The day dawned clear after yesterday afternoon’s storm. Luckily neither Catherine or I woke up with a headache after being hit on the head by a ‘streamer’ from a lightning strike. Not fancying a repeat of that, or of the last occasion that we climbed the Michel Strobel route (in a storm), a swift get-away was encouraged. This was successful and the two cars were parked at Hotel Fiames, with their seven occupants ready, by 9.40am. We all appreciated the route starting under the shade of trees, particularly when it steepened on the far side of the disused railway line. As the trees thinned out, scrub took over, and soon gave way to a steep scree slope. A steady ascent on the zigzag path brought us to a ledge with a plaque marking the start of the route.
We kitted up here, where the huge rock wall above provided shade. A broad ledge sloped up to the first protected section and some steep scrambling. Rupert led, followed by Catherine, then Andy to provide the odd bit of guidance from behind. After him, Richard, Don, Liz and I, with Alys and Chris bringing up the rear.
The route progressed, with ramps to walk up, interspersed by wired sections.
Only Chris and I ventured out onto the ‘Cortina viewing platform’, a natural viewpoint where the route turns left. Perhaps everyone else was too engrossed in watching the technique required for the few stemples up the steep section?
After a shoulder of easy walking, the next obstacle was a ladder, with a potentially huge drop down the gully below. A good place for a few photos, as Cortina can be seen far below.
A while later, the wires ran out, leaving a walk to the summit, where the second part of lunch was eaten. The first had been in the shade on one of the ramps. Although there were a few clouds around, it was all very benign and the view was extremely clear.
During the short descent to the col to the south, the only entertainment was a narrow, unprotected ledge. Should we have been a little lower at this point?! The scree slope that followed was another matter though. It provided sustained scree running for a very long time, only made slightly uncomfortable by small stones entering boots and shoes. Rounding the bend in the scree slope, we were delighted to be continuing the scree run in a deep gully. Some way down there, red dots marked a path out to the right, where we waited for Catherine and Rupert, all exhilarated and very hot!
The path now descended through shrubs, with the white rocks radiating heat in between. Despite choosing different routes, we all finished up on the disused railway line, shaded by trees. Back at Hotel Fiames at 4.20pm, we relaxed with beers and crisps. A satisfying day all round, and for me, topped off with a swim in the cool campsite pool.
Click link for more
info about Michielli
Whilst Sue and others did the quite difficult Strobel route up Punta Fiames; I took the novices up Averau.
The summit looks totally unattainable from the approach (see frontispiece), but a short section of VF gets you to it.
Non-VF people can miss out the summit, and Julia took this option, but her kit came in useful and both Mary and Gail joined the novices and forsook their intention to spend the week just walking.
They both met the challenge and we all had a lovely day before enjoying excellent camp cooking.
Click for more info on Averau
Page updated 19 October 2003