Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Via Ferrata in the Dolomites: what’s not to love?

With a little something for everyone - from the unencumbered and continual flow of movement over technical rock, to a feast of caffé, hefeweizens, and local cuisine at a rifúgio atop the climb, to the chance to follow in the historic footsteps of not only alpininsts but WWI troops through caves, bunkers, outposts, and trenches, to grand sweeping landscapes - via ferrata in the Dolomites will not disappoint. 
As luck would have it, we had the opportunity to experience the Dolomites through a handful of vie ferrate, and found ourselves giddy from the continual flow and movement over enjoyable limestone climbing (and one volcanic via ferrata) pushing into the 5.5 technical rock range.  Via ferrata may be a perfect way to learn to move through rock terrain quickly and efficiently if you sustain from hauling yourself up the cable (unless you feel it absolutely necessary). 
But get there early or plan to bail, otherwise you might experience a “Space Mountain” like line up 200+m of via ferrata.  It’s popular and for good reason.

Traveling past the many historic ruins of WWI outposts 
Many man made caves were cut through the mountains to move troops;
the access window above provides a bird's eye view of the surrounding terrain
Delicious food, beer, and coffee can be found at the
many rifúgios found near the top of climbs