We finally got some snow so we set off to the Souiran pass this time with the snowshoes. Not bad. The weather was sunny but extremely windy to the point that standing up was sometimes tricky but it made the air as clear as a clear thing except for the blowing snow and the views were stunning.
Now I don’t actually spend much time on snow, horrible cold stuff that it is, so I’m not really au fait with avalanches and rock falls and stuff so sort of trust in Baldrick’s experience though I must admit I have read just about everything there is to read on the subject on the net. Of course we check the avalanche bulletin before setting out but stupidly it’s only published every Monday, Wednesday and Friday and not at the weekend at all which of course is when most people actually get onto the mountains. I suppose the weathermen need days off too. Bertolaso (head of the civil protection) had a hissy fit because people were being irresponsible and heading into the mountains despite the warnings. Well mate before you spout off, you try getting accurate, up-to-date, local information about the snow conditions. Even an accurate weather forecast usually seems somewhat of a chimera. If you want people to go into the mountains responsibly, make the information available to everyone easily and clearly. Get friggin’ organized. We did look at the avalanche bulletin which was issued Friday for the Sunday and not modified despite a dramatic change in the weather and there seemed to be no problem which is why we set off. I spent a good half an hour too hunting out the information that was not there. Then when we got back we find that, in keeping with the countrywide tradition of ‘closing the stable door’ so loved by Italian Institutions, that the risk of avalanche was extremely high and probably even record breaking and in fact a rescue party trying to find some snowshoers got avalanched to death in Trentino hence Bertolaso’s annoyance.
Anyway, it was obvious even to a layman that our
snow was not going anywhere but even so we spaced well out and kept an eye above and on each other so we managed to get to the pass safely and easily. There was not enough snow to make things dangerous though I don’t think I would undertake the trip with substantial depths of snow. The biggest threat seemed to be from rock falls as the sun thawed the ice but nothing untoward happened.
Looking at the slopes above us though, it did bring hom
e just how easy it would be to get zapped by falling snow. It’s hard to imagine that that mountain you are so familiar with could produce a fatal avalanche. But then of course anyone who underestimates the mountains and doesn’t take the proper precautions is a fool. Hope these are not famous last words.