Up into the Italian Alps

A sensational night’s sleep. The soothing sounds of the torrent of the nearby glacial creek helped.

A fairly early breakfast of good Italian coffee, fresh crusty bread, prosciutto, cheese and scrambled eggs was consumed as I needed to keep my strength up. Then off to meet the rest of the group I was going up into the mountains with at the café next to the cable car station.

So that made four of us plus Christian the guide. Introductions were made along with some basic background, like what was an Australian doing climbing mountains. Good question. Because it’s there, and because I can, were plausible options. So is insanity.

Three cable cars later we were up at over 3100 metres. Time to shoulder our packs and let our legs get us up the remainder of the 500 odd vertical meters. The sunny and warm conditions meant the snow was quite soft just like Australian snow, so I felt at home. Except for the mountains we were heading towards. Decidedly un-Australian, not a bad thing in this case.

We reached the rustic Gnifetti Hut after donning our crampons for some more grip on the steeper slopes. The rustic hut was built 1876 on a rocky outcrop at an altitude of 3647 metres under the Vincent Pyramid. It’s been renovated and enlarged a few times and now sleeps 176 people. No roads come here and all supplies are helicoptered in. Some hut!

Following a sensational lunch of real Italian al dente Taglioni and cerve ragu (that’s venison for non-Italian speakers), we again headed outside for some crevasse rescue training in the blazing sun. A great way to build up an appetite. That was certainly needed to give justice to the 4 courses we were served for dinner. Not much risk of losing any weight on this trip.

It is lights out at 10pm as the hut is not on mains power. Good thing with another long day coming up.

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