was still a lot of mist that now and again chose to show us our destination lake Tovel. We came across quite a steep descent at one point and had to use wire then a ladder to get down a section, it was also quite slippery due to the rain, and I was the only one who escaped without a dirty bum. Nick however certainly came of worst. We strolled along then to the restaurant by the lake and had lunch or chips and ice cream in my case. We then found out we were trapped due to an overnight avalanche which had closed the road so we couldn't retrieve the car. We went for a walk around the lake before dinner and saw a couple of snakes. Had a very nice dinner in the hotel sampling green gnochi and pork sausages then to bed early for the great escape tomorrow.
Woke at 6am and knocked on Angela and Johns door, we had time for a quick coffee and cake then we were whisked away by the hotel owners in two cars along the avalanche prone road. We got to a road block and there on the other side was a large taxi waiting for us, he took us all the way back to were we had parked the car. When we got to the car we still had a two and a bit hour drive to the airport