After having realised that traversing the Cuillin might be just a tad over my current state of fitness (see update #1 HERE), I resolutely started training. Day 1 went well, day 2 went well, now I need a couple of weeks rest (and rehab).
Instead of boring progress updates about my training (it’s random, it’s probably inadeguate and whatever), I think it’s better to reminisce about the other silly things I did in my ‘career’ as a mountaineer.
Surely the best in show goes to the ascent of the Jof di Montasio through the Diretta Kugy, the birthday present I got for a dear friend of mine, who kindly asked me never to get him a present ever again after that.
The route is a rather illogical twisty ascent of the 700+m of the North face of the Montasio in the Julian Alps. It develops over 2000 twisty meters, with numerous very exposed traverses, following the route of an old and unsafe via ferrata. Terrain is mostly II-III grade, tackled climbing together. Rock on the Julian Alps is notoriously rotten, subject to earthquakes and rockfall.
The approach is a pleasant 3 hours hike in the woodland from the Grego hut in Val Dogna…
… followed by a 2-hour ascent of Europe’s smallest glacier.
It’s after the glacier that things get complicated, since you have to quite literally jump from its highest fringes over a 1m wide, 30+ m deep crevasse onto the rock face, tackling the crux of the route, a IV+ traverse entirely exposed to the crevasse down below.
After that it’s 2km of traverses on II-III terrain, very exposed and on very slidy, rotten and shacky rock.
It was between the photo above and the photo below that my dear friend made me promise I would never ever get him a birthday present again.
This traverse was just before the Oitzinger pass, a very tiny ledge one has to tackle crouching over a 300m drop. Luckily the thing one crutches under on this pass is a solid roof of rock because precisely while we were hanging on the ledge a big big rock slide decided to fall exactly above us and missed us only because we were under the roof. I suspect that was one of the causes of my friend’s PTSD…
But all’s well that ends well and finally, 4 hours too late (we spent 9 hours on the route) we summited and were greeted by numerous curious and puzzled ibexes and a spectacular sunset…
… which unfortunately meant that we had to quite literally run down the Scala Pipan via ferrata to get to the bottom before it became pitch dark.
More silly stuff in the next update!