/ VF Stella Alpina - info request
Hi, I`m looking to do VF Stella Alpina on Monte Agner in the next few weeks. I `m looking for any info, especially about the descent. My old Cicerone guide advises the VF descent is closed and to use the Voie Normale, this is an old book (2007?). Does anyone have any more recent info? No info in UKC logbook or Cicerone website updates.
I will ask my neighbour as he's the local CAI VP, maybe he has an idea.
Bergsteigen.com is great for VF, here you go https://www.bergsteigen.com/touren/klettersteig/via-ferrata-stella-alpina/ Topos are normally excellent.
'Absteig' means descent and google translated and tweaked by me as follows:-
"From the summit as in the ascent back to Forcella Pizon (bivouac) and descend southeast until you come to a conspicuous mark. There either straight down over the Sentiero del Canalone (South Gorge, cabled, in places grade B, with many mountaineers rockfall hazard) or slightly left following the "way of Erstbesteiger" (not cabled, but very well marked, short climbing posts to 1+). At the end you meet sooner or later depending on the chosen descent variant on the ascent path over which you then descend into the valley."
NB. I've not done it so can't help other than be a googlemaster . For translating the topo:- scharte = notch or gap, gehen = walk/scramble, wand = wall, band = ledge, rinne = gully, riss = crack, platte = slab, schlucht = ravine/gully.
. . . (why not to rely on these old English-language guidebooks).
When there are completely superior German-language sources available.
Is it your main goal to reach the Monte Agner summit?
or to climb the Via Ferrata Stella Alpina?
The two are rather different.
Don`t speak German, not aware of the website helpfully pointed out. I want to climb the ferrata, if time & conditions allow I`ll try for the summit but guidebook describes unprotected scrambling on friable rock. Perhaps you could answer my question about the state of the descent VF which is different to the ascent route?
> I want to climb the ferrata, if time & conditions allow I`ll try for the summit but guidebook describes unprotected scrambling on friable rock.
Another reason not to rely on old popular well-recommended English-language guidebooks.
When I was there in the last couple of years, there were cables protecting several portions of the (not terribly interesting) route from the high bivouac to the summit.
Another thing one popular English-language guidebook recommends is riding the mechanical lift up to the (rather nice modern) hut -- but after I hiked up to the hut I was told that the days of operation of that that lift outside of ski season are rather infrequent. Without the lift operating, it's a long boring slog from the village up to the hut (and back down again afterward). A somewhat interesting hike to the start of VF Stella Alpina.
Then a long long boring slog with some scrambling and cable to reach the high bivouac (optionally the summit). This slog up and across is required to later go down to the top of the "descent" VF.
Details see my detailed descriptions linked from this page:
> Perhaps you could answer my question about the state of the descent VF which is different to the ascent route?
I'm guessing you mean VF Canalone (sp?). It was surely open with intact cables when I was there, so I descended it. With some old-icy-snow near its bottom (fortunately softened by the time I reached it). Not very interesting. Perhaps it saves a bit of time over the normal route, on the other hand with loose / slippery sections not so pleasant on descent. Not much lost if descend the normal route instead.
Requires lots and lots of uphill+sideways+downhill slogging just to _reach_ this descent from the top of VF Stella Alpina.
P.S. Might be nice if the popular English-language guidebook had given more emphasis to the high _ratio_ of boring slogging to actual VF climbing and views if do this outing in the obvious way nowadays.
. . . (assuming that reaching the Mt Agner summit is not a key goal).
Lots of VF routes around with a much better ratio.
Thanks, I`ve done 60+ VF in the Dolomites and aiming to tick off the harder ones I haven`t done, think I`ll do Constantini instead.
I think you get a much better ratio of climbing to approach/descent labor on Constantini.
VF Stella Alpina was my last "tough challenge" VF around the Dolomites, and while the actual climbing was fairly good, the total outing did not feel worth it. Perhaps it made more sense when the lift operated in summer more often.
A substantial portion of my planning energy for VF routes (esp if Sharon is joining) is to find clever ways to make the descent easier.
Of course the VF in the Dolomites with the highest ratio of climbing to approach/descent labor is Sci Club 18 (but also one of the most technically difficult -- and committing (no escape anywhere before the finish).
And of course there are several VFs in the Dolomites with fairly ugly loose descents. Not my favorite region for VF routes.
In the last week I've been finding better harder routes outside the main Dolomites . . .
* VF Laserz Klettersteig in the Lienzer Dolomiten (Austria) - almost as hard as VF Stella Alpina, but much longer and in a more dramatic big-wall setting, and with a shorter more sensible descent.
. . . (and VF Rudl Eller Weg makes a more interesting approach).
* VF Pesciola at Bobbio ski station NE of Lecco.
* VF Tre Signori (NW side of Bellinzona Switz) : the Itinerario Difficile is on remarkable granitic gneiss, as is the shared lower section which leads to it.
All three also have great climbing "Free" with hands and feet directly on the rock, using the fixed hardware and cable for protection only not Aid.
. . . (tho Tre Signori difficult version is so hard that I did use the fixed hardware Aid several times).
For a _long_ VF outing (if VF Constantini is not sufficient) can start very early from Dolomitenhutte parking and try the link-up of Rudl Eller Web to Laserz K;lettersteig to Panorama KS in the Lienzer Dolomiten.
Thanks, did Constantini yesterday - 7hrs hut to hut, another 2.5hrs walk back to Agordo. Now in Lecco, Lake Como for the Grand Prix. Just googled VF Pesciola / Bobbi ski station, looks like there`s a hourly bus service across the road from my hotel.
> Of course the VF in the Dolomites with the highest ratio of climbing to approach/descent labor is Sci Club 18 (but also one of the most technically difficult -- and committing (no escape anywhere before the finish).
you think? It’s not a long route, and there’s 300m of ascent from the cable car middle stop before the route starts, so my vote for that title would go to Punta Anna - Tofana Di Mezzo which starts 5 minutes from the lift, and they have rerouted the end so instead of a walk/scramble to the summit past the avalanche fencing there is now a cabled route along the ridge for most of it.
Punta Anna is more efficient -- good point.
So then Sci Club 18 is second best.
> did Constantini yesterday - 7hrs hut to hut, another 2.5hrs walk back to Agordo. Now in Lecco, Lake Como.
Bobbio lift might be on reduced days / hours now what that children are going back to school.
Lots of other VF around Lecco (and of course loads of great non-VF climbing, single- and multi-pitch).
Note that most of the VFs around Lecco are protected with _chain_ not cable. So a device like the Skylotec Rider will not work there. But perhaps something like a Fifi hook inserted into the (usually) large-hole chain links could provide protection for hard strenuous moves - in between the sometimes widely spaces chain-to-rock anchor points.
Several VFs from Pian di Erba lift - (SE above the city toward the Resegone ridge). I was impressed with VF Gamma II, put an English-language descrip on c2c.
Gruppo Alpini Corno Medale is NE from the city (closer than Bobbio). Nice sustained climbing Free with hands and feet directly on rock, but using that mode felt pretty run-out in some places (because I could not use my Skylotec Rider on the chain, and had not yet thought of using a hook).
Also nice Free climbing is the VF Centenario CAO on Monte Grona above Menaggio (well that's not so close to Lecco).
Just put a detailed English-language description of VF Pesciola up on the web at:
The Bobbie lift is only open at weekends in September
Emma Twyford has become the first British woman to climb 9a with a redpoint of The Big Bang at Lower Pen Trwyn, North Wales. Emma's ascent is only the third of this route, first climbed in 1996 by Neil Carson.