Dolomites Via Ferrata September 2018
. . . (before unexpectedly shifting to Switzerland) . . .
VF Stella Alpina : Monte Agner
. . . Mt Agner (elev 2872m / 9420 ft) is the big peak in the east half of the Pala group.
. . . . . GPS latitude longitude approx (N46.2764 E11.9528) : (46.2764, 11.9528)
. . . Famous among rock climbers for having the tallest wall of the Dolomites, with several Grade VI routes.
. . . . . (but the Agner VF routes are nowhere near that).
"Testpiece" reputation as big-mountain VF . . .
. * length of sustained steep climbing - (? not well protected ?).
. * length of commitment - (long ways up to reach the descent route).
. * total vertical to the summit - (since the ski lift almost never operates in summer any more).
I chose the most stable weather day. Hiked up the evening before and slept at the Rifugio Scarpa hut. Started around sunrise, soon reached the VF, made it through that. Then the long slog across and up to Bivouac Biasin, where I met some others who had climbed up VF Cannalone. Scrambled up to the summit by the normal W ridge finish. Descended VF Cannalone back to the hut, had a snack and picked my overnight stuff. Jogged down obvious trails back to parking below the village.
* main VF climbing section was rather interesting and varied on fairly sound limestone, mostly unpolished.
. . . (I climbed it all "free" with hands+feet directly on the rock, clipping cable only for Protection).
. . . . . (call it 5.9 maybe 5.9+, with lots of fun thoughtful 5.6-5.8 sequences.
. . . (Protection seemed no worse than most other VF routes: not better than PG-13).
. . . (I used special VF kit Skylotec Skyrider - works like top-rope-solo self-belay on steel cable.
. . . . . So it was well-protected for me.
. . . . . I'd guess it could be pretty scary to climb the harder sections "free" with only a normal VF kit).
* Lots of steep loose rock + slippery dirt + grass above to reach Bivouac Biasin + descent routes.
. . . (Not when wet).
. . . (Perhaps some of these sections are what people mean by "not well protected"?).
. . . (Once you've made it through all that, might as well tag the summit).
* Summit scramble has some easy VF sections, W ridge is only mildly arete-like.
. . . (Decently fun, worthwhile as an add-on, but not brilliant).
* Descent of VF Canalone had lots of steep loose rock + dirt, not much VF.
. . . (Shorter than the Normal route, which I bet also has lots of loose + slippery stuff).
. . . (VF climbing sections not all easy, some interesting moves, but not sustained).
. . . (Might be a good route to the summit for athletic non-climbers).
* Rifugio Scarpa-Gurekian hut is modern and rather nice.
. . . (Big view above tree-line, but the approach route is mostly boring down in the trees).
. . . (Employees drive their high-clearance passenger vehicles up to it).
VF Stella Alpine : more . . .