Brenta Dolomites - September 3rd-16th 2002

Tuesday 3rd:  Getting there: We left the car at a B&B near Stanstead and got an early flight to Brescia Airport (Verona). Ryanair bus to Verona, train to Trento and bus to Madonna for 4pm. Not having anything arranged it was pure good fortune that we booked into the excellent and very friendly 'Sportivo' hotel.

Wednesday 4th:  The final bus journey had afforded us some tantalising glimpses of the mountains and the next day we headed up the telecabin to the Groste Pass at 2446m (a 20 minute trip!) and set off to find the Benini Via Ferrata.

The plateau area of the Groste Pass

Excellent waymarking allowed us to relax and when incoming cloud/drizzle brought poor visibility we just donned our waterproofs and carried on following the waymarkers.

It was only when we found a big iron cross and the ground falling away steeply in all directions did we realise this path had led us to the top of the Cima del Groste 2898m.

The Tuckett Pass from the Benini vf

Retracing our route we found the junction we'd missed and followed the Benini VF
(mostly in cloud) to reach the Tucket Refuge 2268m much later than we had planned.

The Tuckett Refuge in swirling cloud

This had been a long hard day, with heavy sacks at an average height
of 2400m after a long journey out from Yorkshire...

The Cima Tosa

Thursday 5th:  The next day we both felt very tired just walking along paths 328/318 to the Brentei Refuge, 2120m.

The Brentei Refuge

In fact I was so tired that I was doubtful of the benefits of continuing up another 480mh
(in '45mins') to the Alimonta Refuge as we'd planned, so we stopped at the Brentei Refuge.

At the start of the SOSAT route - the Alimonta Refuge is in the top right corner

Reappraising our plans we realised that we were carrying too much weight for alpine hut to hut walking/via ferrata. We decided to return to the valley for a shower, soft bed, restaurant meal and to lighten our loads!

The SOSAT vf weaves its way improbably up this steep cliff!

Friday 6th:  The new day found us feeling refreshed so we did the excellent SOSAT VF back to the Tuckett refuge.

Big ladders on the SOSAT vf

Still feeling good, we then walked all the way down to Madonna via path 317. An awful lot of descent and undoubtedly a mistake. It was with great relief that we finally reached and booked back into the Sportivo hotel.

At the start of the long walk down to the valley

Saturday 7th:  Having arranged to leave a good deal of our 'excess baggage' at the hotel and feeling much refreshed we took the telecabin to the Groste Pass and then walked path 316 to the Tuckett Refuge in good time.

The tricky sloping limestone pavement on path 328

We continued along path 328/318 to the Brentei Refuge where we stopped for a hot drink and a brief rest.

The chapel at the Bentei Refuge

Then past the Brenta chapel along path 318 over the Brenta Pass (2552m)

The path up to the Brenta Pass

And so to the superbly situated Pedrotti Refuge (2496m)

Pedrotti hut from the Brenta Pass

Being so high the whole area is prone to the 'Brenta mist' (low cloud) swirling in and out without warning.

Pedrotti Refuge with the Brenta Pass beyond

Sunday 8th:  On a very hot sunny day we took the Brentari VF on past the Cima Tosa route with classic views back to the Campilo Basso.

Campilo Basso from the Brentari path

On to the Pointe d'Ideale:

At the Pointe d'Ideale on the Brentari path

(Just around the corner from the photo above)

Then across the top of the Vendretti D'Ambiez (glacier) to the Ideale VF:

Looking up over the Ambiez glacier to the Ambiez Pass

We crossed the top of the Camosci glacier and went down a long
gently descending path to the 12 Apostles Refuge (2410m).

Approaching the Apostles hut down the long path

This is a very nice hut in a delightful position. It has a shower and the people there are very friendly. There is a bolted crag outside the front door with longer routes close by. Climbing equipment can be borrowed from the resident guide too!

Descending the ladders on the epic Castiglioni vf

Monday 9th:  The next day we enjoyed the delights of the Castiglioni VF and then descended to just short of the Agostini Refuge, cutting across to and up the D'Ambiez glacier to where we had travelled the previous day. We did the Ideale VF again to reach the Camosci glacier.

The Ambiez Pass from the very icy Camosci glacier

Crampons would've been very useful to descend this and so we made slow and very careful progress, (not encouraged by a trail of fresh blood...) down into thickening cloud, finally reaching the Brentei hut where we were relieved to find Andrew & Leslie, whom we'd met the evening before, fit and in good spirits after their slip on the glacier.

The view of the Castello Inferiore from the SOSAT approach path/vf

Tuesday 10th:  Already our favourite VF we travelled the SOSAT again to the Tuckett Refuge and then took path 316 to the Groste Pass and down the telecabin to the hotel in Madonna.

On the SOSAT vf

 Wednesday 11th:  Up the telecabin again and along to the Tuckett Refuge.

The Tuckett Pass

With our experience on the last glacier in mind I reconnoitered the Tuckett glacier
up to the Pass and checked out the last bit of the Benini VF back to the hut.

On the Bochette Alta vf

Thursday 12th:  We were up early (for us!) and reached the Tuckett Pass in good time.

Traversing a short icy snow couloir - vital to clip the cable!

Then along the Bocchette Alta VF to the Alimonta Refuge junction.

The four inch wide traverse ledge at the junction from the Alta vf to the Alimonta/Bentei huts

Making good time we carried on across the Sfulmini glacier and along the
Bocchette Centrale VF to the Pedrotti hut, another long but rewarding day.

On the Sfulmini glacier (Alimonta hut below)

Friday 13th:  We woke to thick cloud so the promised views were completely absent along
the unexpectedly demanding Orsi (303) path back to the Tuckett Pass.

A long slog up to the col and then to avoid descending the glacier we did the last bit of the Benini VF down to the Tuckett Refuge. A cup of coffee there and then along to the very nice Graffer Refuge at 2261m

Looking back at the ascent path for our Piedre Grande vf trip

Saturday 14th:  To finish off we went up path 336/390 onto part of the Piedra Grande VF to finish up at the Groste Pass for lunch. Then down the telecabin to Madonna and the hotel for the last time.

The start of the Alta vf from the Sfulmini glacier

Sunday 15th:  The next day we caught the bus to Trento & then the train to Verona. We booked in at the 'Siena Hotel' and spent the rest of the day sightseeing.

                                                                             The Roman Arena in Verona

Monday 16th: An early start to catch the RyanAir bus back to the airport. Taxi from Stanstead back to the car & finally to Yorkshire.

This is a great area for climbing, via ferrata and walking trips.
Its compactness makes it a great venue for a trip of one or two weeks.

 Click for more details of our trip


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