Friday, July 22, 2016

Cortina Epic Week Part 7: Lago Sorapiss

Sunday was the last full day of our Cortina Epic Week 2016. Time certainly flies when you are having fun! The weather was incredibly gorgeous again in the morning, but a rainshower was forecast around 3pm. We wanted to run to Lago di Sorapiss and get back before any possibility of rain.

When we ran to this lake last summer we simply took a bus from Cortina to Passo Tre Groci and ran along trail 212 to the lake and back. This time we took the Funivia Faloria cable car by Cortina bus station to Rifugio Faloria at 2123 meters.

Faloria is still advertised at the cable car station as 'Stallone Cliffhanger Lodge'. The movie by Finnish director Renny Harlin wasn't really our primary reason to go there. We were interested in the awesome trails and mountains views all around the Sorapiss (3205m) range.

The blue skies had lured lots of people and first cable car up at 9am was full. Luckily we got in and soon we were at the start of trail 213. We had a map, but the trails are so well marked that we just followed the markings. On the map it looked easy and straightforward, but in real life it was a slow struggle up the steep ski slopes. We didn't carry trekking poles in our minimalistic Ultimate Direction running vests, but in hindsight that wouldn't have been a terrible idea.

The clear views of sunny Mt Cristallo were on our left as we ran and the shadows of Sorapiss were on the right. After a few km were arrived at a trail intersection. We chose trail number 216 to Lake Sorapiss. But first there was this huge mountain pass to climb over to the other side.

We managed to climb up the steep pass without troubles, trying not slide down with the gravel and loose rocks. There were lots of local hikers everywhere. After the pass we encountered some exposed sections equipped with cables, but there was no need for Via Ferrata gear. Soon we saw the first glimpse of the brilliant turquoise lake. The gravel in the downhill trail was very slippery, and it took us over an hour to reach the lake. Better safe than sorry.

Finally we saw the familiar trail 212 leading to the lake a few hundred meters away. It was hot and I was going to swim for sure. The shorelines were full of hikers enjoying their brunch. I dived into the cold waters of the lake and felt instantly refreshed. Then we sat on rocks and consumed our food and drink reserves. This unique glacial lake at 1925m was surrounded by peaks like Dito di Dio (Finger of God). The midday scenery looked once again fantastic and the sun was still shining.

There is an old legend about King Sorapiss and his impulsive daughter Misurina. An evil witch promised her a magic mirror as a reward for providing shade to her house. The deal had to be honoured by the king, who turned himself into Mt Sorapiss. Later Misurina shedded many tears creating the magic mirror of Lake Sorapiss by he mountain king father.

The return run to Passo Tre Groci would have been more runnable thanks to several improvements along trail 212, but it was way too crowded with hikers. We filled our bottles with glacial melting water at the same stream as last summer. We were easily on time for the 3pm bus back to Cortina. It just started to rain as predicted as we hopped on the bus. Soon we were back in our hotel without getting too wet. We didn't need a guide for this trailrun, but later that evening we had a dinner with Enrico from to celebrate our successful week, which had exceeded our wildest expectations.

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