Sunday. Today we’re making our way to the beautiful rifugio San Marco, where we’ll be based for the next few days.
Ever since my first visit many years ago, after a particularly long day in wet treacherous conditions, coming from rifugio Vandelli via ferrata Vandelli, when Andy and I arrived after almost all the dinner guests had left the table, and we were served and looked after with the greatest care, this hut has been one of my favourites!
Since then I’ve stopped here many times with many friends on many trips and always felt the same welcome!
The Ossi family have been the hut keepers for multiple generations. Tania, who is the current driving force behind the hut, is supported by her dad Marino and mum Nonna. Since my first visit, and the start of a great friendship, Tania has married Edi and they’ve had two great little children, Emma and Marino.
Apart from the fact that this is an idyllic little rifugio with stunning views across Antelao and Pelmo, it is also a great halfway stop or starting point for doing the Giro del Sorapiss, which involves, in either direction, starting at rifugio San Marco, climbing via ferrata Berti, overnight at rifugio Vandelli, climbing via ferrata Vandelli, then overnight at rifugio San Marco. Or you can start and end at rifugio Vandelli. Climbing excursions to Punta Sorapiss, Antelao, as well as to Torre dei Sabbioni and Cima Bel Pra are also undertaken from here.
Things don’t go so well for us on our way to the hut. We get stuck in traffic thanks to roadworks and the next thing I know we’re at the bus stop in San Vito. We jump off, and as we stand at the bus stop and watch the bus depart I realise my helmet is still on the bus. I try to phone the bus company, but their office does not reopen until Monday morning. Deciding this is a problem I can deal with later, we start walking up towards the chairlift which takes you to rifugio Scotter-Palatini and saves you at least 45 minutes walk, but, due to a rockfall which wiped out the bridge on the approach road (as well as went through the roof of the rifugio) neither chairlift nor shuttle service is operating! Leaving us no option other than to walk… in the heat, and with packs containing climbing gear and via ferrata kit in addition to our clothes, etc…
Thankfully, rifugio Scotter-Palatini has reopened so we were able to get some cold drinks before continuing on our way to San Marco! We also discover along the way that the bridge has been rebuilt, but not yet reopened to general traffic, and avalanche / rockfall defences have been erected above the hut protecting it from future rockfall or landslides. Hopefully this means normal service will resume in the near future!
The wonderful warm welcome from everyone at rifugio San Marco, the views as the sun set across the surrounding peaks, and the ice cold Radler made up for the long hot walk with heavy packs! And the dinner, cooked by the master chef, Nonna, made for the end of another perfect day!