The Last of the Lagorai
— text by Leonardo Panizza, pictures by Elisa Bessega
For as long as possible without refuges or camps.
When we discovered that the redeveloping which regards Lagorai was already underway we knew we had to leave right away. There was no time left. 2019 was likely one of the last years when it would be possible to cross the wild mountain range in total freedom, without refuges or camps.
So, Elisa started drying and curing her meals and energy bars in order to save weight and space in the backpacks. Grain and vegetable soups, lentils, pumpkin and cocoa and coconut bars without any packaging weighed 1.5 kg, avoiding plastic and totally eliminating waste.
We started from Passo Rolle with the sun, and making our way in the woods we were impressed by the sense of freedom. Lagorai attracts a slower and lesser impact tourism compared to the nearby Dolomites. There are only a few small mountain cottages which bring milk to the valley in order to make cheese, and few discreet refuges respectful of the silence that characterizes the thousands of square metres of stone quarries, woods and pastures.
We were immediately taken by a large expanse of porphyry rock and we found ourselves in the presence of the highest peak of the entire group called Cima Cece.
After the first night under a starry sky we spent three days straight under a downpour. We tried to wake up in the wee hours attempting to take advantage of the calm, but the rain plagued us, relentlessly, forcing us to rethink our planned stops. Time after time we were forced to evaluate the best solution based on our conditions and the risks involved. While close to Cima Litegosa we witnessed the first snowfall, and after 44 of our planned 80 kilometres we were forced to abandon our path at high altitude and descend into the valley.
The mountain won’t do what you want it to do.
While walking in the dark along the forest trail which brings you to town, we asked ourselves if we were doing the right thing. If there had been refuges would our experience have been different? We would have been drier, more comfortable, but deep down what would have changed? We wouldn’t have lived the real mountain, which demands constant and independent decision-making skills, as well as being flexible and ready to know when to give up.
The mountain won’t do what you want it to do. It shouldn’t all be about success. Giving up teaches us that deep down we are but raindrops that fall into a large lake. The camps we found while on our path were very useful rest points especially in times of bad weather; necessary and sufficient points in order to travel through Translagorai independently.
We have to humbly accept our small size and fragility and not let it affect our will to explore the world. Lagorai teaches us that.
Elisa Bessega – Mountaineer and photographer, she lives spending as much time as possible in contact with nature and brings her passion for self-sufficiency and no waste policy to the mountains with her.
Leonardo Panizza - Combines his love for the mountains with that for writing, finding inspiration from the Trentino territory. As a psychologist, he works as an educator and participates in mountain therapy groups.
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