On the third day of our Cortina Epic Week we did Via Ferrata Galleria del Lagazuoi.
Our guide Enrico picked us up from the hotel in Cortina and drove us to Passo Falzarego (2105m).
Normally people take Funivia del Lagazuoi cable car up to Rifugio Lagazuoi (2752m) and descent through the WW1 Galleria tunnels. Not us.
We hiked the trail up to the bottom entrance of the tunnels. We put on our VF kits, turned our headlamps on, and climbed up the Lagazuoi mountain. It was a steep climb, but there were stair and ladders which helped a lot. It was dark, moist and cool inside the tunnels. Occasionally there were holes in the rock wall to serve as doorways or observation windows.
The tunnels are today a war museum. The Austrian troops were on top of the mountain. The Italian troops dug these tunnels from below and blew them up. Five mines were exploded in this 'war of the mines' in this mountain. We passed rooms for the soldiers and officers. There was also a machine gun.
Finally we arrived at the Rifugio. The views were amazing to all directions. We had a nice snack in the restaurant. The highest Finnish sauna of the Dolomites was just below the restaurant deck. You can reserve it if you want to use it. It was a hot sunny day, so we continued our journey.
There was a tall cross on the peak. We followed Sentiero dei Kaiserjäger down. It was the trail made by the Austrian troops. It wasn't too difficult, but the gravel surface felt a bit slippery in our running shoes. We hiked down carefully, watching every step. We saw a rescue helicopter fly to the top and wondered why. Later Enrico found out that someone following the same trail had lost balance and got injured.
We explored some trenches while going down. It was getting hotter. We had stashed juice, water and bread in the car. Finally we reached the parking lot. We sat down on the meadow to drink and eat. This had been about a 10km hike with +650m climbing. We explored around bit and drove back to Cortina.
As it was such a wonderful day, we took tons of photos. Also Enrico kindly presented us his photos on a memory stick. Therefore this has to be one of the longest blog posts ever! What can I say, another epic day.