Alta Via 2 or
“Where’s there a cable when you need one?”

Summer in the Dollies

 

Our trip to the Dollies this year was one of the most awesome and challenging visits we could have hoped for. Not only from the terrain but also from the weird and wonderful weather that we experienced!

 

September weather in the Dolomites is normally (and I quote) :-

“The summer months (mid-July through September) have warm temperatures and plenty of sun – perfect for hiking, climbing, via ferrata, and cycling trips!”

However this year the Dollies decided to throw just about every weather condition possible at us ranging from 30c and brilliant sunshine whilst climbing the Via Ferrata to, within a couple of days, minus 3 and 6 inches of snow. We had gone for a warm summer holiday and ended up with a winter wonderland. It was weird, unnatural and quite, quite wonderful.

Andrea

 

We began our adventure high up in the mountains at Selva Di Val Gardena where our guide, the brilliant Andrea, picked us up and took us to the famous V.F. Brigata Tridentina situated in the Sella mountain range.

 

Suspension bridge

This is one of the most popular routes and is a strenuous climb of some three hours up a sheer rock face to the highlight of a shaky suspension bridge crossing a deep gorge and onto the Rifugio Pisciadu. Here we were able to refresh ourselves with beer and take a few moments to recover before we began the descent downwards.

Cables and zig-zags

This in itself was a challenge, with cables at the start, and then an almost vertical zig-zag path downwards. A truly fabulous day and one which tested us both physically and mentally. And of course if you saw the pictures on facebook, it also managed to damage my legs – but there’s no point in pain if you don’t have the evidence lol.

The next part of our adventure began at Bressanone/Brixen where we met up with our lovely guide Lindsay and the rest of the group for the Alta Via 2 trek. Here we were lulled into a false sense of security as we stayed in a 4-star hotel, wining and dining in comfort for the first night!

However, reality soon took hold as the next morning we packed our rucksacks with everything we needed to begin an eight day unsupported trek high in the Dolomites. Our group consisted of seven women and Bob, (he enjoys these sort of outings as the lone male in a estrogen fuelled environment).

A lovely summers day!

Sadly the weather was on the turn with rain accompanying us for most of the day, and by the evening we had hail, thunderstorms and finally snow. Most of us were convinced that we would be stuck in our first rifugio for a few days. Rising early in the morning we were greeted by 6 inches of snow, but this didn’t stop us from moving on.

Snow, snow glorious snow

Trekking in snow is a wonderful, albeit hard, experience and the next few days involved snow and treacherous icy conditions. This was alleviated to an extent by the refugio’s we came across during the trek which supplied hot chocolate, coffee and various other beverages, plus of course the ubiquitous CAKE.  No trip with Tracks and Trails would be complete without coffee and cake!!!!

A handy cable

The weather did improve as the week progressed, but the terrain remained tough and unyielding. Many of the passes involved cables, ladders and lots and lots of scrambling. If you don’t like exposure, then this may not be the walk for you. If however, you like to feel your heart racing, your pulse unnaturally fast and your breathing coming in short gasps then I would highly recommend this trek. It was fabulous, very scary at times when the ice had you in its grip, or when the way down was extremely steep and slippery, or the way ahead just a rocky outcrop with a single cable between you and eternity! But we made it thanks to Lindsay, she single handedly led us across the most uncompromising terrain and always kept us on course.

Rifugio Pradidali

The refugios we stayed in each night were all unique, situated in the most glorious positions high in the Dollies. The views were to die for (not literally, although there were times when I did wonder!) and the food they supplied was exceptional when you think of their situations and accessibility.

All in all, this was an experience to remember. We travelled through some beautiful landscapes, the stark uncompromising Dolomites with their sheer cathedral like spires, the changing colours of the rock as the sun shone on it,  the meadows with the sound of cow-bells tinkling in the background, small villages and friendly inhabitants.

And most of all the group we walked with. Thank you all for your friendships and company over a varied and magnificent trek. It is an experience Bob and I will always remember.

So now to the question of –

“WHAT DO WE DO NEXT…..?”

Any comments on the blog can be left below.

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Alta Via 2 - Statistics

DistanceAscentDescent
DateStartFinishKmMilesMetersFeetMetersFeetHighest PointHeight (m)
02/09/2017BressanoneRifugio Genova20.2012.6102433607362415Rifugio Plose2479
03/09/2017Rifugio GenovaRifugio Puez17.3010.7654214611273698Rifugio Puez2485
04/09/2017Rifugio PuezRifugio Pisciadu12.207.686228287642507Rifugio Pisciadu ?2573
05/09/2017Rifugio PisciaduRifugio Viel del Pan12.808.01108363512984259?2879
06/09/2017Rifugio Viel del PanCol San Pellegrino30.4018.91204395016845525Forca Rossa2490
07/09/2017Col San PellegrinoRifugio Mulaz15.909.9119639245621844Rifugio Mulaz2565
08/09/2017Rifugio MulazRifugio Pradidali18.4011.4958314312314039Passo Delle Farangole2780
09/09/2017Rifugio PradidaliPasso Cereda13.908.6355116512404068Rifugio Pradidali2280
Totals141.1087.7736124151864228355

2 thoughts on “Alta Via 2 or
“Where’s there a cable when you need one?””

  1. Wow! And double wow! These are the most exciting photos yet from your trips. Still, I have to dispute the word walk being used. It was definitely more climb than walk. Stunning vista’s. This “walk” had it all. You are both inspirational. Can’t wait to see how you top that next year. xxx

  2. Hi Bob and Fran, What fabulous pictures and what an incredible hike! I wish I could have been along. I loved all the snow and the views were fantastic. And the Via Ferratta— I ached looking at all those pics and remembering the wonderful day we had at Tre Cime and seeing that you did more than a day. Lucky you two! Did you ever decide where you will go next year? I’m heading to Patagonia in February to hike for 2 weeks. The will most likely be my big hike of the year–but your pics make me want to do the Alta Via 2. Hope all is well with you both. Best always! Donna

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