/ Dolomites Via Ferrata, dumb what to carry question

John Clinch (Ampthill) - on 07 Aug 2017
My son and I are off to the Dolomites in late August (we are 51 and 20). We hope to be doing some easy and not too long trad and some sport climbing. I'm happy with the technical aspects of Via Ferrata.

I'm less sure about what should be in my pack. I'll try and make it specific

I'm looking at the Masare and Roda di Vael via ferrata as described in the Rockfax guide. Approach 75 minutes. Time on route 2-5 hours.

I'm imagining that it will be hot and I'll be in t-shirt and shorts and walking boots. Does this then sound right for what we carry.

each

torch
route description
long trousers
long sleeve base layer
synthetic warm jacket
light water proof
1.5 litres water
lunch
snacks/spare food
fingerless gloves
harness
via Ferrata kit
helmet

shared

phone
first aid kit
watch

Would you carry more water than that?
Would you carry bivi bag/ group shelter in case of emergency or benightment?
Is that enough clothing? What about warmer gloves and or water proof trousers extra fleece?
Would you have a proper map?

I realise that in the end it's our call but it useful to know what others think
davidbeynon on 07 Aug 2017
In reply to John Clinch (Ampthill):
That looks pretty reasonable to me.

I tend not to carry a bivi bag, although a group shelter can be handy for sitting out showers.

As for the amount of water it depends entirely on the route length and weather.
Post edited at 14:33
Cheese Monkey - on 07 Aug 2017
In reply to John Clinch (Ampthill):

Personally I always carry a map and compass in a mountain environment. Sure you're not going to get lost on the VF but the descent or approach can be significantly easier or less worrying with a proper map and a guidebook description combined
Fiona Reid - on 07 Aug 2017
In reply to John Clinch (Ampthill):

I wouldn't take a bivvy bag but do usually take a superlight 2 person bothy shelter - I always have it when hillwalking in the UK so it just stays in my sack. My other half takes the first aid kit.

Clothing wise, personally I always wear trousers on ferratas as it gives my knees/shins some protection from the rock thus I'd not carry trousers as I'd be wearing them.

I'd also always have either a paper map or electronic map on my phone plus a compass. Most stuff will be well signed etc but if the mist/cloud descends sometimes you can't see between the paint splodges which often mark the route. On paths this is rarely an issue as the path is usually obvious but if the path crosses scree/boulders etc or there's any snow covering it (unlikely at the end of August but is often an issue in late June/July) then it's worth having a map + compass just in case.

If it's cold or you're going high up a thin hat + gloves is worth taking.

A sun hat/baseball cap is also worth taking if it's hot/sunny along with sunglasses + suncream.

Water is a very personal thing and will depend on how hot it is, how fit you are etc. Best to start the day well hydrated and if it's really hot then consider taking a bit more.
davidbeynon on 07 Aug 2017
In reply to davidbeynon:

Agree with the others talking about maps. For some reason I missed that.
Chris the Tall - on 07 Aug 2017
In reply to John Clinch (Ampthill):

As to water, I found that a camelbak/platypus worked much better than having a water bottle in my sac. This may be obvious now but they weren't so prevalent back when I first did a VF

I always carried a couple of long slings attached to krabs - handy for when people needed extra protection, extra holds and in one case, rescuing an old woman who had got onto the route by mistake.

One thing I quickly realised I didn't need was a chalkbag
Kean - on 07 Aug 2017
In reply to John Clinch (Ampthill):

List looks fine. Definitely take a map. The "Tabacco" are the least worst(!). 1:25000
Beware thunderstorms! Start early!
Check here: http://www.arpa.veneto.it/previsioni/it/html/meteo_dolomiti.php
I wouldn't take torch or bivvy gear.
Neil Williams - on 07 Aug 2017
In reply to John Clinch (Ampthill):
If it's likely that one of you could end up out of your depth (i.e. think a fall is likely), a rope and belay device and associated bits (couple of slings and screwgates perhaps) to do a quick belay of any difficult section. Falling off on VF kit is to very much be avoided.

If you are both confident at the grade you are going for, up to you if you do or not, as it is a fair bit of extra weight.
Post edited at 16:46
davidbeynon on 07 Aug 2017
In reply to Kean:

Do Tabacco maps still fall apart after a couple of days use?
Trangia on 07 Aug 2017
In reply to John Clinch (Ampthill):

Seems ok. As for water, it depends how available it will be at the top/walk down. Better too much than too little. I agree that a hydration system is easiest and saves rummaging about in your sack. I generally take about 2 litres, sometimes 3 if you are likely to been the sun all day. Allow extra time for holds ups on popular routes.

I don't know the via ferrata you mention, so this may not apply, but if the descent is likely to be down snow, boots are better than shoes, and depending on conditions and how high the route goes, you might want to make a decision about ice axes and crampons.

I find fingerless leather sailing gloves ideal protection against wire cable splinters, but it's worth packing tweezers in your first aid kit, just in case.

Enjoy
ads.ukclimbing.com
Jenny C on 07 Aug 2017
In reply to John Clinch (Ampthill):
Just got back and it had turned hot (shorts/tee/suncream weather).
For footwear I like leather boots, but many people go for approach shoes - personally I find a tightly laced boot more positive when climbing than a comfy approach shoe and they are a real bonus on loose scree.

Conditions can vary massively, so it is a gamble as to how much clothing you take.

> torch
- definitely, lots of tunnels to explore
> route description
- yes, although many are well signposted the descents can be less than obvious
> long trousers
- no, not unless too cool to walk in shorts
> long sleeve base layer
- no
> synthetic warm jacket
- no, but I would always carry a softshell (vapour-rise style)
> light water proof
- essential
> 1.5 litres water
- I would be unhappy with anything less than 2litres and on a hot (or long) day would be looking at 3
> lunch
- yes
> snacks/spare food
- yes
> fingerless gloves
- go for DIY/gardening gloves rather than expensive VF ones, don't need to be fingerless.
> harness
- yes
> via Ferrata kit
- yes
> helmet
- yes
> phone
- yes
> first aid kit
- yes
> watch
- yes

> Would you carry more water than that?
- yes (2-3 litres each), it's mostly limestone so you are very unlikely to be able to top-up from streams.
> Would you carry bivi bag/ group shelter in case of emergency or benightment?
- no, but I do carry one of the thin metallic blankets in my first aid kit
> Is that enough clothing? What about warmer gloves and or water proof trousers extra fleece?
- fleece hat/gloves, waterproof trousers and if I am going high or the forecast looks cool a thin fleece jumper (or swap the softshell for a thin duvet).
> Would you have a proper map?
- Definitely, also compass

Plus don't forget sunglasses, I hate climbing in them but bright sun on white rock is really hard on the eyes.

Camera

Depending on the route we may also carry a 20m half rope and belay/abseil devices, very rarely use them but helps to get me up awkward sections and makes backing off a route much easier.

Looking at many people I am massively over equiped (one small rucksack between two), but unless it was a short route in perfect conditions I wouldn't be happy with much less.
Post edited at 18:03
John Clinch (Ampthill) - on 07 Aug 2017
In reply to John Clinch (Ampthill):

Thanks folks that is really useful.

So more water and sort out some maps
Casa Alfredino - on 07 Aug 2017
In reply to John Clinch (Ampthill):

I would say water proof trousers in August are essential. If you get pinned down in a storm with no cover then you will get very very wet, and frightened and cold unless you are properly kitted out. I have been in hail storms in August with no alternative other than to just carry on and warm kit was essential.

How old is your son or more importantly how heavy is your son? If he is light (less than lets say 50kg) then you need to take a rope and belay on any sections where falling is possible. The easiest system for this is to take a sling and an HMS and set up a direct belay from a staple or bolt. Sling to sling the staple, HMS for a friction hitch belay and a 20m rope - could be a skinny length of 8mm as it is effectively a toprope.

Personally for the weight of something like a Rab Generator, I would dispense with a softshell. If you are going to get caugh you will more or less be immobile getting cold. The rest of the time you will be dry and hot.
Kean - on 07 Aug 2017
In reply to davidbeynon:

> Do Tabacco maps still fall apart after a couple of days use?

Yes!
nniff - on 08 Aug 2017
In reply to Kean:

> Do Tabacco maps still fall apart after a couple of days use?

> Yes!

Paint them with polyurethane varnish
Toerag - on 08 Aug 2017
In reply to John Clinch (Ampthill):
torch - there aren't any tunnels on these ones, so no. Maybe for emergency purposes if your phone has no light.
route description - deffo. The topos on bergsteigen.com are excellent and free to download as pdfs.
http://www.bergsteigen.com/klettersteig/trentino-suedtirol/dolomiten/rotwand-klettersteig
long trousers - depends on weather.
long sleeve base layer - yes, stops your waterproof sticking to your arms if it's wet and warm and stops sunburn if it's not.
synthetic warm jacket - yes, if you're out the sun and in the wind it will be cold. Most of the routes are on the north side of the Rotwand and shady.
light water proof - deffo
1.5 litres water - use multiple bottles, one in a easy-access pocket to drink from, the others in the pack to not fall out when you scrape down a chimney.
lunch, snacks/spare food - yes, you'll be on it a good while. There are huts for a beer at start and end though.
fingerless gloves - deffo, running your hand into a spiky end of wire is no fun. It's also easier to move up VF ground if you slide your hand up the wire with your krab on top of it, saves reaching down for the krab all the time you want to unclip.
harness, via Ferrata kit, helmet - of course
phone - yes
first aid kit - electrician's tape and tissues, maybe a crepe bandage and field dressing.
watch - maybe not if your phone tells the time - you'll bash it a lot.
Would you carry more water than that? - no, but you know how much you get through so it's your choice.
Would you carry bivi bag/ group shelter in case of emergency or benightment? - no, because I don't own one, but it's probably a good idea. You won't get benighted unless you're in proper trouble or start after teatime (and you don't want to be up there after 3pm for thunderstorm avoidance purposes).
Is that enough clothing? What about warmer gloves and or water proof trousers extra fleece? - only the waterproofs. You'll be moving all the time apart from lunch so a baselayer, fleece and waterproof will be warm enough. It's a '1/2 day' ferrata accessed from the valley so you know what the weather will be doing with fair certainty, and you're not going to start it in the rain.
Would you have a proper map? - yes, useful for identifying other peaks and the way down - many ferrata meander through spires and gullies and it's easy to get disorientated (especially in mist). Sometimes the path you want has been washed away by a rockfall or storm so you need to know what alternatives exist on the fly. Simple map here http://www.paolina-huette.com/paolina/index.php?lang=en&Itemid=566

Other things to take - camera, and walking pole(s) - the Vajolonpass descent is a massive scree gully on the south side of the Rotwand and poles are useful there. As mentioned above, sunglasses are useful to prevent 'snow blindness' from the white rock - one of my partners suffered this once (although there was some snow on the route, not just pure rock).
What not to take - camelback, purely because it's easy to rip the bitevalve off and lose all your water, and you don't know how much you're drinking. On these particular routes - a GPS, the navigation is simple.
The routes you've chosen are a great introduction - they were my first routes . Kesselkogel close by is also nice and a 3000m summit to boot, although the approach / descent is quite long (we went up from Rif. Gardecchia via Scalette path). Santnerpass is also fine, but has a snow couloir - probably no problem at that time of year this year. You could probably combine them and stay up in a hut overnight.
Jenny C on 08 Aug 2017
In reply to Toerag:
> What not to take - camelback, purely because it's easy to rip the bitevalve off and lose all your water, and you don't know how much you're drinking.

I really like my platypus on routes as it means it's easy to keep hydrated when puffing up awkward sections in the heat. But you are absolutely right about the problem of not knowing how much you've drunk.
I have also lost the bite valve mid climb (climbing with the hose clamped in my teeth to minimise leakage was "interesting"), but luckily I had a spare screw lid so was able to revert to a standard bottle.
stubbed on 09 Aug 2017
In reply to John Clinch (Ampthill):

I would wear trousers on VF to get warm / avoid sunburn / protect from scrapes.
I've done many VF and been caught out in a thunderstorm (lightning hit the rock opposite, which exploded) and snow at different times. I carry a small group shelter and for harder VF a 30m half rope to escape, few crabs and slings and stuff. Not loads of water for a half day though.