Epiphany, all holidays take away... Yes, but only the holidays!
The 2023 excursions, on the other hand, begin today, a few kilometers from Passo Staulanza, towards Selva di Cadore, to be precise in Palùi. Adventure companion is the legendary Tomaso who accompanies me in today's coveted destination: the Mondevàl.
We park the car in the Palùi picnic area about a hundred meters after the Baita Flora Alpina, on the right towards Selva di Cadore. The clearing is large, but it is necessary to arrive early enough in the morning to win a comfortable place for the car. The temperature is below zero, three degrees below to be exact. The sun, still hidden by the mountains, and the humidity present did not allow us to prepare ourselves in the best way for departure. Once you have tied your boots and shouldered your rucksack, we set off towards the mule track that climbs clearly visible towards the north.
We begin to climb this ridge, called "Le Stroppe", thanks to a wide track, which climbs up with a gentle slope. We are surrounded by splendid fir trees, the ground is covered in snow, well marked in the central part. With us we have the faithful crampons, inevitable this season and, above all, indispensable in some stretches where the presence of ice does not allow surefootedness.
A series of comfortable hairpin bends make us quickly gain the comfortable height difference. Among the fronds we manage to have splendid views of the Civetta. We soon reach a long straight road from which we notice the peaks of Cima Ambrizzola and the less recognizable one, on the side we are on, of Becco di Mezzodì. Thus we arrive at the Rio Cordon which we easily cross on a comfortable bridge and reach a crossroads where we rejoin the CAI 466 track.
A clear series of CAI signs notify us of all the magnificent destinations that surround us. We continue north and, from here, the climb becomes slightly more pronounced. After a few minutes we arrive at the Casera Mondevàl de Sot. From here a spectacular panorama begins to take shape on the Civetta with Monte Crot next to it, which appears on the left. We are at an altitude of 1830 meters, we continue on the track until we come out completely from the wooded flora. We rejoin the CAI 465 path which leads to the Forcella Giau bypassing the top of Mount Mondevàl. Here a thin wooden bridge awaits us which allows us to cross the Rio Mondevàl, which will join the Rio Cordon a few hundred meters further downstream.
Now begins the most decisive part of the climb, without however any critical issues from a technical point of view and not even from the point of view of the gradient. Thanks to the panorama that changes step by step and discovers new views, the 200 meters in altitude to reach the overpass at an altitude of 2150 meters can be comfortably interspersed with a few breaks to fully enjoy the fantastic view! Pelmo and Pelmetto begin to show themselves more and more forcefully in their unmistakable form, the Civetta stands out more and more isolated, Mount Crot connects these two majestic peaks with an imaginary line. The roundup of peaks ends with Col Duro and, behind it, Becco di Mezzodì.
We wedge ourselves between two large boulders and exit onto a heart-warming opening: in front of us are the Lastoi de Fornim, the Spiz de Mondevàl and the Cima Ambrizzola which anticipates the Croda da Lago in all its splendour. A small stone confirms the right way forward with a clear red arrow and the wording "Mondevàl". We deviate in a north-westerly direction on a route with an abundance of snow, sometimes compact and crumbly in others. The sun is now at the highest point in the sky, the heat is felt and even the snow is starting to melt. Even the most popular traces sink and, even if only slightly, slow down our pace. Fortunately, the path remains at altitude, indeed, it loses some altitude. We find the Rio Mondevàl again, its waters meandering among the accumulations of snow and we always continue with our heads held high to rejoice in the splendid panorama. The depression ends at a large boulder with an almost cubic shape with a sprinkle of snow that whitens the tip.
Selva di Cadore, Veneto, Italy
Baita Flora Alpina
Here we are! Here is the prehistoric site of Mondevàl, discovered in 1985 by Vittorino Cazzetta. This place represents an important discovery and a unicum for the ancient prehistory of high altitudes in the southern Alpine slope. Here, in the ancient phase of the Mesolithic (9500-6700 years BC), the projecting walls of the boulder were used by the last prehistoric hunter-gatherers as a shelter. Remains of stone tools, remains of animal meals, processing waste and a pavement with a hearth have made it possible to assign the presence of these populations with certainty. In the following centuries, in the recent Mesolithic (6700-5500 years BC) the same site was used as a burial place for a man of about 40 years of age, accompanied by a rich funerary outfit. Other findings have made it possible to identify camps of shepherds during the Bronze Age, up to the last recognized attendance around the late ancient and early medieval period, to which the remains of a pavement and a series of dry stone walls can be attributed they made it possible to seal the stratification of the relics of previous eras to bring them up to the present day!
The site, given the insufficiency of information tables and details on the finds, despite being rich in history, fails to fully exploit the importance of the discovery. In fact, despite knowing exactly where the Mesolithic tomb was, we had difficulty finding the only descriptive table present. However, regardless of these perplexities, it is incredible how in the course of history this place so small, so remote, has gathered under its protection different peoples in eras so distant from each other. Who knows if they too, at dusk, at the end of a day of hunting or hard work with the cattle, have ever raised their eyes to Mount Pelmo and Mount Civetta, dreaming of reaching their peaks.
We continue on the track that changes to a slight slope and, in about 3 hours from the start, we reach today's final destination: the Casera di Mondevàl de Sora. From here we can enjoy the spectacular 360-degree panorama: in front of us the Pelmo, Crot and Civetta with the sun high in the sky between the two silhouettes, moving to the left we find the snow-free Becco di Mezzodì, then Forcella Ambrizzola which leads directly to he peak of the same name and allows you to catch a glimpse of Croda da Lago. Spiz di Mondevàl and the end of Lastoi de Formin until you complete the circle on Mount Mondevàl dotted with sinuous lines created by a series of ski mountaineers who enjoyed crossing it.
We stop to admire all this, we could proceed towards Lago delle Baste but we will certainly find it frozen and it would lose the poetry of reflecting the Pelmo in its waters. We therefore mark the new destination for an upcoming spring excursion and walk back along the same route as the outward journey.
The return is constantly kissed by the sun that beats down undisturbed. Several ski mountaineers reach our path after having fun on Col Duro in front of Becco di Mezzodì. We reach the ridge and plunge headlong (the slope invites us to do so!) and in a very short time we return to Mondevàl de Soto almost sweaty from the persistent heat. After the Rio Cordon we enter the bush again which refreshes us with a nice fresh breeze. The sun goes down quickly given the winter season and disappears behind the fronds. When we reach the Val Fiorentina the last rays of the Pelmo dye a bright tone heralding the enrosadira.
Returning to the parking lot we notice how the temperature has changed suddenly without the presence of the sun and with a few gusts of icy wind: the snowflakes on the ground have become sharp blades and the degrees are well below zero. So, like in the morning, getting back into civilian clothes is also challenging!
Thus concludes a splendid excursion to discover an archaeological site that has remained dormant for thousands of years. A place offered by Nature, borrowed and adapted by man who has always known how to get the best out of it based on the historical periods in which he has been the protagonist. An excursion suitable for everyone, since there are no technical difficulties. An adventure especially suitable for lovers of the history-mountain combination who see in these finds the essence of life at high altitudes. The discovery of these places proves that exploration in the mountains is never in vain and allows you to relive more or less known places with different eyes.
Tourist - Itinerary on narrow streets, mule tracks or wide paths. The routes are generally not long, do not present any orientation problems and do not require specific training if not the typical one of the walk.