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Julian Alps: ski mountaineering in Friuli

by Massimo Candolini
Julian Alps and ski mountaineering: a duo which respects the rules of the mountains, not those of this sport.

The height gains are significant and few access roads are cleared of snow during the long winter months. Mountain huts, open in winter, are few and far between. Isolation and solitude frequently reign. So what? It's the mountain which rules, not the skier.

Scialpinismo Alpi Giulie

If you want to explore this Italian mountain group then you have no choice other than to strap your skis on, fatigue through the deep snow, discover the frightful gullies and endure the long approaches.

It would be more correct to define it as being winter mountaineering with skis, in which the skis themselves are merely a means, not the end, to the outing. But don't regard this as a limit! On the contrary!

The outings cross thick forests to reach deep snowy basins, up steep gullies, possibly climbing past narrow, obligatory ledges. The descents are exciting, extremely varied, at times wide open, at times steep and narrow, down the occasional steep, rocky walled gully.

It's the mountains which breathe, deeply. But the images of their iced rocks, their twisted birch trees and their chamois herds all add up with the emotions of their summits, with the sweeping views from the Tauern in Austria (the Gross Glockner) to the Alpine foothills and even the sea. After shaking hands with your climbing partner, with whom you're shared the toils and fears of the ascent, you've now got all the emotions of a great descent, to be constructed curve after curve, confirmed by an ephemeral line in the snow and great personal satisfaction.

The itineraries published below are a good representation of the area, located in the Montasio, Jôf Fuart and Canin mountain groups. They can be reached from the Italian plain by taking the A23 motorway towards the major skiing resorts Tarvisio, Sella Nevea and Val Resia.

Ascending up to Sella Ursic or Forca de la Val you'll definitely meet others, and on your return you exchange experiences, drink some hot tea or have a plate of pasta at Rif. Gilberti or Casera Cregnedûl di Sopra. But these are exceptions. The only living beings you'll meet when ascending to Baba Grande or Forcella Mosè are chamois or the beautiful Rock Ptarmiga. There'll be no hot tea upon your return, other than that in your thermos flask.

Curtissons and Sella Nabois are itineraries suitable for nearly everyone, and all you need is a good level of fitness. Forcella Mosè and Baba Grande on the other hand require perfect skiing ability and favourable snow cover. But there are plenty of other classic, steep, wild and sunny itineraries in these mountains. For those in search of something a bit beyond the ordinary, come ski mountaineering in the Julian Alps.

Ski mountaineering Julian Alps
Tabacco foglio 19
Tabacco foglio 27
Carta del Parco Naturale delle Prealpi Giulie
Planina Zveza Slovenije, foglio 107
Alpi Giulie Gruppo del Montasio
Alpi Giulie Gruppo del Canin
Alpi Giulie Gruppo del Jof Fuart
Alpi Giulie Gruppo del Mangart - Jalovec
by Massimo Candolini
Ski mountaineering Julian Alps
Casera Cregnedûl di Sopra
(open in winter as of 2006, tel. +39 339 754 6742 - Mountain Guide Carlo Gasparini).

Rif. Grego
Close to Sella Sompdogna, open weekends and holidays. For inf : +39 349 1997876

Rif. Gilberti
Open in winter tel +39 0433 54015
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