Five days in mid-December exploring the winter Wild Alps.
This time I was travelling with my closest friends Patrick and Daniele, travelers and amateur photographers. We were all guests of Erica in Trentino-Alto Adige, where she is based.
First day departure from Florence. What should have been an early departure soon became a late departure. Lazy asses.
About 320 km straight motorway to Trento, where Erica was waiting for us.
That day was my birthday therefore we decided we would have had a nice Indian dinner all together.
Arrived, after dropping all our luggage, we decided to go straight to visit the popular Christmas markets in Trento city.
All night long it was baptized by a pleasant snowfall.
I highly recommend to eat at Welcome India di Singh Bhupinder.
Second day we woke up early to go adventure our first snow hike of the trip.
We unfortunately left our base too late so we were tight with our schedule.
Two hours driving along the Avisio stream through the Val di Fiemme to get to Pampeago Pass, where our hike in the snow started.
After the night snowfall the views were breathtaking.
The Pampeago pass (1,983 m), is an Alpine pass between Selva di Ega and Cima di Valsorda, on the border between the provinces of Trento and Bolzano.
It connects the Val di Fiemme to the Val d'Ega.
Pampeago is located at the base of the Latemar massif, part of the Dolomites.
Around noon we arrived at Pampeago Pass where we parked the car to start our ascent.
Because of the short time ahead, we decided to take the ski lift up to Rifugio Ganischgeralm (2045 m) where the trail actually starts both in winter and summer.
We were told at the info office that the hike to our final destination Oberholoz would have take an easy hour, but later on we realised that wasn't the case.
The first part of the hike we were lucky enough to be exposed towards the sun.
As we were walking a crystalline powder of snow was spreading through the air, transforming the landscape into a magical fairy tale.
After a quick lunch break at Rifugio Mayrl Alm (2050 m) we left for the most adventurous part of the hike.
Most of the trails were completely off limits and not recommended because of the recent environmental disasters that took down huge areas of forests.
As it was time to spring into action I also changed my heavy jacket with a lighter one.
But nobody could stop us from reaching our final destination.
So we began a new trail.
After crossing the woods we ascended again to reach the entrance of the official trail, the number 22 under the majesty of the Latemar mountain group.
Hiking up we met on the way some panoramic points part of the Latemarium project.
A very creative one was this open air "cinema" with alps view.
After almost four hours hiking in the snow we arrived at Oberholz Alpine Hut (2096 m).
The hut has a restaurant and is located next to the Oberholz cable station in Obereggen with direct connection to the ski slopes.
The cantilevering structure grows out of the hill like a fallen tree with three main branches creating a symbiosis with the landscape.
Each of them is facing towards the three most important surrounding mountains. At the end of the branches a large glass facade frames the surrounding mountains from the interior of the hut.
The same reference inside, with a light and bright, spruce wood wrapping across the floor, up the walls and the trice-vaulted ceiling of the mainly open-plan space.
Sun was setting when, after a snack and some hot drinks, we took the ski-lift down to Obereggen.
Obereggen is a mountain village in Alto Adige situated at the foot of the Latemar on the west side.
We basically crossed the Trento province and found out being in the province of South Tyrol.
South Tyrol is one of the two autonomous provinces that make up the autonomous region of Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol.
Its official trilingual denomination is Autonome Provinz Bozen – Südtirol in German, Provincia autonoma di Bolzano – Alto Adige in Italian and Provinzia autonoma de Bulsan – Südtirol in Ladin, reflecting the three main language groups to which its population belongs.
Being in a different province, in a completely different valley from where we departed made very hard to find a way back to the car in Pampeago.
We looked for public transports but nothing, asked for a lift but none were driving in that direction. We were basically isolated.
Because of the very short time we had to make a decision and find a solution; we went to the Police station to ask our options.
The police officer in charge decided that was safer and faster for us to take a lift with them on the snowmobiles.
Finally we made it back to the car in Pampeago as soon as the sun had set.
Before leaving we had a relaxing time at the local cabin where we drunk some hot drinks.
After a long way driving in the darkness we arrived at our base just in time for dinner and sleep.
Third day, after a good sleep we decided to go skiing in the afternoon.
After a good breakfast we drove about one and a half hours to Brocon Pass (1616 m). The nearest ski resort at a good rate.
The pass connects the Vanoi valley with the Tesino plateau, linking Castello Tesino and Canal San Bovo.
The rest of the day is summed in these photos.
At sunset, when the ski resort closed, we drove back to the base for dinner and a well deserved rest.
On the fourth day we planned to go high up in the mountains, so we picked the best location, the Pordoi Pass (2239 m).
Again a day hiking in the snow.
Pordoi is a pass in the Dolomites, located between the Sella group in the north and the Marmolada group in the south.
The road crossing the pass connects Arabba (Livinallongo del Col di Lana) with Canazei (Fascia Valley). It is the second highest surfaced road traversing a pass in the Dolomites, after the Sella Pass.
The road from Trento to Pordoi is a whole adventure itself.
After two hours driving through the best ski resorts and the best scenarios we arrived to Arabba where the road starts to climb the mountain like a snake twisting through about 33 hairpins.
The road is exposed to gusts of wind so to be traveled with caution, and of course with snow chains on board.
We finally made it to the Pordoi Pass where we parked the car to start our hike.
As we arrived in the afternoon, we found no tourists or people around.
The quietest time in winter I would say, as all the locations we visited weren't busy at all.
We had again a short daylight time ahead therefore we decided to hike the shortest trail.
A very short trail in summer that could get hard to hike in winter.
We left the pass on our right on the trail 601.
You can spot a little chapel entering the trail approaching Sass Becé.
We started hiking up cutting the mountain transversely.
The first half of the trail although we were completely exposed to the sun we faced lots of snow dust carried by the winds.
After almost 2 hours we made it to Sass Becé (2534 m).
The view from there was astonishing.
During our late lunch break at Sass Becé we bumped into few fascinating Alpine Chough.
While the sun was setting we started descending on the same trail.
The temperature dropped a bit and the wind gusts intensified.
The mountains changed color and the peaks caressed by the golden light.
We made it back to the Chapel at the entrance of the trail, when a huge full moon was rising up behind the picks on the horizon.
On the left the Pordoi Pass and on the right the moon.
After this hike we made a needed stop at the local Cabin Hotel Col di Lana, to catch a hot drink and recover.
Ready to leave we drove back and stopped at a nearby Indian restaurant and had take away food at our base.
San Martino di Castrozza
Fifth and last day of our adventure we went to explore and hike in another location, the Pala group in San Martino di Castrozza.
The Pala group (Italian: Pale di San Martino) is a mountain range in the Dolomites, in the eastern Trentino, part of the province of Belluno. They cover an area of about 240 km² between the Primiero, Valle del Biois and Agordino.
They include a large plateau (Italian: Altopiano delle Pale), spanning for some 50 km² between 2500 and 2800 m, an empty rocky extent.
It's also well known as "lunar landscape" for its particular formation.
Its highest elevation, the Vezzana pick gets to 3192 m.
San Martino di Castrozza is a well known mountain resort in the Primiero valley in the Trentino province.
We woke up early to drive again through the mountains for about an hour and a half.
Arrived at San Martino di Castrozza we parked the car and took two cableways: the Telecabina Colverde and then the Funivia Rosetta.
In the summer it's possible to hike the whole mountain from the bottom but in winter is probably not recommended unless well equipped for an advanced hike in the snow.
Once we arrived at the base of the Rosetta summit at 2650 m above the sea level, we started hiking to the summit of Rosetta (2743 m), where you find a cross.
It took us about 30 mins to get to the top hiking in the snow.
On the way up you can see the whole plateau and spot, right in the middle, the known Rifugio Rosetta.
The way straight to the cross has a fairly high slope, and it's indicated by the ometti.
An ometto, which means "little man" in italian, is a simple artificial construction consisting of stacking stones of different sizes on top of each other.
In mountaineering the ometti (plural of ometto) are used to indicate the path to follow in the absence of official indications or as their integration.
They are built by hikers to signal the progress of the trail when the way isn't clear.
Reached the summit the view was breathtaking.
On our way down to San Martino di Castrozza the sun was going down leaving us stunned.
We then left San Martino di Castrozza at night to go back home.
During almost all the way back to Florence we drove uninterruptedly in the thickest fog I've ever seen.