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The Dolomites In Winter & Summer, Friday Meeting: Jan 7th 2005

By Brian Richards

Lyn began his talk by explaining how he joined the skiing multitudes from a background of rock climbing and mountaineering and a lifetime of instructing outdoor activities. His first ski trip and many subsequent trips have been to the Dolomites and his delight and knowledge of the region was evident throughout his talk.

Amply employing a selection of slides, his theme was how to enjoy the Sella Ronda ski circuit, with suggestions as to exploring peripheral areas. A mixture of winter and summer photographs, most from the same view point, illustrated activity options available during the different seasons. A multitude of skiing areas and options were suggested. For the summer months gentle to more energetic walks were suggested and for the adventurous the Via Ferrata. Unfortunately this writer failed to keep up with the flow of information... pen and paper might have been helpful!

A clockwise circuit of the Sella Ronda was recommended, the length of the circuit, including both ski lifts and ski runs being 40km. The time spent in lifts is about 2 hours altogether, without counting the time spent queuing for them or having a rest in one of the mountain refuges/cafes. He suggested not start the circuit later than 10a.m. Obviously the earlier the start, the less stress and doubts concerning the time of lift closures and reaching the final pass. Lyn recommended that you should reach the last pass by 3.30p.m. otherwise you may/will miss the last skilift because they close between 4 and 4.30p.m. The official closing time of all the pistes being 5.00p.m.

The Via Ferrata, originally built in the 1914 - 18 war for military purposes, consists of metal ladders, bridges and 'roped' walkways up the vertical sides of many Dolomite peaks. They are graded for difficulty and Lyn's photographs indicated that a good head for heights and stout shoulders are a definite 'must' for the more strenuous passages. Photographs of Lyn's companion crossing cable bridges, which swayed gently and with a 500m drop below, held one's attention. If interested, a guidebook grading the routes is available and essential.

Many thanks to Lyn for the time and effort he put into organising his slides and for the information he provided. His enthusiasm for the region was evident to all present. A most enjoyable and informative evening.