Alta Via 2 Post Mortem

Right before New Year’s I pushed myself to finally organize and publish the images from the hike Antonella and I took through the Dolomiti mountains this August. I actually wrote 3 posts while in the clutches of the hike—one for each of the first 3 days—and a fragment on the fourth. But time and energy quickly caught up with me and I only got one post up during the trip. The other 2 and a fraction posts sat in my blog queue for months, and I gave myself the hard deadline of New Year’s to get them posted. But, as I was working on them I realized just how terribly slow my site was so I took the left at Albuquerque and decided to move the bava to a VPS on Digital Ocean.

Once that was done, I was able to get all the posts from the trip published, replete with images and commentary. You can find Day 1 here, Day 2 here, Day 3 here, Day 4 here, and Day 5 here. I cheated on these posts a bit. Only Day 1 was posted in a timely fashion, and while Day 2 and Day 3 were written during the hike, they were not posted until last week (I back-dated all the posts), and Day 4 and Day 5 were written from memory this week. So, it’s all over the place. But for me the most important thing was to get them out with the images. I’ve said this already in the Day 5 post, but doing the hike was a major highlight of my time in Italy. I’ve been working towards it for a couple of years, and it felt damn good. 

Anyway, in this post mortem I want to do two things: 1) capture the stats for each day and 2) share my favorite image (or two) from each day with a brief explanation. I’m a terrible judge of my own photography, but I love the idea of trying to whittle down the 500-600 images I took over the trip to a handful of representative images. So, here it goes…  

Day 1: August 4th was the beginning of the trip tat brought us from Plose to val di Funnes, we covered 10.3 miles …

… and hiked up the equivalent of 140 flights of stairs.

This day was tough for me, it was hotter than the others, and we did a lot of up and down and I by the last pass of the day I was shot. Given how bad I felt finishing, I was worried  I had bitten off more than I could chew. Yet, once we made the last climb one of my favorite shots of he trip greeted me:

But it was the shot I caught at the end of the day right outside rifugio Genoa that might be my favorite of the entire trip:

Alta Via 2, Day 1

You can see the entire album of Day 1 here.

Day 2:  The morning of day 2 had us moving through familiar territory, namely val di Funnes. Antonella and I have been there many times before, and it never gets old. We covered the same mileage as the day before, 10.3 miles, and about 30 flights more, or 172.

The images of Funnes are ones I have taken a bunch of times before, so like the day before the most stunning images for me were once we got up the pass leading from Funnes to val Gardena, the vistas were pretty awesome:

Alta Via 2, Day 2

You can see all the images from Day 2 here.

Day 3: This sojourn was a bit lighter than the those the previous two days, but all in preparation for the hell day to follow. We moved from val Gardena to val Badia, which I had not seen before and it was also nice and will suffice.We climbed 148 flights and trekked for 9.7 miles. This was the first day we hit a ferrata, and luckily it was easy.

I liked seeing the backside of the Puez-Odle group of the Dolomiti mountains, so this image of them from val Gardena is a favorite of mine, I also like that the young hikers in the bottom-left give it some scale and the shadows highlight the dynamism of the weather we were up against much of the trip:

Leaving Rock River

I also like this one of Antonella and I; joy is good:

Smiley Happy People Laughing

You can see all the images from Day 4 here.

Day 4: This was the killer, and while we only hiked a couple of more miles than the previous days, most of them were straight up. We climbed three separate passes for a total of 11.1 miles and 280 flights of stairs. Ouch!

In terms of images from this day, I am enamored of this image that captured the alpine maniacs free climbing a peak as we descended back into val Gardena:

Next year

But there were a bunch of good shots from day 4, so the pain was not all in vain. You can see them all here.

Day 5: The end of the line, by comparison to the day before his was a cake walk. We travelled 11.5 miles, bu with just 124 flights it felt like we wee n Nebraska. We moved from the Trentino-Alto Adige region into Veneto on the last day, which highlighted just how much distance we bought behind us over the previous 4 days.

The trail on day 5 was pretty miraculous, we spent much of day 2 looking and the mother of all Dolomiti mountains: Marmolada.

Marmolada and Lago de Fedaia Pano

But it was the morning of day 5 where I probably caught the best shot of the entire trip right outside our rifugio at 2760 meters. The sun was rising and the clouds lay at our feet like a shag carpet in the valley below. It was surreal:

Alta Via 2, Day 5

You can see all the photos from Day 5 here, there were a few good ones.

And with that I can put this trip to rest on the blog after having travelled 52.9 miles while climbing 864 flights of stairs,. Now time to get in shape for another leg of the Alta Via come next summer. #NOBODY!

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2 Responses to Alta Via 2 Post Mortem

  1. Alan Levine says:

    More than worth the wait, that scenery is way beyond stunning. I’m happy for you both doing over 50 miles and climbs. What are the stayover places like? Are you then having to carry supplies for the day.

    The Hills are Alive… with the sounds of Baaaaaaaavaaaaaa 😉

    • Jim Groom says:

      The rifgio are basically dormitories with excellent food, so we can travel really light. I did the whole thing with a small backpack, which made a big difference. I think if we do some of the less trodden paths this summer, our weight will be greater—but not having to carry a tent or food was glorious

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