A few days in the mountains – Part 4

27 Aug

Another stunning view we enjoyed was from the top of the Giau Pass……and the ascent wasn’t bad either….

The Giau Pass is known as one of the most beautiful Dolomites passes. It is famous not only because it was one of the stages of the Giro d’Italia, but also because during the year here take place some important competitions like the Ronde Dolomiti Bellunesi rally and the Maratona dles Dolomites, a single-day bicycle race.
Therefore it is not by chance that the Giau Pass is loved by cyclists and bikers, who enjoy the challenge of the difficult climb through endless hairpin turns up to the top, where many trekking trails begin. Here, after all this effort, you will be rewarded with a breathtaking view of the basin of Cortina d’Ampezzo, with the mountains Tofane, Croda Rossa, Pomagagnon, Croda del Lago, and further away the Tre Cime di Lavaredo and the Croda dei Toni. In summer the Giau pass is the starting point of the trekking trails that go up to peaks like the  Nuvolau, the Averau, the Cinque Torri or the Cernera. Here too passes the Haute Route n.1, that starts from Lake Braies and ends in Belluno. The Giau Pass, connecting Cortina to Selva di Cadore, is one of the most legendary among the passes of the Giro d’Italia. The road on the side of Selva di Cadore is especially known as one of the hardest to ride, while the road on the side of Cortina, while shorter, is challenging nonetheless. In winter ski lovers can take the Lagazuoi-Cinque Torri ski lifts, only two kilometers away from the pass. The Lagazuoi-Cinque Torri is the starting point of the First World War ski tour and of the Dolomiti Super Ski resort, and here skiers can enjoy the sky runs of the Val Zoldana too.
The Giau Pass is also the ideal place to practice snowkite, a still little known free ride discipline involving skis and a kite.

Obviously at the top there’s a shelter, and obviously owned by a biker…..

Down again the road, but on the other side of the mountain, we drove under a heavy sky towards others well known destinations….

Lake Misurina  is the largest natural lake of the Cadore and it is 1,754 mt above sea level.. The lake’s perimeter is 2.6 km long, while the maximum depth is 5 m. Near the lake there are about ten hotels with accommodation for around 500 people.The particular climatic characteristics of the area around the lake, make particularly good air for those who have respiratory diseases. Near the lake is the only center in Italy for the care of childhood asthma. Lake Misurina is where the speed skating events were held during the 1956 Winter Olympics of Cortina d’Ampezzo – the last time Olympic speed skating events were held on natural ice.

There are at least two different legends associated with Lake Misurina. In the first one, Misurina is a little capricious and spiteful girl who lives literally held in the palm of the hand of her gigantic father, the king Sorapiss that, to fulfill another desire and obtain for her the magic mirror from the Queen of Monte Cristallo, he is transformed into a mountain. During the last stages of the transformation he sees his daughter fall and her tears flow like rivers and form the lake beneath which his daughter will forever lie with the magic mirror. In the second one, Mesurina (who is later nicknamed) is a daughter of wealthy merchants from Venice who send her away in the mountains by her father anxious not to fulfill a prophecy that would see the girl give away all their possessions. Following some tragic amorous events than vaguely reminiscent of Romeo and Juliet, the girl dies, and she is recognized on the point of death by a lover whom she met in bloom and from whom she was brought away by deception from the stables of his father and a servant sent by him.

From there we drove through a valley up to one of the most famous places in the Italian Alps, on a toll road among deers, fawns and eagles up in the sky…..too bad I wasn’t quick enough with my camera….Hubby continued the tradition of having photos taken at all the highest points we visited….This is the shelter (2333 mt of altitude) at the base of all the possible ascents and via ferrata……

The Tre Cime di Lavaredo (Italian for “the three peaks of Lavaredo”), also called the Drei Zinnen (German, literally “three merlons”), are three distinctive battlement-like peaks, in the Sexten Dolomites. The three peaks, from east to west, are: Cima Piccola/Kleine Zinne (“little peak”) – Cima Grande/Große Zinne (“big peak”) – Cima Ovest/Westliche Zinne (“western peak”). The peaks are composed of well-layered dolostones of the Dolomia Principale (Hauptdolomit) formation, Carnian to Rhaetian in age, as are many other groups in the Dolomites. Until 1919 the peaks formed part of the border between Italy and Austria. Now they lie on the border between the Italian provinces of South Tyrol and Belluno and still are a part of the linguistic boundary between German-speaking and Italian-speaking majorities. The Cima Grande has an elevation of 2,999 metres (9,839 ft). It stands between the Cima Piccola, at 2,857 metres (9,373 ft), and the Cima Ovest, at 2,973 metres (9,754 ft). The first ascent of the Cima Grande was on August 21, 1869, by Paul Grohmann with guides Franz Innerkofler and Peter Salcher. The Cima Ovest was first climbed exactly ten years later, on August 21, 1879, by Michel Innerkofler with G. Ploner, a tourist. The Cima Piccola was first climbed on July 25, 1881, by Michel and Hans Innerkofler. The routes of these three first ascents are still the normal ascent routes; the Cima Piccola’s route is the most difficult of the three. Emilio Comici was the first to climb the north face of the Cima Grande in 1933 in a party of three, after an ascent time of 3 days and 2 nights. This partly overhanging northern face is considered by climbers to be one of the great north faces of the Alps.


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Posted by on August 27, 2014 in Uncategorized


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