Rifugio Ospitale, Cortina – Grosse Fanesalm
Woke up early in Cortina to a clear blue sky, no wind and warm temperatures. The first part of the day we would be accompanied by Fabio – the boot-guru, Jamie from Monocle Magazine and his photographer for the day; James.
We had brought wooden skis from Ronning Ski with bindings dedicated to regular hiking boots. The winter had been unusually strong with snow still stretching far down the valleys, so we basically strapped on our skis from the starting point. Skiing with such bindings was a new experience for all of us, and it worked surprisingly well.
The first part took us up a path through the forest. At several spots we had to make detours as big recent avalanches blocked our path. There was a good reason to why we would not meet any people out in the Dolomites this time of year. Even the mountain guides stayed away now, but we had gotten friendly advice from local mountain guide Gerd Heiter who had helped us plot out a fairly safe route through the high faces and deep valleys.
As the trees got more scattered we got grand views of the Dolomites shooting straight up on all sides. We found a good spot for lunch – lots of pancetta in the pan accompanied by Salami, Parmesan and a glass of Italian red wine.
After lunch we said goodbye to Jamie, James and Fabio, and continued up towards the high mountains. A couple of rather big avalanches showed their strength on the other side of the valley as we ascended – reminding us not to take any risks what so ever.
After 10-hour ski-touring, we reached Grosse Fanesalm hütte. A small shelter we had been told might be open. We were relieved to the find the door unlocked. This small hütt offered a a bunk bed, a bench and a table. We fired up the old Italian fireplace and cooked our steaks and pasta brought from Montebelluna – the extra weight is usually worth it!