The goats in the machine

Catching up on a couple of days here. Yesterday (Thursday 15th August) we moved up to Sulden in the Ortler Stelvio National Park. Or ‘Italy’ to his friends.

We arrived late afternoon and wanted to go for an acclimatisation hike i.e. over 2,600m. Bit late to hike up from the valley so we dig deep into our pockets and take a chairlift up to 2,348 (how much!?). With the luxury of very light bags, containing not much more than lunch and some water, we headed for the Düsseldorfer hutte at 2,720m.

Easy life

I don’t think we have ever hiked to a hut without huge rucksacks.

Lots of stunning flowers…

A flower. Latin name; Plantius blueius
Another flower. Latin name: Flowaria Pinkium

There is a chance I got the flower names wrong.

Lunch by the hutte and then a bimble up to 2,820m. If you live at a lower altitude, and trust me, Berkshire is a lower altitude, you can start to feel the height at around 2,600m. Just slightly difficult breathing while walking. Not too bad. This little jaunt will help to kid our lungs that we are mountain goats next time we head up high.

At the end of our walk we encountered this little lot…

The goats whisperer strikes again.

I think I must’ve looked like someone they knew because they all came careening towards us as soon as I appeared. Bleating and clanging their bells. Surrounded, we were worried they would follow us down and we would have to pay for the lot of them on the chairlift and find space for them to sleep in Gandalf (though they would probably have been happy on the roof).

To shake them off we walked slowly away carefully avoiding eye contact and saying things like, “Looks like mutton for tea.” and, “Which way to the abattoir?” They seemed to take the hint and wandered off to bother some daisies.

The weather drew in as we walked down. A portent of the huge storms that would hit the valley later that evening.

Mrs P stares the incoming storm in the eye (doesn’t look that bad)

Spent the night in a car park at the bottom of the chairlift. No facilities but our favourite price i.e. free.

The following morning (today, Friday 16th Aug) we headed straight for a coffee shop. Coffee was however only secondary on my agenda with our real reason for visiting being to check out their porcelain facilities and the quality of their paper (excellent, since you ask).

Today is a rest day. We spent a lazy morning followed by an afternoon of packing for tomorrow’s big adventure. We are off to climb a local mountain, Monte Cevedale (pronounced… erm… dunno. C-v-daul. Seems unlikely). 3,757m.

Gondola up to 2,581m then wander up the moraine for an hour or so to about 2,700m before getting on the glacier and climbing another 1,000m to the summit remembering not to fall down any pesky crevasses on the way. Estimated time to the summit 4.5 hours. Gonna be a long day.

Spent the afternoon packing…

A minor Gandalf explosion

…and practicing the techniques for rescues on glaciers, in case we fail in our main objective of not falling down any crevasses.

Mr P pretends he knows what he is doing while Gandalf looks on

There may not be a post tomorrow. Either too tired or stuck in a crevasse. Will try to catch up the next day. Will definitely big up our mountain exploits soon so stay tuned.

2 thoughts on “The goats in the machine

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