This afternoon I repeated my efforts to photograph Cimon della Pala. I felt like luck was with me today, for various trivial reasons not worth mentioning but nevertheless noteworthy to me. Again I parked at Passo Rolle and skied up the ski slopes in the midst of the clouds. Sure enough, halfway up the slopes I could see some clearings and soon the Cimon della Pala broke out of the clouds in all its glory!
I didn’t get the wild orange light and swirling clouds of Monday, but what the hell, I’m stoked. Is this an epic scene or what??!! It looks like some peaceful snowy meadows just got shafted by a pissed off chunk of earth!
The low clouds rolled in at sunset, but I waited for while anyways. They broke again later at dusk, revealing the Pala in the mist.
It would be cool if I could show a series of all the photos I took this evening. These are only a few that I picked from the batch. Throughout this week I’ve noticed how the clouds open and close around these peaks, and I know that this area would be a paradise for time-lapse photographers!
I’m finally feeling satisfied with my time in San Martino, and to be honest I am also at this point satisfied with dedicating so much effort to photography… time for some snowboarding! Tomorrow morning I’m headed to Arabba for the opening day of the ski hill there… hopefully there should be plenty of powder waiting for me!
I am in the town of San Martino di Castrozza this week. I was here during my first visit to the Dolomites six years ago, and this was one of my favorite spots. The Dolomites boast many amazing jagged peaks, but the peaks of the Pale di San Martino range are impressive even by Dolomiti standards. And perhaps the most impressive of these peaks is Cimon della Pala, a rugged 3184m peak that towers over Passo Rolle and the town of San Martino far below. I’ve never seen a peak that has so many faces as the Cimon… depending on your altitude and angle of view the shape of the peak morphs into entirely difference profiles and characters. Here’s a photo of the same peak in the summertime, from a different angle, for example.
Today I scored one of my all-time best powder days! More on that below.
Anyhow, six and a half years after climbing via ferrate routes around Cortina d’ Ampezzo and the Dolomites in the summertime, I have returned… this time for winter! Yesterday I took a tram up to the Refugio d’ Faloria, a plush hut situated on the edge of a huge cliff about 900m (3000 ft.) above the town of Cortina. I spent the night up there, enjoying not only a primo view of Cortina, but also a slopeside location to kick off the ski area’s opening day on Saturday.
Sunrise on Monte Cristallo. Though it was dumping snow all day on Friday, Saturday brought bluebird skies.
Moon over the town of Engelberg, Switzerland. This town is situated in a deep flat valley with steep rugged peaks soaring over 6,000 vertical feet above. The slopes around town are still green and winter doesn’t seem to have set in around here too much yet, at least compared to what I’ve seen at Andermatt or Zermatt this last week.
UPDATE: My Swiss recon trip was a success… I found a sweet studio apartment to rent in Engelberg! I will have it from January through April. I am very relieved to have gotten this sorted out, since I was constantly thinking/worrying about where would be the best place to live and whether or not I’d be able to find an apartment, which is not easy this time of year. And after one week in Switzerland I knew that simply traveling around all winter would not be a viable or affordable option. As always, there is never a “perfect” place so it was just a matter of finding somewhere that felt right. And best of all, Engelberg is pretty much the closest ski area to Claudia in Freiburg – 3 hours by train. Now that the recon and rental search is over, I am free to enjoy the rest of November and December without worries!
After my time in Zermatt, I caught a train to Andermatt, a tiny Swiss town surrounded by very skiable-looking mountains in all directions. This place has been high on my list of bases for the winter, so I wanted to check it out asap.
Just to state the obvious, this is one of the most awesome peaks in the world. I’ve seen thousands of photos of it, but photos don’t do it justice. It’s one of those mountains that blows your mind when you see it in person.
The last few days I’ve been enjoying my first days on the snowboard this season in Zermatt, Switzerland… and powder days no less! Above is a view from the ski area looking down at the town far down below in the valley.