The previous post explained our lack of experience hiking in Europe so today we hired a guide. We hired Marcello Cominetti via www.dolomitemountains.com. Hiring a guide was a little complicated when I was going through the process. It seems like most foreign tourists do a package tour when coming to the area but we were only looking to hire a guide for 3 days. I took care of lodging, food, transportation, etc to save on cost. The main problem I had was the cost of about 400 euro per day for the guide. To me this seemed pretty steep but after more research and talking with Marcello this was about right.
The Mountain Guide Association, which Marcello is a member, regulates the cost guides can charge based on the climb you do. For example, a very hard sport climb might only take an expert only an hour to do but would cost 600 euros for a guide because of the difficulty. That same climb might take someone 6 hours but the cost would still be 600 euros. The climbing we did wasn’t hard or technical which is why the cost was less. I’m sure you could find someone who would take you out cheaper but do you really want to literarily put your life in the hands of an amateur. My recommendation, hire Marcello!!
We also upped the adrenaline factor on our climb today. We met our guide at the base of a famous bit of rock near Cortina, Cinque Torri or 5 Towers in english. It didn’t look that daunting driving up the dusty single lane dirt road but it was a different story once we got to the base. The locals call this place “The Airport” because so many people come here to climb because there are many easy routes. We didn’t think it looked that easy but we got all geared up with climbing harnesses, ropes, helmets, etc and heading to the start of our climb.
After a brief safety talk our guide started straight up the rock. While we were waiting for him to get into place, I got one of those looks from Miki. You know, one of those “what the heck have you gotten me into now looks”.
There was no turning back now so we pressed on…
I didn’t get my camera out for most of the climb because it was pretty challenging for us. Marcello just walked up the thing like he was talking a stroll in the park but we struggled from time to time. BUT… we made it and we felt very, very proud of ourselves.
Being very proud of our accomplishment I wanted to try to portray the enormity of our accomplishment. We had climbing several hundred meters straight up. Once we reached the summit we abseiled down several abseil stations (one length of route can’t reach from top to bottom). This is hard to capture in a photo but I used a 12mm wide angle lens that gave an almost distorted perspective of the side we abseiled down. If you zoom in you can see a climber in a red jacket about 3/4 of the way up. Looks impressive huh…
The next day we hiked up a mountain opposite the 5 Towers. This gave us a very different perspective on the mountain we conquered (also pictured at the top of the post). Doesn’t look that challenging from this perspective. In fact it looks down right easy. A little change in perspective can make a big difference.