Monday, August 24, 2015

Dolomites Running

Looking down Val Travenanzes
This past weekend, in a frantic effort to get some miles and vertical in preparation for the Wasatch Front 100, I headed north to the Dolomites for the Ferragosto holiday. While Italy has many great mountains, most would agree that the Dolomites are the greatest.

Refreshment Along the Way

Austrian Trenches on Lagazuoi
Why? Just as great is usually defined by a unique set of characteristics, that in combination, create something unequivocally remarkable. The character set for the Dolomites would include a high density of narrow, deep and long canyons, sheer rock faces often manifest in pinnacles and spires, ample streams rivers and waterfalls, and a network of trails including the highest concentration of via ferrata routes in the world. Then of course one needs to add alpine villages surrounded by verdant pastures, strategically located refugios with caloric sustenance, historical military fortifications from when these mountains were the front line in a stalemate between the Italians and the Austro-Hungarians during WWI, and a bus network that allows one to move with ease through a 6000 square mile all-season playground. “Greatest” seems to be well justified!

Cinque Torri
In the words of Reinhold Messner, local boy and hero, “they [Dolomites] are not the tallest mountains in the world, yet they are definitely the greatest.”

Cinque Torri as seen from an Austrian Gun Position
My base for the weekend was Cortina, an alpine town with a Tyrolean feel. From here I was able to explore. Enjoy some pictures from four days of running.
Austrian Positions as seen by the Italians on Cinque Torri
Forcella Lagazuoi
Climbing to the top of Groda Negra