Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Seilschaft coaching Day 3: Across the glacier to the Rif. Marinelli Bombardieri

We head out again at around 6:15 into a day that's not especially promising in terms of weather. Today we're not planning to do any peaks, we're just heading to a new hut. The trip is made more interesting by the fact that we're crossing the Sella glacier, which has plenty of crevasses that need to be navigated through.

[M] leads us out from the hut, beside the moraine and gently up to the glacier itself. From there we ascend a bit along a track made the previous day by another group heading to the Gl├╝schaint and then start to traverse. At some point Andrea takes over the front. She gets the most complex stretch in terms of crevasses and we spend a good amount of time winding around to make our way through. The pictures from the first day are definitely useful for this.
There is hopefully a route through here, but it sure isn't obvious.
After we're clear of most of that we switch around again and [B] takes the lead as we climb some more. During this stretch Greg starts to notice that his aerobic fitness isn't what it ought to be. It's frustrating to have to ask the group to slow down a bit, but there's no way around it. Just below the Fuorcla da la Sella we do a quick food break and then Greg takes the lead. Some course corrections from Bruno are required after making it over the pass and heading down the other side (Greg needs to spend more time with map study and not leave all that to Andrea). At this point clouds start blowing in and out, so we do some practice with navigating using the compass. The conditions definitely aren't ideal, but at least this glacier doesn't have quite as many crevasses, so we don't end up doing too many zig zags.
into the cloud
compass practice
not completely free of crevasses
When the conditions allow, we do another round of photo-reconnaissance: taking pictures of at least the bottom half of the couloir that leads up to the Rifugio Marco e Rose, our destination for the next day.

Down under the Passo Marinelli Occidentale, where the ice ends, we pack up the ropes and leave our crampons under a distinctive rock before following the path (initially marked with stone-men, later actually blazed) to the Rifugio Marinelli Bombardieri. Bonus points to the hut for having a Sigur Ros album on when we arrived. We do the day's debrief with a round of hot beverages and then head off for showers (!) and a rest. We convene again for an apero at 5 (a really, really nice spread of cheese and cured meats along with a nice bottle of bubbly) and then do the trip planning for the next day before another good meal (more food is really not necessary after the apero, but it's not like we're going to turn down food in Italy). Once again we're the only guests at the Rifugio; during the week in the late season when the weather isn't optimal is a great time to experience calm and quiet mountain huts.

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