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.