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Dolomite Ski Tour 14th March -21st March 2015 by
I always thought of the Dolomites as the preserve of rock athletes and via ferrata enthusiasts; however the cols between the limestone spires are remarkably suited to ski touring. This intermediate tour was based in the Fanes and Senes huts that are really mountain hotels and with snow cat transport from Hotel Pederu at the road head, one team member quipped that it was “ski touring for softies”. However, it remained an interesting and challenging tour. Six AAC and two ASC members participated.
Initially the weather was poor but allowed excursions each day from the Fanes hut (2060m). The first day we reached the summit at 2794m above the Col Bechei Dessora. There were occasional breaks in the cloud but the steep ski down from the col on a cut up hard snow pack was in mist and a challenge. Next day saw the return of winter but laid down some powder snow for later in the week and allowed us to practice avalanche rescue as well as a quick tour over to the Fanes river valley. The following day was better and we made a tour to the Bivouac della Pace at 2760m below Mt Ciastel and rewarded with a descent in fresh powder snow. There were spectacular views over to the Tofana massif from a point above the bivouac reached by foot.
Midweek was the day to move to the Senes hut. On approach to the Fanes hut by snow cat we had noticed a promising looking route up over the col east of Ciamin and this was our chosen route. The traverse of the col and the descent in the powder of the Gran Valun was the most spectacular day of the trip and also the hardest comprising nearly 1000m of ascent and a steep section to skin below the col. I was impressed by the ASC team: Graham for his downhill conversions on the steep terrain in Telemark skis “sans couteau” and Jeremy, our most senior member.
From now on the weather was good allowing a couple of nice excursions from the Senes hut 2116m. Here also the topography is less spiky than typical Dolomite terrain allowing summits to be reached more easily: Le Seneser 2659m and Muntejela de Senes 2787m. The latter necessitated a traverse; the snow on the south west ridge of the ascent route was surprisingly rotten so we decided to ski down the east face. A break in the cornice gave access to a steep powder slope below it, leading finally to spring snow in the Val de San Berto.
To return to Hotel Pederu the snow cat took our baggage but we elected to ride down the road on toboggans. This turned out to be the most perilous part of the trip and we walked the final section down the steep icy hairpins.
Thanks to Ubungleiter Skitouren Chris Rowles for organizing the trip and his leadership and good judgement throughout the tour. ... See MoreSee Less