​Via Ferrata week in the Brenta Dolomites – Part 1

Last Friday it was finally time to meet my friend Peggy in Trento for our week of ferrata in the Brenta. This mountain group is one of the most famous for the impressive via ferrate. After picking up Peggy we drove to Madonna di Campiglio, talking and talking about everything that happened in Berlin since I left for hiking at least 10 weeks ago. We enjoyed an aperitivo and pizza in Madonna di Campiglio and stay for the night.
The next morning we took at 8.30am the first cable car to the Passo de Grostè, our backpacks fully packed up with the via ferrata sets, helmets and food for six lunches – plus snacks obviously 😉

I had planned the itinerary months ago with a lack of understanding of timings and difficulties for via ferrate. I have done just a few so far but I have learned climbing a bit. For Peggy it’s the first time!  I already saw that the timing is a bit tight for today. The first part is the Sentiero Benini, starting directly at the Passo del Grostè. How great to be immediately right above the clouds in the heart of the Brenta and climbing into the impressive mountain towers.

We took the cable car up the mountains and we’re thrown immediately into the heart of the Brenta

The first part is an easy but steep hike until the ferrata starts. But even then there are relatively few parts on the way up, mostly it’s a hike.

Looking back at the Passo del Grostè
The start of the via ferrata Sentiero Benini
Above the clouds on the Sentiero Benini
These two small dots are Peggy and myself. A nice Italian guy took a couple of pictures of us and sent them to us by email

The way down is more climbing but well doable. Arriving at the notch Bocca del Tuckett it’s already after 1.30pm and the next section would still be 4h30. More for us probably.

Great view on our lunch break. Thank you to the Italian guy, Edvin, for the pictures

After our lunch break we are hesitating a bit but I have already done the reservation at the Alimonta hut and there aren’t many options. Three very nice Italian guys tell us that it’s still feasible and that the weather should stay OK. So we start. We start climbing a lot without any real ferrata section. Higher and higher it gets but we are moving very slowly. Then the nice Garibaldi section that turns at about the same altitude around the Cima di Brenta. It gets tougher and tougher and we start being tired. Especially for Peggy who has never done a ferrata before and hasn’t just done 9 weeks of hiking as myself. It starts getting late as we climb ladders up and down and it seems never ending. But we still have way to go and I feel very bad as I haven’t well planned the trip. I didn’t have much experience and used Internet information. Later we will find out that this section, the Via ferrata Bochette Alte has a D-E rating which is difficult and for sure not recommended for beginners like Peggy. With my climbing and hiking experience I am OK with the difficulty but the length is getting hard for me as well. There aren’t any other hikers left on the trail and nothing left for us other then continuing as there is no other way down from the mountain or out of the ferrata. Finally, finally at 6pm we arrive at the notch that is indicated in the trail notes and there is a sign saying 1.10h to the Alimonta hut. But first, endless steep ladders going down, a so called Direttissima. We are so tired and exhausted that it’s not easy to navigate down the ladders but in the end we manage to get out of the ferrata. 

One of the many ladders we will be climbing this week. Plus a beautiful rainbow.

We are so small in between the giants

That’s it, I am looking back at the last big mountain we just came down through too many ladders

Now it is a hike through stones and around the last mountain until the sign 15min to the Alimonta hut let’s me escape a big sigh of relief.

Never been so happy to see a hut

It’s 7.30pm as we reach the hut, after having started the hike and climb at 9am. The hut tenant was already waiting for us and we are sleeping in a nice 4 bed room. We don’t change or wash but directly go for dinner, completely exhausted. After dinner we collapse on our beds only to be disturbed by the 2 Italian guys who arrive just as we switched of the light and take hours to prepare for bed just to continue talking even after switching off the light. Well, another bad night for me as I can’t sleep much and already wish the night was over at 11.30pm. In the morning, after snoring all night, the Italian are just as impolite, switching on the light at 6.15am as they get up and take ages again to prepare. In the end we get up as well but take our time as we have to recover from yesterday and have a rather easy trip scheduled.

We are doing a B rated ferrata,  the Sentiero SOSAT, to the Tuckett hut. It takes us about three hours and compared to yesterday it’s rather easy and short (besides some tricky parts) and includes lots of great hiking bits almost on the top of the mountain with great views.

A beautiful morning, great to be in the mountains above the clouds

Spectacular climbing – you better have no fear of heights

After the ferrata we hike through big rocks to the Tuckett hut

Can you spot the hut?

At around 11.30am we arrive at the Tuckett hut and buy a coffee. We can even have our own lunch at the table, enjoying the view. Then we hike back, this time on a hiking trail below the mountain which is easy but great as it allows us to see everything from a different perspective.

After 90minutes we are at the Brentei hut where we treat ourselves to a big chocolate cake with another coffee.

The Brentei hut in the clouds
Soooo good

Another good hour later we are back at the Alimonta hut, taking a shower and relaxing. A great and almost relaxing day despite the hiking which ends with a glass (or two) of vine and pasta for dinner.

Day three seems not as promising in the morning due to the clouds but the hut tenant says it won’t rain today.

Incredible morning view, in between the clouds
Up we go to the glacier and notch

So we start uphill along a small glacier to the Bocca degli Armi.

We choose the (hopefully) easier via ferrata Spellini which is relatively new (since 2010). Already the first ladder is difficult as it’s inclined to the back and it takes all our core strength to keep ourselves on the ladder with the backpacks. It’s a short ferrata though and despite the difficulties I love the feeling of being right inside the mountains.

That was the tough one!
Having fun (on an easier section)

Once we are down on the other side we are now hiking up a rather easy trail to our hut, Rifugio Tosa Pedrotti.

We arrive around 11.30am and can already put our stuff in the dormitory (and of course reserve the best beds for us!). We have lunch outside at the tables before hiking with very light backpacks to the Monte Daino, a summit with a supposedly great view. It’s a pretty cool hike in the beginning along big boulders where we take pictures (and hurt ourselves a little from the edgy rocks while climbing up and down).

Then we loose the trail somewhere but manage to find it although we actually don’t even have a clue where the summit is. The stone piles finally lead us through stones and some climbing to the summit which has indeed the most impressive view! On one side the Brenta Dolomites we just came from, on the other side a valley with the green coloured lake Malvoreno and in the background endless mountains. We spend a long time sitting and enjoying the view, watching some clouds fly by, while others stay longer.

So happy to share these great moments with a good friend

I am so happy to be here and the nature amazes me every day. I am also starting to say goodbye to the mountains, a few more days and that’s it “already”. After close to three months mainly in the mountains I will go back home for a while at least.

A chamois on the way back almost disappears like a chameleon

The hike back is easy and we enjoy the warm hut in the evening with a small fire and a glass of vine. Two a bit older guys have joined our table, we met them on the trail and they have the same itinerary. Unfortunately they share our room and are snoring badly.
Our itinerary :

Day 1: Red. Sentiero Benini and Bocchette Alte to Rifugio Alimonta

Day 2: Green. Sentiero SOSAT to Tuckett hut. Back on hiking trails.

Day 3: Blue. Sentiero Spellini and Orsi to Tosa Pedrotti hut. Hiking trail to Monte Daino.

Day 4: Yellow. Brentari to Agostini hut. Castiglione to Dodici Apostoli hut.

Day 5: Pink: Martinazzi to Brentei hut. Hiking trail to Casinei hut.

Day 6: hiking trail via Vallesinella waterfalls to Madonna di Campiglio
Read Peggy’s article on our trip on her blog (in German): http://wp.me/p7iB4Q-GD

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