Our first Via Ferrata (= Iron Way, referring to steel cables, pins and ladders) was Maria e Andrea Ferrari, going +150m up Ra Bujela. It's a steep rock tower between Cortina and Tofana di Rozes peak. The ascent is from the east side and the descent west. The first part is difficult, the middle part is easy with a couple of tricky spots, and the last part is easy. The route is only rated as 'medium' or 'moderately difficult', but if you can't do the first climb, you obviously won't be able to make it at all.
Actually we planned to do VF Col dei Bos on that day (Tuesday, 5 July). We hiked a long way there just to realize it was full packed with a queue to the start. As we like to move relatively quickly and passing would be difficult, we had no choice but to descend back to our car a few km away. Our guide Paolo had an idea of a great plan B: Bujela!
Ra Bujela (= needle in local dialect) is 10 minutes uphill hike from Rifugio Duca d'Aosta. There is also Piè Tofana chairlift, but we didn't use it. The vertical overhanging start was indeed challenging. We managed to climb this exposed part without major problems. Feeling a bit nervous, I probably wasted some upper body strength though. After all this was the first time ever we used a VF kit (lanyard, harness, helmet, gloves). I was definitely out of my comfort zone, but it was kind of the purpose of our visit. If you want to feel 100% comfortable, stay at home!
In the middle section there are two bridges. After a while you arrive at a fork: the right cable leads to the summit, and the left to the finish down on the meadow. We climbed to the peak for photos and then had a simple snack break below.
After the finish we hiked to the Pomedes hut nearby and took a little detour down to the car. What a fantastic first challenge of our Epic Week! My old untrusty Suunto Ambit1 lost all data files of the two first days, but if memory serves it hiked about 10km with +650m climbing that day. We were very happy.