The answer, well, our answer is, round trip, 66 miles.
Now that may sound like a long way, and, don’t get me wrong, it is but, add in the fact that, to complete just one way (33 miles) of this trip took almost 2 hours and involved:
- Leaving Italy
- Going to Switzerland
- Returning to a Italy
- Going over the Umbrial Pass (2,501m)
- Taking a minor detour to the Stelvio Pass (2,757m)
- Tackling more than 90 hairpin bends
- Ascending around 1,842m
- Descending around 1,657m
I think you will agree that that is an insanely long way for pizza.
It does of course beg the question; ‘Why?’
Well, are you sitting comfortably? I shall take you back to my last post when I said…
“…We are off back into the mountains tomorrow. Going to climb the Ortler…”
Now you may remember that Mrs P has been a bit under the weather. The Ortler is graded PD+ (for a idea of a PD+ grade climb see our Allalinhorn trip last year). We decided that, discretion being the better part of valour, we would leave the Ortler for another day. We will definitely be back as it looks stunning.
Anyway, we are sat in our campsite wondering what to do instead…
…and we decide to go and climb the Monte Zebru (3,703m) from the Rifugio V. Alpini-Bertarelli. The guide book says; “… park in the big car park, (the other side of the Umbrial Pass), take a Jeep to the road head and then walk for a few hours to the hut.”
…over the Pass we go. Get to the big car park and…
…big!? Define ‘Big.’ There are already about 12 cars parked up. Practically on top of each other in true Italian style and literally (and I do mean ‘literally’) nowhere else to park within 10 km. Even then only about 5 of the spots were long enough to cater for the not very long Gandalf. We investigate alternatives but, sadly, it looks like a wasted journey. Only one thing to do (well, 3 actually):
- Find campsite
- Eat pizza
So, that’s the story of Gandalf’s long quest over the misty mountains to
do battle with Smaug get pizza. Tolkien would definitely have written a better story.
The following day we went all the way back over the pass (another 90+ hairpins). Don’t consider doing this in your white behemoth Campervan by the way. There is a 10m length restriction and in places the road is barely wide enough for a car.
How it was all meant to be…
So, back in the Val Venosta, as a consolation prize, we decide to go climb possibly the easiest glaciated peak in Italy, Piz Sesvenna, 3204m. What can go wrong? Well…
…It turns out that Mrs P may be a bit more ‘under the weather‘ than she has been admitting.
We set out from the van for our 2 hour, 600m climb to the Sesvenna Hütte. It’s a lovely day…
But, Mrs P is struggling.
We stop for a rest…
…and a contemplate…
…we head back to the van
Poor Mrs P.
Will she pull through? Will our normally athletic, dynamo of a heroine return to her peak of fitness in time to partake of more daring adventures before we must begin the long journey back to Blighty?
Tune in next time to find out.
Possible spoiler alert. Should Mrs P fail to rally, I can assure you that she, and in fact I, will bravely undertake gentle scenic bimbles, heroically visit restaurants and cafés and, casting caution to the wind, finish of the day with schnitzel, chips and wine (distant relatives of Crystal, Tipps and Alistair).