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Explore Via Ferrata in the Italian Dolomites

Still maintained by the Italian Alpine Club, today via ferrata represent one of the major attractions in the Dolomites, drawing a multitude of international visitors each year.

 
PRLog - Jul. 28, 2010 - PARKER, Colo. -- One of the greatest thrills a hiker can have is to walk or climb a via ferrata, the “iron paths” of the Dolomites in Italy. Traveling on a via ferrata is a different way of enjoying the sheer magnificence of the Dolomites, providing access to places normally reserved for rock climbers and mountaineers. In this awesome mountain environment, you will be stopped in your tracks by amazing views, from a perspective that few have the opportunity to experience.

What is a Via Ferrata?
A via ferrata, iron path in English, klettersteig in German, is quite literally a route with fixed “protection” that aids travelers in moving safely through the mountains. Hikers can connect otherwise isolated trail systems together to create longer hikes. You can even spend several days hiking rifugio-to-rifugio, facilitating traverses of large sections of the Dolomites at high altitudes. Via ferrata also provide greater access to the incredible scenery the Dolomites has to offer than hiking trails alone.
Protection found on a via ferrata includes a combination of hardware affixed directly to the climbing or walking surface, most often the rock wall.  Elements include:
•   cables made from heavy-gauge steel wire, the most common element of a via ferrata,
•   metal bars or posts, drilled and cemented into the rock, with eyelets on the end for the cable to run through (like “rebar” used to reinforce concrete buildings),
•   rungs of metal, creating a virtual ladder,
•   stemples, or steps created from wood and secured to the mountainside,
•   ladders, and
•   bridges.
Each component provides both a way to aid travel and an element of safety, providing hand holds, assisting with balance, and actually enabling you to attach yourself to the rock.

A History of Via Ferrata in Italy
World War I
Vie ferrate were initially built in Italy to aid the movement of Italian alpine military units through the Dolomites in World War I.  In 1915, Italy entered the war joining the Allies of Britain, France, and Russia. At this time, the Dolomites were still a part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, a member of the opposing Central Powers. Until the end of 1917, the Austrians and Italians fought a brutal mountain war here.  Not only were they fighting each other, trying to gain control of peaks for artillery and line-of-sight advantages, but also against the fierce climate and verticality of these mountains. After losing thousands of troops to prolonged exposure to the cold, falls, and avalanches, Italian troops began to fix permanent lines to rock faces and to install ladders. This enabled them to move both themselves and their equipment through the mountains more quickly and safely. These were the first via ferrata in Italy.
After the War
Once the war ended, the army abandoned the via ferrata, and the local residents began to care for them. In the 1930s the Italian Alpine Club (Club Alpino Italiano) began to restore this wartime network, as well as to add many new routes to attract tourists. Ropes used by the troops were replaced with steel cables. Wooden stemples (steps) were replaced with iron ladders and metal rungs anchored to the rock. Longer more difficult routes were also added to access the major rock climbing and mountaineering routes.
World War II interrupted these endeavors, but not for long. Construction resumed, although initially more slowly, and then exploded in the 1950s as the economy began to flourish again. Tourism, including the increasingly popular vie ferrate, became the largest part of the economy in the Dolomites after 1945.
Vie ferrate became fashionable, not only in the Dolomites, but also took off in the Austrian and German Alps.  This flurry of activity was ultimately matched by growing environmental concerns, and ultimately the policy for via ferrata construction became one of maintenance, rather than expansion.
Via Ferrata Today
Still maintained by the Italian Alpine Club, today via ferrata represent one of the major attractions in the Dolomites, drawing a multitude of international visitors each year.
Many of the routes originally installed by the military are long-gone, but some still play an important role in ascending these mountains, as well as remembering their role in history.
 The scars of the cruel battles held here between 1915 and 1917 are still recognizable:
•   trenches, dugouts, and other relics of WWI can be found alongside many of the original via ferrata, and
•   there is an extraordinary open air museum on Cinque Torri, and around Lagazuoi, where very heavy fighting took place.
Italian based adventure company Dolomite Mountains provides via ferrata excursions in the Dolomites, for more information visit: http://dolomitemountains.com

Dolomite Mountains is the expert in adventure travel in the Dolomites. And because they explore it every day, they have the unique advantage of in-depth knowledge of the terrain, including which sites and trails are best, based on individual preference and skill level. Visitors traveling with Dolomite Mountains receive superior accommodations and exceptional customer service. Personalized itineraries are their specialty, ensuring that each visitor enjoys an adventure that’s perfect for their individual needs, particularly the independent traveler who prefers to explore without the use of an expert guide.

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Dolomite Mountains is the expert in adventure travel in the Dolomites. And because they explore it every day, they have the unique advantage of in-depth knowledge of the terrain, including which sites and trails are best, based on individual preference and skill level. Visitors traveling with Dolomite Mountains receive superior accommodations and exceptional customer service. Personalized itineraries are their specialty, ensuring that each visitor enjoys an adventure that’s perfect for their individual needs, particularly the independent traveler who prefers to explore without the use of an expert guide.

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Contact Email:
***@lassocommunications.com
Source:Alexia Nestora
Phone:3038983376
Zip:80138
City/Town:Parker - Colorado - United States
Industry:Travel, Tourism
Tags:dolomitemountains com, via ferrata dolomites
Shortcut:prlog.org/10823441
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