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Dorset Army Cadets Expedition in the Dolomites

Thanks to a grant from The Connaught Trust, Dorset ACF enjoyed an incredibly successful expedition this summer. The Cadets threw themselves into the challenges the Dolomites have to offer, this combined with a carefully selected and very experienced instructional team resulted in a truly memorable week.

I threw myself into every challenge and disregarded all my worry, it made me think I was invincible.

The more experienced group did a combination of two via ferrata routes finishing on the spectacular summit of Mount Averau. The middle group headed for Cinque Torre for a refresher on basic climbing skills and an intro to the skulls required for multi pitch climbing. The third group went to the Hexenstien single pitch crag and covered climbing basics and got some miles on single pitch climbs, they also got to visit the very interesting WW1 museum.

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.

I was amazed that I had the physical and emotional strength to fight through some of the biggest heights I'd ever climbed in such temperatures and altitudes.

Next was the steady, but spectacular Waterfall route which negotiates a gorge complex just to the North of Cortina. The other Cadets went to Cinque Torre and did multi pitch climbing. This then completed the first 3 day rotation and gave the instructors all the information they needed to plan some adventures for the second 3 days!

I learned a ton of new skills like the correct way to belay and multi-pitch climb and even how to lead climb. It helped work on my personal challenges and become a stronger person. Everyone has been super friendly and always willing to help and it was such a breath-taking experience to do with all my friends.

Two groups 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.

Another group 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 others 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 group 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.

Being there brought out something that none of us even knew we had and it was amazing to share the opportunity I never thought I would have been fortunate to have. If I was asked to do it again I would say 1000% any day.

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