We carefully planned our trip to the Dolomites, after having played in Arco, a small, athletic & outdoorsy, climbing obsessed town in the Dolomites back in 2015. There we tried via ferrata (meaning, “by the iron way,” a style of climbing that originated during World War One as a safer way to move troops through the trecherous mountain areas). The trip involved starting and ending in Venice, a wonderfully historic and beautiful city built on the mud flats of a shallow lagoon. Click on the links below to explore the things we did on this trip.
Excerpt: “One of the things we love to do, when in a new city, is do a walking tour. It helps orient us to the culture, the architecture and the history of the urban landscapes we explore. It sets the tone for our holiday, and gives us important take-aways of info that we can digest, at our leisure, as our experiences unfold….But it wasn’t the panoramic views of the watery city that caught my eye. From there we could see a sculpture of gigantic hands rising up out of the water. Our guide said it was a new art installation, called “Support.” The sculptor, Lorenzo Quinn, recreated his 11 year old son’s hands, rising up out of the canal. The idea is that Venice is in the hands of the youth… it is in them to change our habits (climate change and its rising water levels and stronger storms and storm surges here), to preserve and support and maintain Venice into the future. It is in them to strive for action, to support the cultural life of this amazing place… and ultimately to inspire us all.”
Excerpt: “Via ferrata is part climbing, part safe scrambling. And what I really like about it is that you are clipped into the mountain, so to speak, in such a way that you are not dependant on a belayer, there’s redundancy built in (in that you’re clipped in twice, with two specialized carabineers on stretchy leads), and better yet, you don’t have to re-rope if the route is long and spread out. It takes no exceptional climbing skills, no foot-torture climbing shoes (you wear hiking boots or approach shoes), and no extensive mountaineering training to do, and yet it is full of that sense of adventure. It has that limit pushing adrenaline rush. It has physical exertion. And it pretty much always has exceptional alpine views. It is taking our regular playing in the mountains up a notch.”
Excerpt: “Piz da Lech is a via ferrata that begins near the town of Corvara. Perched above the town, it is easily accessed by taking the Boè gondola, followed by the Vallon chair lift, up to a point on the mountain that is within a short hike to the start of the VF route. It has outstanding views from the top of the Sella group of mountains, with their dramatically-cut stone pillars and deep chasms. The Sellas are mountains that remain hidden from view until you summit up top… and catching a glimpse of them from way up there is so well worth the effort!”
Excerpt: “Climbing up along a long, dramatic arête (sort of like a long, upright column of rock that stands out, like a corner, on the mountain side) took a lot of stamina. I definitely felt it by the time we were 2/3 of the way up! This climb, due to the nature of climbing up that arête feature, had far more exposure than the day before. Some of the views down made my heart leap with an, “oh my! that’s a long way down” jolt. It was the bravest I felt I’ve been in a long time, both from an exposure point of view, and from the length of time I had to climb without respite. Bill feels it represented about a 5.7/5.8 climb.”
Excerpt: “Surrounded by steep, rugged mountains, now connected by a vast system of tunnels that have been blasted tremendous distances through the rock, it is easy to see how isolated cultural pockets develop distinct ways of life. One of the things that fascinates me about geography is the way that landscapes, especially BIG landscapes, can shape, create, protect and nurture culture. We’re experiencing that in so many ways here in the Trentino-Alto-Adige region of Northern Italy, and more specifically in the areas we’re exploring, known locally as the Ladin Valleys, around the Sella mountain range. Places like Badia, San Cassiano, Cortina and Corvara (that you may have caught me mentioning in previous posts) are right in the heart of it.“