So, just got back from a weeklong backcountry splitting/climbing hut-to-hut tour in Alto Adige.
We had a fairly large group of people, 10 in all, and we organized the trip ourselves electing not to hire a professional guiding operation. Instead, one of the local members, who knew the area well, was going to be our guide. All of us were fairly experienced backcountry tourers and climbers and we also meant to do some rock and ice climbing so our route was designed specifically with that degree of difficulty in mind.
However, as it often happens, the weather was not cooperating. The snow coverage was poor over the Alps in general this winter but NE Italy got a particularly short end of the stick it seemed. It got to the point where the coverage reports were so bad, a week out we realized that we have to scrap good portion of our route because we're just not making the schedule due to the absence of snow in low elevations. We even tried to forgo Ortler altogether and move the trip to Chamonix or Bernese Oberland at the last moment. But couldn't make it happen so close to wire.
Luckily, we got sort of a break (I'm thoroughly convinced it's because Neni finally left the continent; she's becoming Linville of Europe if you ask me), just before we got to Italy a storm system brought about 10" of fresh to the region and the next few days saw even more snow in dribs and drabs. High elevations got the best of it. All in all, maybe not enough for an epic tour but a coat of fresh paint was desperately needed and this is what we got. We even enjoyed a few really nice turns in good dry cold pow before sun came out and baked the hell out of it.
Now, about Ortler. By difficulty the circuit compares to Haute Route (Chamonix-Zermatt). But with less long-ass flat traverses and more options of more to less difficult climbs and descents. Because it's a rather circular route rather than a point A to point B trip it could be customized in a variety of ways. The mountain huts are on the high end side (as these things usually go) and the food is amazing. Well, it's Italy after all. No need to say that the region is gorgeous and the views are out of this world.
The drawback is that the region is not called Italian Siberia for nothing. It's far from everywhere and is seriously difficult to get to, especially during winter because high mountain passes are closed. What you get for it is the absence of the crowds though. In over a week we've only seen other tracks once and haven't met anybody.
So, a few pics...
After meeting in Sulden. Checking gear before the big day.
Moving out over a few inches of fresh snow.
Ortler peak in the distance hidden by a sneaky cloud.
Over the next couple of days a few amazing turns were had...
And a few rock walls scaled.