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The death of a character hiking the Dolomiti above piss lake


5 Sept 2021 | Dobbiaco, IT > or Toblach as the German speakers would call it, who dominate this area > more precisely, up in the mountains above Toblach @ sum hotel called «Nigglerhoff», up in the Dolomites > left Verona early, thinking it was early Sunday morning (8 am) + there wouldn't be traffic ... boy did we think wrong > insane traffic all the way, deep in2 the Dolomiti > here we were thinking Ferragosto was over, we're in the middle of a pandemic, it's off-season, there will be nobody travelling up in the mountains ... wrong > so many ppl it was insane, bumper 2 bumper traffic the whole way, maybe cuz more folks were travelling by car than by air or rail cuz of covid, lots of German + other Euro plates, but also lots of Italians

> last time we were in the Dolomiti we had it all to our selves, hardly saw another soul hiking (+ it was around the same time of year, early September 2012 > this time we were thinking maybe we shd hike the «classic» must-do trails ... we regretted this decision b4 we even got there but had already planned on this + only had a ½-day anyway, being that we spent most of the morning getting there in heavy traffic > the normal parking lot @ the trail head of Tre Cime di Lavaredo was full so we had to park in an overflow parking lot 7 km below the rifugio (+ pay 10 €uro) + take a bus (another 4€ ... we were gonna walk it but the bus happened to show up right when we got there) > when we got to the rifugio there were tons of ppl everywhere, never have we seen so many ppl on a hiking trail, completely insane > after the drive we were thoroughly annoyed + ready to slit our wrists + now this? fortunately after 15 minutes of «hiking» (walking along a wide dirt road chock full of idiots) we saw a trail heading off down into a field of cows so we took it just to get away from the humuns > within minutes we were on this trail that headed off in another direction w/ no ppl in sight > what's more we could look back @ the Tre Cime + had a better view from a slight distance then those walking right @ the base (this alternate trail is 101a btw, for any 1 interested ... the main elephant trail is, fittingly, 101) > the Dolomiti are definitely a special + beautiful place, no doubt about it, rugged limestone spires amidst alpine beauty > we kept coming across these cows that were extremely docile, never had we met cows that would lick your hand + wanted 2 be pet > they were also quite skilled climbers, scampering up cliffs as if they were goats > also made us feel a bit better about eating the cheese from this region as they didn't seem 2 have such a bad life

> right when we got back 2 our car it started pouring so guess we shd be thankful that we lucked out w/ weather > went back 2 «Nigglerhoff», which was way up this 1 lane road ½ way up this mountain above Dobiacco w/ a great view of the Dolomites but discovered they didn't have a restaurant so drove all the way back down + found a pizza restaurant that actually wasn't so bad, but we had to freeze our ass in sum patio while rain poured all around us > by the time we threw in the towel + said we'd eat inside it was too late as it was full up (+ not even sure they'd accept our vaccination cards as a «green pass» ... getting 2 the point where we might have 2 eat indoors > the ppl here are weird, a lot of them (like our hotel owners) barely speak Italian, but beyond the language they are culturally very different + extremely provincial, they bare no resemblance to «regular» Italians + act like they've never seen Italian-speaking Americans before (they try to speak German back)

tre cime


6 Sept> @ sum point last night we saw this movie that we were in (speaking lines even), but we had absolutely no memory of the making of it + David Bowie was in it + we had scenes together > our brother + sum other ppl we knew were in it + our cousin had directed it + when we asked him about it he was surprised we didn't remember + that yah, we had hung out w/ David Bowie over a period of weeks making this movie

> bin reading Ohle's The Death of a Character, seemingly Moldenke's last hoorah > classic Ohle rife w/ odd bodily functions + digustingly good sounding foods ... read some article about Michael K. Williams (who sadly died today) talking about how even his friends started calling him Omar, how he + that character had become inseparable (tho Chaulky White is in part a nod to him) ... seems the same w/ Ohle + Moldenke

> decided to hike to Lago di Sorapiss (above the piss) today ... we knew it was popular, but it was Monday + figured the crowds from the day before had tapered off ... again, boy were we wrong, despite even the early start > started out on trail 215 to lago Sorapiss ... an elephant trail chock full of idiot tourists w/ no hiking etiquette, they'd just walk slowly in front of u not letting u pass, chatting w/ their friends or looking @ their phones > super annoying > seemed everyone was going to the lake to take selfies @ the lake (which was really low + not that spectacular)

Sorapiss + the selfie-takers (the only photo we have from the scenic spot are of ppl posing on the rocks)

> we continued around the lake, 1st along the southern end but got in a precarious spot where u had 2 downclimb this 30 ft cliff + our bedder-½ didn't feel so comfortable on so we backtracked + went around the other side > the second we got past the lake the crowds died down, 2 the extent we were worried cuz there was no 1 else on the trail we were doing > couldn't figure out why thousands of ppl would want to just go back the way they came after taking a selfie @ the lake + not make a loop of it? the steep ascent up the moraine of scree would weed out any 1 tempted > this trail that followed the glacier gravel was definitely hard going ... 2 steps forward, 1 step back, like climbing straight up a volcano or sand dune of sharp gravel (the limestone is quite gritty) > all we had to go off was a map hastily downloaded of Inurnet b4 we left that showed a loop continuing up 215 til it ran into 213 (below, but we did it backwards)

> after going up the moraine we found our selves in a beautiful bowl of nothing but rock, 360° of mountains + spires w/ not a soul in sight > we thought maybe the trail would go around the peaks but it started 2 skirt along the base of the cliffs, along super sketchy scree @ the edge of cliffs where if u slipped you'd be dead > then it got to the point that we were essentially climbing straight up the mountain (Punta Nera) w/ the help of steel cables + metal rungs placed to assist up the cliffs > it was definitely epic ... our bedder-½ almost had a panic attack a few times from the exposure, despite our climbing experience (granted it's been 2+ decades since we've been roped up) > if the weather had taken a turn it could have been a really bad situation but fortunately it held out + we made it thru the ridge next to Punta Nera, then we scampered to the top while our bedder-½ caught her breath/wits > then it was down the other side which was steep slopes of loose gravel, no fun > eventually we got to «Forcella Foloria» + from there it was a beautiful hike thru the woods > all in all 20+ km over very difficult terrain w/ 1100 meters of altitude gain > essentially a ½-marathon of heinous scrambling bordering on 3rd class climbing (aid)

up the moraine, leaving Sorapiss behind

where we had lunch (click for higher rez)

past the sketchiest part (b4 we had the cables + rungs to hold on2)

way above «above the piss»

view from near the pass

down the other side

finally to trail 213 (click for higher rez)

919 <(current)> 921 > Tributary #16: «Rom» (where goats lick dam)
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