Sud Tirol & Dolomites
September 2003
The little village of Sulden, in the Sud Tirol region of Italy, nestled under the Ortler, highest peak in the Eastern Alps, our base camp for day hikes.
The church of St. Gertraud, the primary landmark in Sulden.
At the Tabaretta hut, high on the flanks of the Ortler, on a gray, chilly day that made the scene monochromatic. Our hike down the mountain took place in light sleet.
Kathleen Theroux, hiking co-leader, one of the best hiking companions one could ask for, and a friend from hikes in Zermatt in 2001.
The landslides on the flanks of the Ortler appear to threaten the village of Sulden.
Murray and Jeanne Bodin, excellent hiking companions. Best dinner table line from Jeanne: "They want the short version, Murray!"
A view of the Vinschgau, seen from the Marienbad monastery. We're in the Sud Tirol, part of Austria until World War I, part of Italy since then, though German is the predominant language.
The scene towards the upper end of the Vinschgau. Austria is just over the ridge.
Typical Tyrolean accommodations.
Having shifted east, to the Dolomites, we see the Karersee, an obligatory stop on the road up the valley to the Karer Pass.
Approaching the Fassatal.
The city of Bolzano, roughly 20 kilometers away, nestled in the valley below Tschafon.
The Rosengarten range of the Dolomites, on the descent from Tschafon. On another day, we traversed the face of this range, just below the cliffs.
The descent from Tschafon.
Wandering off on my own, I stumbled onto this view of the Rotwand face.
The approach to the Langkofelscharte (the Langkofel Notch), a sharp right between the mountains ahead.
The Langkofelhütte, a climbing hut halfway up the trail to the Langkofelscharte, a 600-meter, 45-degree calf burner that skirts the line between hiking and non-technical climbing, and is heavily shaded enough that the upper reaches were ice-covered, and quite dangerous. No fatalities in our group, but not for lack of opportunity.
The final approach to the notch.
Pushing up the trail from the Fassatal to the Passo Principe (2650 meters), where there's a sudden shift from German to Italian. In the Dolomites, the predominant language often changes from one valley to the next, then back again.
The final stretch before the pass.
There are rewards for doing the tough climbs.
A fine spot for a little café (perched on the pinnacle just left of center).
One last look at the Dolomites.