Twenty four hours – Pollino in Winter (Part II)

After a short and windy night I packed my bag and left the bivouac about an hour and a half before dawn. Yesterday’s wet snow was frozen trough again, and the large puddles of meltwater were all covered with ice. After having failed to reach the summit before sunset it would be fine to attend the sunrise on top of Monte Pollino.

With crampons on the feet progress was much faster than the evening before, and with the stars beginning to fade from the early morning sky the final crest was already within reach. Nonetheless, the overall conditions were not a bit less obstructive than I had figured from below: long passages of exposed and iced scree and rock, frozen tufts of grass – and only little snow. Some of the narrow gullies were still passable without major problems, though.

Once more, magical moments with the world around slowly emerging from the dark with the mountains taking shape again before the eye, with the sky continuously changing colors and the first ray of sunlight igniting the whole scenery in a flash of glittering crystals.

After a short stay on the summit I decided to descend on the master route and check the conditions on the southern slopes and the southern dolina. Indeed, this side of the mountain was almost devoid of snow with only smaller spots and streak in some hidden recesses.

The descent was made quick and, after traversing the beech forests, I reached ‘Colle d’Impiso’ almost exactly twenty-four hours from my departure the morning before.