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  1. #1
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    Sep 2016
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    Puez-Geisler/Odle, Almost-a-Trip Report

    I'd been wanting to explore the park north of Colfosco in Alta Badia, Süd Tirol Dolomites for a few years. Two years ago there wasn't any snow. Last year, there was so much snow the avalanche conditions either weren't right, or we were so busy getting sidecountry lines in, that we couldn't be bothered with longer tours. This year, lowish snow levels (due to Euro BBI stealing all of our snow) and lots of high pressure made the Puez-Odle an easy choice.
    Then my two and a half year got very sick. Then my five year old got moderately sick. Then my wife got sick. Then I got sick. Then it snowed so avalanche warnings spiked. Then it got really warm, really quickly, so avalanche danger spiked some more. The worst luck of any trip I've been on--a full comedy of errors.
    But with everyone back in ski school in the middle of the second week, I went up to poke around with the aim of summiting Col de la Sonne or Sas Ciampac, and either sking the Val Lietres to Selva Gardena or retracing steps to the Forcella Ciampei.
    The start of the climb from the top of the Stella Alpina drag lift.
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    The hiking signs don't (always) mark the ski routes but they can be useful in locating yourself if you're really unfamiliar with the area. I do like how they use the Tyrolean/Austrian colors.
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    Looking back down to the start of the climb. You can see the Stella Alpina lift, the Edelweiss Hütte on the center-left, and the village of Colfosco below. The Val Mezdi/Mittagstal is the huge notch from the center-right top of the photo. Hit it last year in powder and decided to pass on this March's moguls.
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    Just below the entrance to the park. I'm still on foot, but I saw skin tracks. Folks in four wheel drive over the rocks, not worried about skin or edge longevity.
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    Entrance to the park. On this trip, it felt like a victory.
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    The ski all the way out in a good year. Lots of fun little drops. Skied about half way down to the lift before it got too thin.
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    Mountain shrine.
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    Pinwheels and evidence of some larger roller balls.
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    Lots of moisture in the snow.
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    A look back at Col Pradat and the rifugio of the same name.
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    (will post more later)

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2016
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    717
    The east face of the Sassongher.
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    The amphitheater above the Lech de Ciampei, from right to left:
    (Col dala Sonne summit at the top of the first photo)
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    The Forcella de Ciampei is the obvious saddle. It may appear steeper than the face on the left, but it was only 40 degrees and tracked up. I think it's likely the jong route which I happily took. Note the cornice on the right.
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    Ibex, sorry the photos aren't better. He was 50 yards away at his closest. He studied me, and then turned and ran straight uphill. Covered a lot of vertical in 10 seconds. Amazing strength and grace. By the time I had fumbled my phone out of my jacket he was almost out of photographic range.
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  3. #3
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    Sep 2016
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    After running out of daylight a few days before, I returned nursing a cold, and with shorter windows to tick off something due to family obligations. I thought I might sneak around to the Col dala Sonne via my jong route to avoid the cliff bands guarding the entrance. I got spooked six kick turns from the top of the Forcella de Ciampei due to roller balls. I'd seen a few but talked myself into continuing. Then, at my high point, I came down hard on a clumsy kick turn and set up off one that went 25 yards or so. As it was only getting warmer and steeper, I pulled skins and retreated. Pretty deflating as it left only one day to get anything done. I quickly skied out to the top of the lift--the hut employee now very used to seeing my reappear after under two hours, clearly not having reached any summits. Oh well, the summit is optional, the parking lot is mandatory, as they say.

    A different view of the Col dala Sonne approach-wall from higher up on the north side of the lake, now without the brilliant guide's skin track after 5 cm of snow and rapidly rising temperatures.
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    Another view of the cliff guarding the north edge of the lake and plateau.
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    The lower section leading up to the Forcella de Ciampei. I am now essentially lapping an 800' route with the steepest skiing above me, and various other steep routes to the climber's left. Frustrated but spooked.
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    Two buttresses below the col. These were fun to crest and stride on flat ground for a hundred yards or so.
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    Skin track up from the lake.
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    On the final day I had time to skin, I woke and checked the avalanche report: green on all aspects and all elevations. I closed the app. Reopened it and saw green on all aspects and all elevations. Dressed in a hurry, kissed the family goodbye, checked my watch, got my wife's and my skis out of the ski room, put on my boots, walked both pairs to the bakery, bought 3 slices of pizza for €3, hauled the skis across town to the ski school so my wife didn't have to sling them across the stroller when she delivered the kids, raced back to the bus station at the top of the hill. Caught the early bus to Colfosco (taking the bus before the lifts opened put me in another village ahead of schedule and saved 15 minutes?) with a few minutes to spare. Was the first person in line for the gondola up out of Colfosco for the second day in a row; the waitress at the Edelweiss Hütte nodding at me in recognition. First in line for the Stella Alpina and then hiking, then skinning up the same route. My new philosophy: if you're going to be a hack, be an efficient hack.

    More skin track.
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    At the top of the Forcella de Ciampei. Finally. I sensed this could be a decent springboard to link up other traverses, but the wind kicked up, and I got spooked. I don't usually scare in the wind, but I ripped skins instead of exploring and bailed. I would later learn I was not two miles from my intended col as I thought, but was actually standing on it. Had I researched via Google Maps, instead of relying on phone photos of the guide book, I could skied out to another valley and another village. Absurd end to an absurd trip. But I did see an Ibex...
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    Has there ever been more effort put into to skiing 1,400' of 40 degree mashed potatoes?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2001
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    20,133
    Bravo for getting what there was to be gotten.
    Merde De Glace On the Freak When Ski
    >>>200 cm Black Bamboo Sidewalled DPS Lotus 120 : Best Skis Ever <<<

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2018
    Location
    Salt Lake City
    Posts
    34
    wow, epic bowl in first shot (just add white stuff)
    https://GearLobo.com
    "Good things come to those who bait"
    My greatest fear is that after I die, my wife will sell my gear for what I told her I paid for it.

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