My return to the mountains
My return to the mountains after two years: my broken bones have been hailed, nevermore in my head a small piece of „the psycho“has remained. Two years ago, the big powder avalanche in Bulgarian Rila miraculously left me alive. After all, I am successfully back, again on the ski, in steep gullies, couloirs and valleys covered by snow. I started again in December; at the beginning it was all about to keep myself fit, afterwards the first easy descents in High Tatras couloirs, and later more complicated and tougher routes.
The last week of March we were (me and Peter Kovac
) heading to Dolomites. On the list there were three ultimate objectives: Sassonger – Val Scura, Monte Cristallo – Canale Staunies and Sass Pordoi – Canale Holzer. On Wednesday, after eight hour drive we were on the spot, in Colfasco, a small village in the middle of Dolomites, just ahead of Sassonger – couloir Val Scura (2500 m above sea level)
the classic route of steep skiing Sassongher – Val Scura 2500 m:
Ski degree: S4 (40-45°, abseil)
Vertical distance in descent 1000 m, in the narrow couloir itself - 750 m.
On Thursday, early in the morning we were on our way. The easy beginning - we were following local custom and taking the cable lift to Col Pradat (2037 m above sea level). Ascent to Sassonger is in its SW face. We were traversing steep slopes, which finish at the Forcella Sas Songer Pass (2435m)
This part of ascent was pretty tough; it came across vulnerable rocky steps. If there was a lot of new snow this is not a good idea at all. The danger of avalanche is high in this case. We were lucky, snow was fine. Deep one, but fine. From the pass we were climbing an easier, moderate dipping terrain, which ended close to the summit of Sassonger. There was the beginning of the couloir. The ascent took us in total 2,5 – 3 hours. As always, everything depends of quality and quantity of snow.
Val Scura canyon:
The overall length of downhill form the edge of the canyon to the valley is approximately 2500 meters and vertical distance is 1000 meters. The length of the gully itself is 750 m. After that the route continues across the dense dwarf-pine forest to the road Corvara – La Villa. Fall of the couloir at its beginning is app. 45°, and at the end of its first third it gradually narrows into the close gully (45°). This is the most arduous part of descent. After that, there are the easier wider and moderate sections (40°), which are followed again by more difficult and narrow parts. The lowermost part of the canyon is 6 – 8 meters wide and ends by rocky edge. Place for abseil. The hook is located at the left side. So, take care... Once the abseil is completed, the route continues in its last 100 m between the walls and ends in open slopes. During the downhill we had snow of different quality; it changed abruptly and very often. It is important to be aware of rocks in places when sun reaches the bottom of canyon.
Video from this tripVIDEO