Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Forcella Capra Hike

Monte Raut's distinctive promontory is visible for miles across the coastal plain, like a mini-Gibraltor with sheer rock walls on the southwestern side.  Raut is the southernmost massif of the Carnic Alps, a range stretching all the way up into Austria's Carinthia region.  Then from Monte Raut south to the Adriatic Sea is flat as a billiard table.    

I drove to Pala Barzana (840 meters) and began hiking north, climbing through pleasant woodland.  Crossing a heavily-eroded open area I encountered an elderly Alpino veteran, with grey beard and green feathered cap, green coat and a heavy wooden staff.  Later I looked back and he was perched on a ledge overlooking misty Andreis, a very pretty view. 

Before long the steep slope emerges from the forest and you're climbing through grassland.  After awhile you reach the dreaded Vallonit, a scree slope you clamber up gaining 300 meters of elevation.  I didn't mind going up this as much as descending- very tricky.   Along the way low flying clouds moved in and obscured the sun.   Eventually I reached some cliffs and traversed past a tiny cave, which I kept in mind in case I needed shelter from a hailstorm.  After this I found a handy via ferrata cable bolted into the steep rocky route for maybe 80 meters- very helpful.  

Back on the alpine pillow grass slope I joined a trail ascending the ridge from Pian delle Merie near Poffabro.   Things soon got steeper and rockier again on the final 300 meters or so of hiking/scrambling up to the dorsal ridge of Forcella Capra at 1824 meters.  Even with the cloud/fog the view was impressive: the summit of Monte Raut (2025 meters) further west on the semi-circular dorsal.  To the north Crenal de Basson with the trail leading down to Lago Ca Selva (my next route to attempt Monte Raut).  

I descended slowly because the outboard side of my left knee was aching and I was afraid I'd wrench it.  Everything went well though and no injuries- left leg just needs a day off tomorrow.  This is a wonderful wild area so close to home it's a shame not to come back.  Maybe I'll try a little snowshoeing from Lago Ca' Selva this winter.

Orangish-red berries covering trees below Il Vallonit

My hailstorm shelter cave; note the concrete Disney dwarf figure
someone hauled up this slope and mounted on a concrete base! 

The trail coming up from Pian delle Merie

This cross is above a high vertical cliff facing southeast 

The "back" side of Monte Raut summit

To reach the summit you must scramble up this steepish rock;
maybe next time I'll have enough energy/courage

Crenal de Basson to the north

Ruins of Casera di Pala Barzana dairy

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