Lundy 2017

We had an excellent weekend on Lundy this year, we were fortunate to have good weather on the island and smooth crossings on the ferry. The excellent weather allowed us to do plenty of climbing, although unfortunately on the first day this was curtailed due to side effects from sea sickness drugs! As we hadn’t done much climbing this year we enjoyed some of the islands easier classic routes which we had missed previously.

Damp conditions on the Flying Buttress

Dave on the Devil’s Slide

Beautiful view from the start of the Devil’s Slide

Becky at the bottom of the Devil’s Slide

Bold climbing on the first pitch of Satan’s Slip

Becky on the first pitch of Albion

Becky leading the second pitch of Albion

Rob abseiling into Landing Craft Bay

Arco multi pitch

Having abandoned the Dolomites due to unexpected snow, we headed to Arco which is just north of Lake Garda. Arco is best known to climbers for sport climbing, however it turns out there is also a huge amount of big multi-pitch naturally protected routes. For the most part these seemed to have fixed protection, either threads or bolts. But it was occasionally necessary to place gear.

For the first few days we climbed routes just north of where we were camping which were 3-4 pitches. These were enjoyable routes, and more importantly they were out of the afternoon sun!

On the last day we headed further up the valley to climb a long multi pitch route called La Bellezza Della Venere. The route climbed 300m in 9 pitches, and was excellent throughout. It was slightly marred by some rude Germans behind us who were getting angry with the party in front of us who were not as fast as they wanted to be.

We enjoyed a relaxed day on the rock, in the sun, with beautiful views up the valley while chatting with the party in front of us at belays. The descent looked improbable from below, and we soon realised why. It was a small patch which had been cut into the cliffside, which enabled us to descent very quickly and we were soon back at the bikes. A short cycle took us into the local village were we enjoyed a beer with the team who were in front of us.

Becky on Argo

Becky leading P1 of Nereidi

Becky on Nereidi

Good climbing on Nereidi

Brilliant views on La Bellezza Della Venere

Busy route

Near the top on La Bellezza Della Venere

Great position on the penultimate pitch

Che Guevara

Due to snow in the Dolomites and a cold forecast for the remaining week, we decided to decamp to Lake Garda where the forecast was 15 degrees warmer and for constant sunshine.

The via ferrata of the region which stood out to us was Ferrata Che Guevara, which climbs an impressively big face and gains 1220m in the process. The total height gain throughout the day was 1380m!

As we didn’t want to move the van from the campsite, we decided to cycle the 15km up the valley to the start of the route, which was a bit harder work than anticipated with 20% hills to climb en route! It was a strange start to a big mountain day, as we had to walk through an industrial estate and then around  huge quarry. The ascent up to the start of the cable in the woods was hard work due to the heat, which turns out was just a sign of things to come.

We almost didn’t start the via ferrata due to a rockfall incident from an inexperienced person above, who had left his girlfriend at the bottom unable to do the first move. After assessing the damage to Becky’s helmet, and her head we decided that we could continue. We quickly caught up with the person who dislodged the rock and informed him that maybe he should shout when rocks are dislodged, and that he might want to go back and help his girlfriend…

We then made good progress up the via ferrata, until the heat started to get to us. Maybe we should have heeded the advice in the guidebook to avoid the heat of the day!! The climbing up the via ferrata was mostly very easy, with steeper ground interspersed with easy walking. Even then, most of the steeper ground was very easy and we were often unclipped for efficiency. While it wasn’t a via ferrata which was interesting and memorable due to the difficulty of the climbing, it was certainly memorable due to the size of the face which we climbed, the length of the route, and the beautiful views up the valley towards the dolomites.

Eventually we made it to the top, a bit behind book time. It was a strange experience leaving the hot, dry and high face and topping out into lush green meadows. After some quick photos at the summit cross we made our way to the refuge planning on having a quick drink before starting the long descent back to the car.

However, upon reaching the refuge we noticed that it was possible to get a taxi down, and after some thought about the morals of getting a taxi down we quickly decided that €20 euros was worth it to save our knees and a very long day. If it was a lift we wouldn’t even have thought twice about it. With this knowledge we enjoyed a few beers in the sun, while looking over towards the Brenta Dolomites.

After a slightly nerve-wracking descent in a 4×4 we were soon back at our bikes, where we enjoyed a very quick descent back down to the campsite in time for pizza from the take-away van.

Cycling to the route

Beautiful cyclepath

Stunning view towards the mountains

Big face!

Enjoyable climbing

Great positions on the huge face

HOT!

Reassuringly long via ferrrata stemple

Hot face high above the valley

Hot and near the top

Nearly at the top

Summit selfie

Great view torwards the main Dolomites

View towards Lake Garda

Becky at the top

Lush medows on the summit plateau

Lush medows on the summit plateau

Cycling home

Delle Mèsules/Possnecker

After a leisurely start we headed over to the Sella pass to do the Delle Mèsules via ferrata, unfortunately we discovered that the pass was closed to cars every Wednesday during the summer when we got to the bottom of the pass. Thankfully it turned out that we could get a bus up to the start of the route, it just meant that we had a defined finish time as it would be a very long walk back if we missed the bus.

The short walk to the start was under the impressive Sella towers. The start of the via ferrata was the most sustained part of the route, with excellent climbing but some fairly long sections of cable which made it feel fairly exposed.

After this first section of steep climbing there was an easier but unprotected section, this included a short chimney, an exposed ladder and then a climb up into a rift. We decided to get a rope out here and quickly moved together up this section. After exiting the confines of the rift, we moved around onto an exposed face. The climbing up this face was amazing with amazing exposure, great scrambling and good rock.

We soon arrived at the end of the first half of via ferrata, so hid from the sun and had some lunch. After lunch we had a very hot slog up to the start of the second half of the route. Approaching the second half of the route it was hard to work out where it went, but it was easy enough to find by following the paint. The second half was much easier, but there was also much less cable.

As we ascended the rock started to change and become much more friable, with some impressive rock features which looked fairly unstable! We were soon at the end of the via ferrata, and the views were impressive. In one direction we had impressive dolomite peaks towering over the lush green valleys, in the other direction we could see plateaus and high peaks which looked almost like a lunar landscape.

We elected to take the quick descent down a steep gully with some old cables, this made for a fairly quick descent down into the large valley below the plateau. The old cables were certainly not in great condition, but they were OK where they needed to be used. After more decent that we were expecting we made it back for the penultimate bus.

The impressive Sella Towers

Amazing view

Amazing start to the via ferrata

Steep climbing

Stunning scenary

Great views

Changing landscape

Amazing rock formations

Leaving the greenary behind

Becky at the end of the via ferrata

Looking back to the end of the via ferrata

Lunar landscape

Group photo

Impressive gully

Walking out without any greenary in sight

Stunning hanging valley

Back in the lush valleys

Walking down