Friday thought #79 Via Ferrata Lake Garda

In Italian ‘via ferrata’ simply means ‘iron way’, and that is exactly what it is; a series of metal cables, staples and ladders enabling people to climb and traverse otherwise impenetrable rock faces. Via ferrata was created in the Italian Dolomites during the First World War as a means to move the soldiers through the mountain environment, but it wasn’t until many many years later that it became a popular sport. There are now hundreds of routes across Europe, and although they are not for the faint-hearted or those who suffer from vertigo (!) they do make climbing much more accessible for aspiring adventurers with little experience or skill.

During a recent trip to Lake Garda in Italy, we headed for the Sentiero Contrabbandieri, an old smugglers’ route high above the shores of the lake. It turned out to be more of an adventurous, and rather terrifying walk with a few sections of cable, rather than a classic via ferrata, but it was brilliant fun, and with stunning views to top it off.

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Friday thought #53 Via Ferrata in Innsbruck

This week brought yet more Autumn sunshine, and a bank holiday! We used it wisely and headed across to Achensee, a beautiful lake around 30minutes drive from Innsbruck. A ride up the Rofan-seilbahn cable car rewarded us with these views, and one of the best and most spectacular via ferrata routes we’ve done yet. Covering 5 peaks and traversing a truly stunning ridge line,  it’s a day I would thoroughly recommend and will most certainly be back to do again!

The view across towards the Dolomites
The view across towards the Dolomites
Lunching with the mountain birds...
Lunching with the mountain birds…
And feeding them!
And feeding them!
The final summit
The final summit
Heading down for a beer in the sun. What a beautiful way to end the day.
Heading down for a beer in the sun. What a beautiful way to end the day.

Friday thought #50 First ski of the season – in September!

The title says it all really! It seems winter comes early in Innsbruck as the Stubai Gletscher guarantees skiing from October to June. A couple of days of heavy rain last week meant a good layer of snow up high so the lifties were kind enough to get it open a week early. Exploring a new area is always great fun, especially with very few people, fantastic snow and glorious sunshine!

We even found a little peak to scramble up, our first Austrian peak! Looking out over the Dolomites, with snowy peaks as far as the eye could see, I must admit I was feeling pretty happy about our move. The novelty of starting the ski season in September certainly helps! We finished off the day with tired legs and a Weissbier in the sunshine, excited about the winter to come…

A stunning panorama
A stunning panorama
Stunning
Looking across to the Italian Dolomites
Incredible cloud inversion, luckily we were above it!
Incredible cloud inversion, luckily we were above it!
So much to explore!
So much to explore!
First Austrian peak!
First Austrian peak!
We even found some powder!
We even found some powder!