Author Gillian Price tells a story of an alpine adventure and a new friendship whilst walking in the Stelvio National Park.
After a chilly night on the floor of a tiny alpine chapel under the watchful eye of the Madonna, (while Rifugio Larcher was undergoing reconstruction), Nicola and I were labouring up a steep narrow path. It was especially hard going due to the snow that had fallen overnight and hardened under our boots. The going was becoming slippery and we were seriously considering turning back, when we heard crunching sounds behind us, and up charged a cheery Italian mountaineer wearing heavy duty plastic glacier boots, and brandishing an ice axe and a big smile.
Following in his footsteps, we carefully reached the breathtaking La Forcola, a 3032-metre high pass looking down over vast glittering expanses of ice and snow that accompany the line-up of landmark Stelvio peaks such as the Cevedale and the fantastic Gran Zebrù. Roberto was thrilled we'd all made it! After drinking in the magnificence, we all but skipped downhill as in the meantime the warming sun had melted all the snow. Back down at Rifugio Larcher we drank a toast to our new friendship. As it turns out, he lives in a hilltown very close to us. An alpine adventure is a sure way to begin an important friendship.
La Forcola and Rifugio Larcher are visited in Walk 10 of Gillian's Walking in Italy's Stelvio National Park guidebook.