Saturday, May 14, 2011

Via Ferrata Angelo Viali (Arzignano)

I have never done vie ferrate before, but knew about them and have been itching to do them.  Hikes in the mountain and skipping and yodeling in big malga open fields will always be fun, but after a while one starts to want another view of the mountains.  In this case, the view from the rock faces one can only gape at when hiking.  Finally, me and my friends decided to "try-out" this via ferrata, to "prepare" ourselves for the bigger vie ferrate in Marmolata in the Dolomiti or the Via Alta in Pasubio.  Although the trek itself is short--no more than 90 minutes--it was tough going, especially for beginners.  The biggest draw for vie ferrate is that it is essentially an inanimate guide walking you through a well-marked path through the mountain, but in this case, at times that's where the "draw" ends.  In parts, the trail is just like mountain climbing, where one has to muscle one's way through vertical climbs with little to no footholds.  It was a great trek nevertheless, and I'm looking forward to tackling the bigger trails in the Dolomiti

Bepi Bertagnoli was a partisan and one of the famed figures of Italian mountaineering who, as the story goes, went into the mountains to live a solitary life after suffering a broken heart.  After a tough winter, he disappeared, only to be found dead, at the age of 28, by the owner a nearby refugio who went out looking for him.  The spot where he was found is commemorated by this plaque, and the via ferrata as well as the refugio in the beginning of the trail were dedicated to him.

 Malga Fraselle di Sotto, a nice picturesque farm with great views of the Chiampo Valley.

Another memorial for a fallen partisan, who died here ten days before his birthday, at the age of thirteen.  Next to the memorial is a cross with plaques attached by "Checca's" friends, attached every twenty years after his death.  Unlike the mountains further east, these mountains bear more reminders of the fighting that happened during the second world war, when partisans used these mountains heavily for their operations.

The Refugio Bepi Bertagnoli, at the beginning of the via ferrata.  Accessible by road, the rifugio attracts a lot of families driving from Verona and Arzignano for a good meal.  Right behind are the cliffs that we scaled through the via ferrata.

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