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Dorset ACF Reach New Heights on Dolomite Expedition

20 September 2023

Dorset ACF has concluded their highly successful Dolomites climbing expedition, with cadets embracing the captivating challenges of this remarkable region. A journey made possible with support from an ACCT UK grant.

With a skilled instructional team, the week became truly unforgettable. The weather was perfect, with temperatures in the mid-20s, promising a week of adventure. The advance party departed Dorchester on August 16th, enduring two days in a minibus filled with eclectic music and lively conversations, stopping overnight in Koblenz.

On the 17th of August, the advance party, led by the Expedition leader, two Regular Army instructors, and CFAV Lt Owens, reached Camping Olympia at 1700 hrs. The weather was perfect, with temperatures in the mid-20s, promising a week of adventure.

From the 18th of August, instructors scouted the area while the admin team set up catering facilities. On August 19th, excited Cadets and CFAVs arrived at the campsite. They received a briefing, their equipment, and were divided into groups, marking the start of their adventure.

On the 20th of August, a bright and clear dawn greeted them. The Cadets seized the opportunity to relish a traditional full English breakfast and prepared their packed lunches. And so, their journey began.

The more experienced group embarked on a combination of two via ferrata routes, culminating at the breath-taking summit of Mount Averau. The middle group made their way to Cinque Torre for a review of fundamental climbing skills and an introduction to the techniques required for multi-pitch climbing. Meanwhile, the third group headed to the Hexenstien single-pitch crag, delving into climbing fundamentals and gaining experience on single-pitch climbs. Additionally, they had the opportunity to explore the intriguing WW1 museum.

That evening the instructors got together and all agreed that the Cadets were determined, enthusiastic and picked up the many new skills very quickly. For the instructors this was their first time working with Army Cadets, although, interestingly most were former cadets!

The groups rotated with everyone doing some single pitch climbing or getting the skills needed for multi pitch climbing. Some doing their first multi pitch climb, with a spectacular abseil descent.

On the 23rd of August, two groups had acquitted themselves well on the via ferratas so went off to do the long, challenging and spectacular Truppen Alpini. They stormed up it in great style. From the top the group walked to the top of Lagazuoi for spectacular views and refreshments at a mountain refuge. Those with some energy left took the Grade 1 via ferrata back down through the amazing WW1 tunnels. Those who were quite reasonably sated got the ski lift down. The other group continued to develop their climbing skills.

The group that had climbed the previous day, went out and did their second via ferrata, a new Grade 2 route on the Hexenstien that ends a great opportunity to explore the preserved WW1 tunnels. For the other 2 groups it was mountain multi pitch day. One group did the classic Via Normal, a quality 5 pitch route on the Kline Falzarego Turn. This also allowed the students to experience a proper mountaineering descent, with abseils and lowers. The other groups did the 10 pitch Spigolo Alpini on Piramide di Col dei Bos. Which is a great route and a great experience. The day was topped off by the whole team going out for a well deserved pizza.

This trip was supported by ACCT UK Grant. If you are looking to take part in a similar expedition and need to fund your trip, you can apply today, here.

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